Manning should face court martial over WikiLeaks secrets, officer rules

 

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of providing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website, should stand trial on all the charges that have been brought against him, the investigating officer who conducted a hearing into the charges last month has concluded.

The Army announced the decision in a release emailed to reporters Thursday afternoon. It said Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, who presided over Manning's Article 32 hearing, had recommended that Manning face a general court martial, the military trial reserved for crimes for which the punishment can include lengthy prison sentences or death. His recommendation must still be approved by other officers.

The Army's release is below:

News Release

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington Guardian of the Nation’s Capital

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE #12-01 DATE: January 12, 2012

Investigating Officer Provides Recommendation in the Article 32 Hearing – U.S. Government vs. Pfc. Bradley E. Manning

FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR, DC – The investigating officer assigned to the Article 32 Hearing for Pfc. Bradley E. Manning forwarded his recommendation to Col. Carl R. Coffman, the Special Court Martial Convening Authority, on Jan. 12, 2012. The investigating officer concluded that the charges and specifications are in the proper form and that reasonable grounds exist to believe that the accused committed the offenses alleged. He recommended that the charges be referred to a general court martial.

The Special Court Martial Convening Authority will now review the investigating officer’s report and determine whether the charges should be disposed of at his level or be forwarded to Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, the General Court Martial Convening Authority for disposition at his level.

Pfc. Manning is charged with aiding the enemy; wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy; theft of public property or records; transmitting defense information; fraud and related activity in connection with computers; and for violating Army Regulations 25-2 “Information Assurance” and 380-5 “Department of the Army Information Security Program.”

If convicted of all charges, Manning would face a maximum punishment of reduction to the lowest enlisted pay grade, E-1; total forfeiture of all pay and allowances; confinement for life; and a dishonorable discharge.

Media queries may be emailed to the U.S. Army Military District of Washington Public Affairs Office at mediadesk@jfhqncr.northcom.mil.

-30-

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