WikiLeaked

Capital charges filed against Bradley Manning

Things just got even worse for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for WikiLeaks’ cache of U.S. military and State Department documents. The Army announced today that it has filed 22 new charges against Manning, in addition to the 12 counts he was initially charged with after his arrest in May. Wired‘s Threat Level blog ...

U.S. Army
U.S. Army

Things just got even worse for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for WikiLeaks' cache of U.S. military and State Department documents. The Army announced today that it has filed 22 new charges against Manning, in addition to the 12 counts he was initially charged with after his arrest in May.

Wired's Threat Level blog reports that the charges, which were filed Tuesday, "include aiding the enemy, theft of public property or records, computer fraud, transmitting defense information and wrongly causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy." Although the first charge is a capital offense, the Army has said it will not seek the death penalty. Even so, Manning is still looking at the possibility of life in prison. (Politico has the charge sheet here.)

Manning's lawyer, David E. Coombs, said in a blog post today that he and Manning had been expecting the additional charges for several weeks:

Things just got even worse for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for WikiLeaks’ cache of U.S. military and State Department documents. The Army announced today that it has filed 22 new charges against Manning, in addition to the 12 counts he was initially charged with after his arrest in May.

Wired‘s Threat Level blog reports that the charges, which were filed Tuesday, “include aiding the enemy, theft of public property or records, computer fraud, transmitting defense information and wrongly causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy.” Although the first charge is a capital offense, the Army has said it will not seek the death penalty. Even so, Manning is still looking at the possibility of life in prison. (Politico has the charge sheet here.)

Manning’s lawyer, David E. Coombs, said in a blog post today that he and Manning had been expecting the additional charges for several weeks:

The decision to prefer charges is an individual one by PFC Manning’s commander.  The nature of the charges and the number of specifications under each reflects his determination, in consultation with his Staff Judge Advocate’s office, of the possible offenses in this case.  Ultimately, the Article 32 Investigating Officer will determine which, if any, of these additional charges and specifications should be referred to a court-martial.

As Threat Level notes, the capital offense charge could play into the deliberation over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges, which Assange’s lawyers are in the process of appealing. A British judge ruled in favor of the extradition last week, and his ruling made virtually no mention of the political context of the case, effectively dismissing as implausible Assange’s lawyers’ arguments that an extradition — even on unrelated charges — would pave the way for their client’s extradition to the United States on capital charges. Now that Manning has been charged with a capital offense, such arguments will be harder to dismiss.

Proceedings against Manning, meanwhile, are still on hold pending a psychiatric review sought by his lawyers. Politico reports that that review is expected to be completed in the next two to six weeks.

Charles Homans is a special correspondent for the New Republic and the former features editor of Foreign Policy.

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