The judge in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning said Tuesday that she will close portions of the trial to the public to protect classified material, a ruling that is likely to frustrate civil liberties groups that have alleged the case is being shrouded in secrecy.
Prosecutors are expected to call 150 witnesses to testify against Manning, who is accused of leaking more than 700,000 government and military documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. Although the material is widely available online, it remains classified.
Army Col. Denise Lind, the judge in the case, ruled that two dozen witnesses will be able to provide at least some of their testimony in closed session. She said the court had considered alternatives — including the use of code names — to keep the session open, but concluded that the public may be able to “connect the dots” and learn classified information.
The proceedings at Fort Meade marked the last pretrial hearing for Manning before the trial portion of his court-martial, which is scheduled to begin June 3 and last three to four months.