The military has filed 22 additional charges against Pvt. Bradley Manning, including aiding the enemy, in the alleged massive leak of classified files, NBC News reports.
Manning is accused of illegally downloading tens of thousands of classified documents from both the U.S. military and the State Department that were later released by WikiLeaks, Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube report.
The 23-year-old Manning was first charged on July 6 with eight charges including violating the Espionage Act by transmitting classified information to an unauthorized third party when he worked as a military intelligence analyst in Baghdad.
NBC reported that Pentagon and military officials said some of the classified information WikiLeaks released endangered the lives of informants and others who had cooperated with U.S. forces in Afghanistan:
According to the officials, the U.S. military rounded up many of those named and brought them into their bases for their own protection. But, according to one military official, “We didn’t get them all.” Military officials tell NBC News, a small number of them have still have not been found.
The “aiding the enemy” charge could result in the death penalty, but military prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison if convicted only on that charge, said NBC. The military judge would still have the ability to disregard the prosecution’s recommendation.
Late Update: Manning’s attorney David E. Coombs responded to the new charges on his blog.
“Over the past few weeks, the defense has been preparing for the possiblity of additional charges in this case. The decision to prefer charges is an individual one by PFC Manning’s commander. The nature of the charges and the number of specifications under each reflects his determination, in consultation with his Staff Judge Advocate’s office, of the possible offenses in this case. Ultimately, the Article 32 Investigating Officer will determine which, if any, of these additional charges and specifications should be referred to a court-martial.