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Closed pretrial hearing in WikiLeaks case a rare 'dry run' for classified info testimony

  • a559ed073898170f310f6a7067005061.jpg

    FILE - In this June 25, 2012 file photo, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after a pre-trial hearing. Government secrecy in the court-martial of Manning, who gave reams of classified documents to WikiLeaks, reaches a new level this week. The military judge has ordered an apparently unprecedented closed hearing Wednesday, May 8, 2013 to help her decide how much of Manning's trial will be closed to protect national security. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) (The Associated Press)

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    FILE - In this June 7, 2012 file photo, Capt. Joe Morrow, a prosecutor in the case against Pfc. Bradley Manning, carries documents into a courthouse before a pre-trial hearing in Fort Meade, Md. Government secrecy in the court-martial of Manning, who gave reams of classified documents to WikiLeaks reaches a new level this week. The military judge has ordered an apparently unprecedented closed hearing Wednesday, May 8, 2013 to help her decide how much of Manning's trial will be closed to protect national security. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) (The Associated Press)

  • e6ec8f2a3899170f310f6a706700f465.jpg

    FILE - In this May 3, 2011 file photo, local residents gather outside a house where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The military judge has ordered an apparently unprecedented closed hearing Wednesday, May 8, 2013 to help her decide how much of Manning's trial will be closed to protect national security. A prosecutor said at a Feb. 26 pretrial hearing that more than half of the government’s 141 anticipated witnesses would testify about classified information. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash, File) (The Associated Press)

Government secrecy reaches a new level this week in the court-martial of an Army private who gave reams of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

The military judge has ordered what prosecutors say is an unprecedented closed hearing Wednesday to help her decide how much of Pfc. Bradley Manning's trial will be closed to protect national security.

An unidentified prosecution witness will testify in a "dry run" to test alternatives to courtroom closures during presentation of classified evidence. The strategies could include redacted documents, unclassified summaries and even code words for classified information.

Prosecutors have proposed closing up to 30 percent of the trial. That prompted Manning's lawyers to request the hearing to test all reasonable alternatives to closing large portions of the court-martial to the public.

Prosecutors say no other court has held such a hearing.

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