By Jim Kouri
Despite very little media coverage, Army Spc. Bradley E. Manning on Friday was finally arraigned at Fort Meade, Maryland, on numerous criminal charges that include wrongfully releasing intelligence, theft of records and aiding the enemy, according to Pentagon officials.
The military court set a tentative date of March 15 or 16 for the next session in order to hear pretrial motions from the defense and prosecution, according to officials at the Pentagon.
An enlisted man working as a low-level intelligence staff member, the 25-year old Manning is charged with aiding the enemy in violation of Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He also was charged with 16 specifications under Article 134 of the UCMJ: wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, according to officials.
Manning was charged with five counts of theft of public property or records; eight counts of transmitting defense information; two counts of fraud and related activity in connection with computers; and five counts under UCMJ Article 92 for violating Army regulations 25-2, Information Assurance, and 380-5, Department of the Army Information Security Program.
If convicted of all charges against him, Manning would face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, a reduction to the lowest enlisted pay grade, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge.
Most of the 16 specifications against Article 134 relate to Manning giving “intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means” while in Iraq, between November 2009 and May 2010. He is charged with sharing illegally accessed intelligence with “a person not entitled to receive it,” Julian Assange, who owned the web site Wikileaks.
Specification 10 of Article 134 says Manning obtained and then divulged five classified records relating to a military operation in Afghanistan’s Farah province on or about May 4, 2009, with reason to believe “the information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.
The last publication included military and intelligence reports from Afghanistan, and another contained similar documents from Iraq. Newspaper and magazine journalists in the United States and elsewhere used them to write unflattering news stories and columns.
Since the Wikileaks incidents, the Pentagon has put in place methods to minimize such thefts of classified materials.
“It is now much more difficult for a determined actor to get access to and move information outside of authorized channels,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in a written statement following publication of news articles on the documents.
According to one story appearing in British newspaper The Telegraph, Manning, who served as a US Army intelligence analyst, became depressed after a break-up with his homosexual companion. He also wrote: “Bradley Manning is not a piece of equipment,” and quoted a joke about “military intelligence” being an oxymoron.