UPDATE: US Government charges against Bradley Manning included illicitly accessing several secret databases in Iraq and Afghanistan and violating a Microsoft Sharepoint and Exchange database.
Bradley Manning faces the death penalty as charges against the US Army private were revealed yesterday.
The US Government said it would not seek the death penalty in the case of Manning, alleged to have leaked secret State Department cables to whistleblower site Wikileaks, but the decision was out of its hands, reported Wired's Threat Level security blog.
The charges were:
- Aiding the enemy (capital offence)
- Theft of public property or records (five counts)
- Computer fraud (two counts)
- Transmitting defence information in violation of the Espionage Act (eight counts),
- Wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy
- Violating Army computer security regulations (five counts)
“The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that private first class Manning is accused of committing,” said US military spokesman John Haberland.
Wired speculated the charges could impact the extradition of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange from Britain for questioning in Sweden over alleged sex crimes there.
His supporters argued that Assange could be rendered out of Swedish hands to face the death penalty in the US if he was extradited.
"The assertion was considered an exaggeration at the time since even Manning was not facing a capital offence," wrote Wired reporter Kim Zetter.
"But the issue is sure to figure more prominently now in Assange’s appeal of UK court’s extradition order."
Manning has been kept in conditions his supporters claim amount to torture since his arrest last May.