Manning closer to court martial
Pfc. Bradley Manning (center) is escorted from his his Article 32 hearing December 16, 2011 in Fort Meade, Maryland.
January 12th, 2012
05:38 PM ET

Manning closer to court martial

By Carol Cratty

A U.S. Army soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks came one step closer to a court-martial on Thursday. An investigating officer assigned to Pfc. Bradley Manning's case recommended he face a just such a military court for trial, the Army announced.

After an Article 32 hearing for Manning - which is the military's rough equivalent of a grand jury proceeding - the investigating officer concluded "reasonable grounds exist to believe that the accused committed the offenses alleged." The recommendation now goes Col. Carl Coffman, the "special court-martial convening authority." If he approves, the recommendation would then go to the commander of the military district of Washington for a final decision on Manning's case.

Manning, 24, is accused of committing the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history. The charges against him include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, transmitting national defense information, and theft of public property or records.

If Manning is tried and convicted on all charges, it is recommended he face a maximum of life in prison. Aiding the enemy is capital offense, but the investigating officer endorsed the view of military prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.

During the Article 32 proceedings in December, prosecutors presented evidence that Manning allegedly communicated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a series of Internet chats about uploading 700 Guantanamo Bay detainee interrogation reports.

Prosecutors charge Manning put software on secure computers to allow him to download classified material and burn it to a compact disc. Manning was assigned as an intelligence analyst in Iraq and had a top-secret clearance. He worked in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, known as SCIF.

At the Article 32 hearing, Manning's defense lawyer, David Coombs, focused most of his attention on two issues - lack of security at the SCIF and the Army's lack of response to Manning's emotional and behavior problems.

"We're disappointed but by no means surprised," said Jeff Paterson, a lead organizer for the Bradley Manning Support Network after hearing about the recommendation for a court martial. Manning's supporters continue to say the military has not presented evidence about how the alleged leaks of documents to WikiLeaks harmed national security.

CNN's Larry Shaughnessy and Charley Keyes contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Bradley Manning • Military • WikiLeaks
soundoff (41 Responses)
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  8. RagMcmuffin

    Can we have him? we will make him into a full blown coward.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  9. RagMcmuffin

    Insulting isn't it

    January 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  10. RagMcCmuffin


    January 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  11. Jeremey

    I find it very offensive that people insist on Government transparency. If Collin Powell had been transparent in the first Gulf War, Iraq could still own Kuwait. The Government is not required, nor should they be required, to share information regarding intelligence or any operational capability. What kind of an upper-hand would our country have if the average citizen knew the location of say Osama Bin Laden? If you want to be in the know then sign up and pickup a weapon alongside the rest of the military. The way the Nation conducts itself is based on the leaders at the top; become one of those leaders and make a change instead of crying about it and contributing nothing to society. I’m becoming increasingly troubled by the fruit-cakes of this nation moving away from the fundamentals of the Founding Fathers. There are countries that already operate the way you wished ours did; move there. I am happy with a Christianized culture, even though I am not an "every Sunday" kind of guy. Manning deserves, if he is found guilty as I am not saying he is already guilty, to be put to death. This is not a civilian company; it’s not McDonalds where if you sell the secret recipe employees will die. We are talking about information that is classified at the highest levels; information you have access to because you agreed to safe guard, and not share it. Let me repeat my last statement for the illiterate readers, NOT SHARE IT. Those three words don't mean anything else, period! He signed a contract to serve, then he signed a contract to accept responsibility for the TS documents, and finally as part of his contract to serve he agreed to deploy. I feel no sympathy! He, again not found guilty yet, violated those agreements. Now, he must accept the consequences for breaking those agreements, period! Our country is becoming too “Touchy Feely.” Someone step-up and bring back the rough edges!

    January 16, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
  12. Jon

    Send this big mouth to his grave and be done with it. We have other more important issues like slapping Iran into place.

    January 16, 2012 at 9:07 am | Reply
  13. jeff

    for the idiots on his support website are you serious? you are really asking where's the evidence and saying he didn't endanger national security. ok first off whenever you log in to a government computer especially the military's it automatically begins to getrecorded by someone else at a center away from your locationthen it everything you do while on gets looked at either on the spot or 2-3 months later and they let his commander know of any illegal activity like leaking info but since he looks like a smart guy he probably downloaded all the info to a hard drive and used his pc to send but when you copy files to a hard drive it sends an warning to them but he probably had a pretty good excuse for his commander to beloieve that he was doing it cause it was work related eventually they caught on aand have his pc and found the stuff he had sent by inspecting his pc's hard drive. second to say he didn't endanger national security did these idiots actually read some of the stuff that was there where is stated location of our troops future plans and present mission operations and techniques that puts our men and women who are serving over there in even more danger we will no longer have the element of surprise cause now they are waiting for us and they know how we will try ad get them so know we have to stop rethink a new strategy because of this idiot which gives them a chance to advance on us but people want to support him. i tell you what i say give him the death penalty!!!he knows its the firing squad so he knows how the enemy now feels which is not surprised at all.

    January 16, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply
    • Jeremey

      The points you are trying to make are very valid, however, you should work on your grammar. The entire paragraph is so poorly compiled that for a second I was going to have to side with Manning. Please, don't post on a public website if you are going to make yourself look like an idiot.

      January 16, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
      • Jon

        Wow...a never ending story. He must be a kid playing games.

        January 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  14. ken

    Does the second person appear very similar to the third person? Almost a photoshop but the chins are different.

    January 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  15. msdespa

    gays are not emotionally stable people and this is a perfect example. The young man will now spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison, branded as a traitor to his country, meanwhile, the military is now saturated with emotionally unstable queers.

    January 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • RagMcmuffin

      Now thats funny.....bbbahhhaaaaahhhaaa!!!

      January 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  16. CIB 1969

    Both Assange and Manning should be tried and shot when found guilty.

    January 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  17. CIB 1969

    Both Assange and Manning should be tried and shot, after being found guilty.

    January 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  18. Tom

    Is anyone forgeting that Manning is in the US Army and sworn to uphold the laws of the Unitied States. Manning carried a Top Secret Clearence and was trainned to carry out his duties. He not only failed to do so, but released information that he was trainned and sworn to protect. It could have been a troop movements list or anything else labeled sensitive... The fact is he did so knowingly and deliberitly released that information. Now his defence is... "Hey they let me steal it and since I stole, it I must have been mentally unstable" and if that defense doesn't work, how about, "well the information I released was politically charged so it's ok" , Once again, another criminal is using smoke and mirrors to distract from the fact they committed a crime and got caught. Manning is a traitor and a criminal and should be dealt with accordingly!

    January 14, 2012 at 9:39 am | Reply
  19. Richard

    In a perfect world, he'd be closer to a firing squad.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  20. Jim

    He is a traitor, that is certain. If he had taken secrets and give it to his friend next door then I wouldn't call it being a traitor but instead just a stupid mistake. However, releasing so the world can see it , including those who would use that information to do harm to myself or other friends in the military is the act of a traitor and he should be punished. Death is acceptable, but personally I would prefer locked up for life. Interestingly enough, I am not suprised with what was release. people are shocked that our government had dirty little secrets but in what world did anyone think we smell like roses? We don't get to where we are without some shady underhanded tactics.

    January 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  21. Freeman

    Don, who are US enemies? The politicians that manipulate its population into invading the countries US don't even have borders with? Invading others in the name of "democracy" is definitively a perverted perception of it. Invading others to steal land and resources is what really all wars are about, but then you should not call it your enemies but your victims.
    A short, but not complete list of your "enemies": Guatemala, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Korea, Lebanon, Vietnam, Chile, Laos, Cambodia, Somalia, Iran, Libya, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Philippines, Honduras, Nicaragua. Please, show me which of these countries has a border with yours.

    January 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  22. ﺶCHEﺶ

    I thought US is always hammering other countries to be transparent to its citizens. If not US always comes up with covert activities against that country, its leaders and planned assassinations. Do I need to say more?

    January 13, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
  23. michaelfury

    January 13, 2012 at 8:40 am | Reply
  24. michaelfury

    "In a second posting, Coombs noted the breadth of the military’s definition of 'enemy': “`Enemy’ includes (not only) organized opposing forces in time of war, (but also any other hostile body that our forces may be opposing) (such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades) (and includes civilians as well as members of military organizations). (‘Enemy’ is not restricted to the enemy government or its armed forces. All the citizens of one belligerent are enemies of the government and the citizens of the other.)”


    “Tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country – your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.”

    – President George W. Bush, January 28, 2003

    January 13, 2012 at 8:04 am | Reply
  25. mipolitic

    as much as the actions of the us troops releaving them selfs on the dead must be made to pay the highest sentance so it must be with this lad , good by don't cry.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
  26. Terry

    So, the documents released must be factual. Yes, releasing the information is a crime, but I am surprised that most Americans are not upset with the information found in the documents. Have we lost our moral compass?

    January 13, 2012 at 12:40 am | Reply
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      What are you afraid of? One minute you hate your own Gov't and next minute you want the same Gov't you hate; to hide things from you. Make up your mind, will ya? If your Gov't and its troops are committing genocide and rapes in your name you wish to know ...... Right? Does the action of Hitler ring a bell? Quest. did all Germans’ agree with Hitler in his genocide rampage? I bet most will say, heck no. If someone had stopped him from within, the World would have been a better place.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
      • Jeremey

        You are ignorant. The military doesn't promote rape and genocide. Do us all a favor and research before you spit garbage that isn't based on fact. Show me one regulation that promotes any of the bullshit you just covered in your reply...... I'm waiting.

        January 16, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  27. jak

    Dana i agree 100% with you, how in the name of freedom can anyone defend this traitor and his treasonous conduct is beyond me. i firmly believe that Asange should also stand trial too for esponage!

    January 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Reply
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      You agree with who?
      Don't you have a mind of your own?
      You might as well ask righteous Charles Manson to lead you to the Heaven's Gate to meet your Maker.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
      • Jeremey

        You probably think the Muslim Brotherhood is an outstanding group leading Egypt too? People like you make me sick. You follow the few who publicize their opinions. The majority of the issues facing the nation are not issues at all. Rather, they are bloated problems with half truths believed by people like you who are so ignorant because you believe what you read or hear.

        January 16, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  28. Dana

    Who will it be on trial Bradley or Brenda?

    January 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  29. John the Historian

    Manning is a great hero by forcing our government to be transparent and open. He has done nothing wrong and should be released.He is a hero like Ellsberg. An open and free press. Why government secrets ????What else are they hiding.

    January 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
    • Dana

      Bradley is not a hero. He is a traitor, a collaborator and this is war. He should be tried for treason and other stuff and if convicted sentenced to death by firing squad, the military way.

      January 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • Louis Pell

      Excuse me John the historian but you seem to buy your history at the What you make it store. I can only guess you work in a library because it is the only place left you can download your employers information and not get fired?

      January 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • bob

      Bradley is in no way a hero. I am confused why everyone seeks the U.S government to have full transparency. When you play cards do you should your opponents your cards? Should the Patriots give Tebow their playbook so "manifest destiny" of the Tebow circus be allowed to continue. Should you be required to tell everyone you meet that you stole candy at the store when you were five. Do they need to know where and when you masterbate? Does everyone need to know you were abused by a counseler at summer camp?

      These are simply a few examples I could think of that illustrate the fact that EVERYONE and EVERYTHING has secrets and that no good can come from individuals who do not need to know finding out these secrets. If you continue to believe in full transparency, I suggest you start with yourself. Let's hear about all your deep, dark secrets before you start demanding others reveal theirs.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:30 am | Reply
    • ???

      John the Historian, you asked "why the government secrets?" The reason the government classifies certain information is to protect the service members serving overseas. I don't know who you think you are or why you feel like you are entitled to know the inner workings of the military, but you are sadly mistaken. If anyone says Manning didn't jeopardize the lives of thousands of U.S. troops overseas, they are absolutely ignorant. He may not have leaked troop locations, or future operations, but by leaking events that have already occured, it gives the enemy the opportunity to study our procedures and adapt their attacks accordingly. Allowing the people who want to kill our troops to learn our tactics most definitely endangers our troops. Assange is a traitor, Manning is a triator and both should spend the rest of their lives in solitary confinement.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:32 am | Reply
    • Don

      Manning did not "force" anything. They still operate the same way. The reason for the secrecy is NOT to keep US citizens uninformed, it is to keep our enemies uninformed. If you can come up with a way to ONLY give our info to US citizens, speak up.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply

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