WASHINGTON – The Army said Wednesday it has filed 22 additional charges against Pvt. 1st Class Bradley E. Manning, the soldier suspected of providing classified government documents published by the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group.
Army officials said the charges accuse Manning of using unauthorized software on government computers to extract classified information, illegally download it and transmit the data for public release by what the Army termed "the enemy."
The charges follow seven months of Army investigation.
"The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that Pvt. 1st Class Manning is accused of committing," said Capt. John Haberland, a legal spokesman for the Military District of Washington.
One charge — of aiding the enemy under the Uniform Code of Military Justice — is a capital offense, but the Army's prosecution team has notified the Manning defense team that it will not recommend the death penalty to the two-star general who is in charge of proceeding with legal action.
In a written statement detailing the new charges, the Army said that if Manning were convicted of all charges he would face life in prison, plus reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted pay grade, a dishonorable discharge and loss of all pay and allowances.
Manning's civilian attorney, David Coombs, said any charges that Manning may face at trial will be determined by an Article 32 investigation, the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing or grand jury proceeding, possibly beginning in late May or early June.
Trial proceedings against Manning have been on hold since July, pending the results of a medical inquiry into Manning's mental capacity and responsibility.
The Army said Manning was notified in person of the additional charges on Wednesday. He is confined at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.
Associated Press writer David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Md., contributed to this report.