US Tribunal Recommends Court Martial for Manning
The US Army on Thursday said a military tribunal has recommended a court martial for Army Private First Class Bradley Manning for allegedly funneling thousands of classified US documents to WikiLeaks.
"The investigating officer (Lieutenant Colonel Paul Almanza) 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," according to the US Army Military District of Washington.
"He recommended that the charges be referred to a general court martial."
While initially only charged with transferring classified data to his personal computer, Manning was slapped with an additional 22 charges in March of 2011.
The recommended charges include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet while knowing it would be accessible to the enemy, and theft of public property or records.
The charge of aiding the enemy is a capital offense, but prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty.
Manning, 24, was the focus of a seven-day hearing last month to determine whether or not he should face a court-martial for what authorities describe as "one of the most serious intelligence breaches in US history."
Army investigators told last month's tribunal that contact information for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, military reports, cables and other classified material had been found on computers and storage devices used by Manning.
He provided WikiLeaks a stunning array of US military reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, classified State Department cables, Guantanamo detainee assessments. and videos of US air strikes.
Defense attorneys argued at the conclusion of those proceedings that the Army had "overcharged in this case." They also urged Almanza to reduce the charges to just three counts that would carry a total of 30 years in prison. Almanza declined.
Manning, who served in Iraq from November 2009 until his arrest the following May, faces life in prison if convicted.