Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bradley Manning Charged With 22 New Counts, Including Capital Offense


March 2, 2011

WikiLeaks: Bradley Manning faces 22 new charges

Aiding the enemy among charges Army private faces in military's investigation into leak of classified documents

  • Army Pfc. Bradley Manning

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning  (AP/Grpahics Bank)


Updated at 6:39 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON - The Army said Wednesday it has filed 22 additional charges against Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, the soldier suspected of providing classified government documents published by the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the new charges for the first time formally accuse Manning of aiding the enemy.

Army officials said the charges accuse Manning of using unauthorized software on government computers to extract classified information, illegally download it and transmit the data for public release by what the Army termed "the enemy."

The charge sheets against Manning make clear that the 22 new counts against him involve the leaking of the Afghan and Iraq war logs as well as the quarter million State Department cables disseminated last year, Martin reports.

The charge sheets do not make any mention of either WikiLeaks or its founder, Julian Assange, Martin reports. All told, the charges accuse Manning of leaking more than half a million documents plus two videos, Martin reports.

CBS Radio News chief legal analyst Andrew Cohen reports that military officials look like they want to throw the book at Manning, not just to punish him, but also to send a message to other service members who may be tempted to do what Manning allegedly did.

The charges follow seven months of Army investigation.

"The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that Pvt. 1st Class Manning is accused of committing," said Capt. John Haberland, a legal spokesman for the Military District of Washington.

The charge of aiding the enemy under the Uniform Code of Military Justice is a capital offense, but the Army's prosecution team has notified the Manning defense team that it will not recommend the death penalty to the two-star general who is in charge of proceeding with legal action.

Cohen reports that military officials aren't giving up much when they promise not to seek the death penalty against Manning, a sentence that would have been unlikely anyway even if he is ultimately convicted. One big question now is whether Manning or the government will be open to some sort of a deal that precludes trial, Cohen reports.

In a written statement detailing the new charges, the Army said that if Manning were convicted of all charges he would face life in prison, plus reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted pay grade, a dishonorable discharge and loss of all pay and allowances.

Manning's civilian attorney, David Coombs, said any charges that Manning may face at trial will be determined by an Article 32 investigation, the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing or grand jury proceeding, possibly beginning in late May or early June.

Trial proceedings against Manning have been on hold since July, pending the results of a medical inquiry into Manning's mental capacity and responsibility.

The Army said Manning was notified in person of the additional charges on Wednesday. He is confined at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.

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