US Army PFC Bradley Manning has been scheduled to go on trial this fall to face charges he was responsible for the unauthorized release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
The judge recently
upheld the most serious charge against [Manning], that he aided the enemy by disclosing classified military and diplomatic documents material to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks…
[Judge] Lind specified today that the prosecution must prove that Manning disclosed the data with a clear understanding that the enemy would have access to it.
Much has been made of the “aiding the enemy” charge, likely because it carries the death penalty, though the prosecution has said they will not seek it. The defense tried to say Manning never intended to aid the enemy, but the prosecution argued intent was immaterial.
The prosecution is correct. Article 104 of the UCMJ, Aiding the Enemy, says only that he must have
without proper authority, knowingly…gives intelligence to…the enemy, either directly or indirectly.
It is facially evident Manning had no authority; he certainly knew what he was giving out. The only question is whether he “knowingly” gave intelligence to the enemy. He certainly faces a challenging defense.
The oral arguments did not appear to address Manning’s proposed defense of confused sexuality.