07/01/2013 06:40 pm ET

Pre-Iraq War Intelligence Officer Testifies Against Bradley Manning


FORT MEADE, Md. -- Government prosecutors on Monday entered testimony against Bradley Manning from a naval officer who helped build the case against Saddam Hussein during the run-up to the Iraq War.

Navy Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein did not mention Manning or WikiLeaks by name in his written testimony. But he did say that the terrorist group al Qaeda uses the Internet to "searc[h] for information related to the United States government that would have been used for propaganda to undermine the United States or its allies."

Military prosecutors are trying to build a case that Manning, an Army private first class who sent sensitive military documents about Iraq to WikiLeaks while stationed there, should have known that his disclosures could wind up in the hands of the enemy.

Aboul-Enein, a recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, works for the Defense Intelligence Agency and teaches part-time at the National Defense University. He writes frequently about terrorism for the Small Wars Journal and is the author of the books Militant Islamist Ideology and Iraq in Turmoil.

Long-time Iraq watchers may remember the work he produced for the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, which helped Vice President Dick Cheney produce intelligence justifying the invasion of Iraq.

A 2004 Mother Jones article reported that Aboul-Enein and his fellow intelligence officers "churned out propaganda-style intelligence" before the Iraq War.

"His job was to peruse the Arabic-language media to find articles that would incriminate Saddam Hussein about terrorism, and he translated these," Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force officer who worked in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia unit at the same time, told the magazine.

Aboul-Enein referred a request for comment to a public affairs officer for the military. The Military District of Washington said that witnesses in the case have been instructed not to discuss their testimony with the public.