Bradley Manning: US general orders court-martial for WikiLeaks suspect


Bradley Manning, the US soldier charged in the biggest leak of classified information in American history, will face a court-martial.

Military district of Washington commander Major General Michael Linnington referred all 22 charges against Manning to a general court martial on Friday, the US Army said in a statement.

Manning, 24, a low-ranking intelligence analyst who served in Baghdad in late 2009 to early 2010, will now stand trial for allegedly handing over more than 700,000 secret U.S. documents and classified combat video to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, the Associated Press wrote.

Linnington was the second superior officer required to approved a recommendation for a court-martial made by the investigating officer who presided over a week-long pre-trial hearing in December before Manning could be sent to trial. The other officer approved the recommendation in mid-January. 

(GlobalPost reports: Tribunal recommends Bradley Manning be court martialed)

Prosecutors said at the December hearing that Manning downloaded sensitive battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, along with diplomatic cables, and a video of a deadly 2007 Army helicopter attack that WikiLeaks posted on its website titled "Collateral Murder."

The charges against Manning include aiding the enemy — a capital offense — wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of public property or records, and transmitting defense information, according to ABC News.

Prosecutors have said that rather than seeking the death penalty, they will push for life in prison if Manning is convicted. 

Manning's lawyers have countered that others had access to his workplace's computers, the Guardian reported.

They also say that as a gay soldier at a time when homosexuals were barred from serving openly in the US armed forces, he was in emotional turmoil.

His behavior after deployment, marked by "increasingly violent outburst," should have been a red flag to his superiors that he should not have access to classified material.

They "also contend that the material WikiLeaks published did little or no harm to national security."

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