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'What would you do?': Hacker who turned in Bradley Manning takes stand

Patrick Semansky / AP

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse at Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, June 4, 2013, before the second day of his court martial. Manning is charged with indirectly aiding the enemy by sending troves of classified material to WikiLeaks. He faces up to life in prison.

A former computer hacker who turned Pfc. Bradley Manning in to federal authorities for the alleged leak of classified documents testified Tuesday that the young Army analyst never indicated that he wanted to help the enemy.

Adrian Lamo testified that Manning sought him out in May 2010 and sent him a message revealing he had access to vast amounts of sensitive information. Lamo alerted authorities following the interaction, but continued exchanging messages with Manning for nearly a week. 

Manning's defense team pressed Lamo on cross examination, asking if the soldier ever communicated a desire to help American adversaries.

"At any time, did Pfc. Manning ever say he wanted to help the enemy?" defense attorney David Coombs said. 

"Not in those words, no," Lamo said. 

The convicted hacker's testimony came on the second day of Manning's high-profile court martial. The 25-year-old is charged with violating the Espionage Act and helping the enemy when he provided thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in what was the the largest leak of classified information in American history.

In opening statements on Monday, Manning's lawyers said that he was "naive, but good intentioned" and that his goal was to select information he thought would make a would help the world.

But military prosecutors counter that Manning simply wanted notoriety and his actions help enemy combatants and put fellow soldiers at risk. The government is expected to introduce evidence showing Osama bin Laden studied the leaked information. 

Though Manning did not know Lamo personally, the well known hacker said his online notoriety is likely what caused Manning to seek him out.

In one of the messages Manning wrote, “If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wrote in a statement late Monday: "This is not justice; never could this be justice. The verdict was ordained long ago. Its function is not to determine questions such as guilt or innocence, or truth or falsehood. It is a public relations exercise, designed to provide the government with an alibi for posterity."

The Associated Press contributed to this report