FORT MEADE, Md., Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army private accused of leaking classified documents to the Web site WikiLeaks deferred his plea Thursday at his arraignment in Maryland.
Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, held at Fort Meade, faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, theft of public property or records, transmitting defense information, and fraud and related activity in connection with computers, CNN reported.
Manning is accused of passing along hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks in what officials said is the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history. He responded "yes, your honor" Thursday when asked by the military judge whether he understood the charges against him, ABC News said.
When asked how he would plead, Manning's civilian counsel David Coombs replied on his behalf: "PFC Manning would like to defer both on his plea and on motions."
Coombs also deferred selection of the kind of forum in which Manning is to be tried. A legal military expert told ABC News deferring the forum selection and plea is often done for tactical reasons.
During his Article 32 proceedings -- similar to a preliminary hearing in civilian court -- in December, prosecutors presented evidence of Manning allegedly communicating with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange concerning the uploading the Guantanamo Bay interrogations. A U.S. military officer recommended Manning be bound over for court-martial.
The former Army intelligence analyst is accused of leaking State Department cables, field reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee assessments and a 2007 Army video of an Apache helicopter shooting at civilians.