WASHINGTON (CN) – Pfc. Bradley Manning will face court-martial on all 18 charges of giving more than 700,000 classified documents to Wikileaks.
The Army says Manning aided the enemy; his supporters hail the 24-year-old as a war-crime whistleblower.
Wikileaks divided its trove of confidential documents into several categories: “Cablegate” for diplomatic cables; Iraq and Afghanistan incident reports in “War Diaries;” and “Collateral Murder” for a July 12, 2007 video of a Baghdad airstrike that killed eight people, including two Reuters photographers.
The general court martial convening authority, Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, referred the charges on Friday.
The “aiding the enemy” charge carries a potential life sentence; the remaining charges add up to 150 years in prison.
A military judge, to be appointed, will set dates for Manning’s arraignment, motion hearings and trial.
In a statement, Manning’s supporters criticized the Obama administration for saying the leaks harmed U.S. security, without backing up the claim in sworn depositions.
“This administration owes all Americans an honest explanation for their extraordinary retaliation against Bradley Manning,” said Jeff Paterson, a lead organizer of the Bradley Manning Support Network.
“President Obama and Secretary Clinton need to produce sworn depositions under conditions where they are required to tell the truth about Bradley Manning.”
Obama said that Manning “broke the law,” months before the soldier faced a hearing to defend himself against the allegations.
The military rejected multiple attempts by Manning’s lead attorney, David Coombs, to get Obama, Clinton and seven other witnesses to testify about the impact of the leaks.
Manning’s supporters said they expect Coombs to renew the deposition request with the General Court-Martial Convening Authority.