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Army Files 22 New Charges Against Alleged Whistleblower Bradley Manning

bradley manningThe U.S. Army has filed 22 new charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, the former intelligence analyst who's already been accused of handing over thousands of classified military documents to WikiLeaks.

Among the new allegations, the most serious is a charge of aiding the enemy -- a capital offense. Though the Army says it won't seek the death penalty against Manning, the 22-year old could face life in prison if convicted on all charges. He would also face a dishonorable discharge, a reduction in rank to the lowest pay grade, and a forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

Manning, who is currently being held at a Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, originally faced 12 charges last July, including allegations of "delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source." On Wednesday, the Army also charged him with causing military intelligence to be published on the Web while knowing it would be accessed by the enemy, and with transmitting classified defense information.

"The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that Pvt. 1st Class Manning is accused of committing," Capt. John Haberland said in a statement. But Jeff Paterson, project director of Courage to Resist, told the Washington Post he's "shocked" that the Army chose to charge the private with a capital offense.

"While the military is downplaying the fact, the option to execute Bradley has been placed on the table," said Paterson, whose organization has raised money for Manning's legal defense. Paterson went on to say that "it's beyond ironic that leaked U.S. State Department cables have contributed to revolution and revolt" in the Middle East, "yet an American may be executed, or at best face life in prison, for being the primary whistleblower."

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