Soldier pleads guilty to giving Wikileaks classified info but denies 'aiding the enemy'
Pfc. Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to 10 charges in connection with what the government says is the largest leak of classified information in the nation’s history.
The Army intelligence analyst is accused of stealing thousands of classified documents while on duty in Iraq and turning the material over to Wikileaks, which published it online, CNN reports.
The 10 charges to which Manning pleaded guilty Thursday constitute only half of the charges against him. He still faces a court-martial on the balance of the 22 charges against him, including the most serious charge—that he “aided the enemy.”
The Guardian reports that each of the lesser charges carries a maximum two-year sentence, while Manning could face life imprisonment if convicted of the aiding-the-enemy charge, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
CNN quoted a military lawyer who follows the case as saying Manning entered into what is known as a “naked plea,” or a guilty plea in the absence of a plea deal. The lawyer suspected that Manning is taking this approach in hopes that the government won’t go through the effort of trying him on the remaining charges. But the government has maintained in previous hearings that it intends to pursue convictions on the remaining charges.
At Thursday’s hearing, Army Judge Col. Denise Lind asked Manning whether he understood what he was pleading guilty to. She also reminded him that his lawyer had filed a motion to dismiss the case against him on the grounds that he was denied his right to a speedy trial, which she denied on Tuesday.