New charges filed in U.S. WikiLeaks case

March 3, 2011 at 7:34 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army notified the soldier who is a key suspect in the WikiLeaks case that he faces 22 new charges in the alleged downloading of secret information.

The most serious new charge against Pfc. Bradley Manning, a junior intelligence analyst suspected of leaking thousands of documents released by WikiLeaks, is aiding and giving intelligence to the enemy, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

In their notification Wednesday, Army prosecutors said Manning "wrongfully and wantonly" caused intelligence to be published on the Internet, knowing the material would be "accessible to the enemy."

Aiding the enemy is a capital offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. However, the Army said in a statement prosecutors didn't intend to recommend Manning get the death penalty if convicted. Still, he could face life in prison.

Manning, the only person charged so far in the case, is being held at a Marine base in Virginia during the U.S. investigation into the release by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and U.S. diplomatic relations.

Manning now faces 34 charges, CNN reported, including:

-- wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet,

-- theft of public records,

-- transmitting defense information,

-- transferring classified data to his personal computer and

-- disclosing classified information on national defense.

David Coombs, Manning's attorney, did not comment on the new charges but said in a statement posted on his blog, "Over the past few weeks, the defense has been preparing for the possibility of additional charges in this case."

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