Investigating Officer Recommends Court-martial for Manning

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2012 — The inves­ti­gat­ing offi­cer has rec­om­mend­ed that Army Pfc. Bradley Man­ning face a gen­er­al court-mar­tial for charges of leak­ing clas­si­fied doc­u­ments, Mil­i­tary Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton offi­cials announced yes­ter­day.

Army Lt. Col. Paul Alman­za issued his rec­om­men­da­tion yes­ter­day, con­clud­ing that rea­son­able grounds exist to believe that Man­ning com­mit­ted the alleged offens­es, offi­cials said.

The 24-year-old intel­li­gence ana­lyst is sus­pect­ed of leak­ing mil­i­tary and diplo­mat­ic doc­u­ments to the whis­tle-blow­ing web­site Wik­iLeaks in what offi­cials believe is the biggest intel­li­gence leak in U.S. history.

Wik­iLeaks, in turn, released thou­sands of these doc­u­ments, includ­ing clas­si­fied records about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, on its web­site last year.

Man­ning faces more than 20 charges alleg­ing he intro­duced unau­tho­rized soft­ware onto gov­ern­ment com­put­ers to extract clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion, unlaw­ful­ly down­loaded it, improp­er­ly stored it, and trans­mit­ted the data for pub­lic release and use by the enemy.

Almanza’s report con­clud­ed that the charges and spec­i­fi­ca­tions are in prop­er form for the case to move for­ward, offi­cials said. His rec­om­men­da­tion fol­lows eight days of pre­tri­al pro­ceed­ings dur­ing Manning’s Arti­cle 32 hear­ing, with both pros­e­cu­tion and defense deliv­er­ing their clos­ing state­ments Dec. 22.

An Arti­cle 32 hear­ing, often com­pared to a civil­ian grand jury, is a pre­tri­al hear­ing to deter­mine if grounds exist for a gen­er­al court-mar­tial, the most seri­ous of courts-martial.

The spe­cial court-mar­tial con­ven­ing author­i­ty, Army Col. Carl Coff­man, will now review Almanza’s report, offi­cials said. He will deter­mine if the charges should be han­dled at his lev­el or for­ward­ed to Army Maj. Gen. Michael S. Lin­ning­ton, the gen­er­al court-mar­tial con­ven­ing authority.

If con­vict­ed of all charges, Man­ning would face a max­i­mum pun­ish­ment of life in prison. He also could be reduced to E‑1, the low­est enlist­ed grade, and could face for­fei­ture of all pay and allowances and a dis­hon­or­able dis­charge, offi­cials said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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