published Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Court-martial ordered in appalling WikiLeaks espionage case

The so-called "WikiLeaks" case stunned and horrified many Americans.

A U.S. Army private who worked as an intelligence analyst was accused of giving a destructive organization called WikiLeaks literally hundreds of thousands of classified documents, many of which were then published online. It was the largest leak of classified material in American history.

It is impossible to know how much harm may have been done to our nation, but speaking in the wake of the leaks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared, "There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations."

Now, the man at the center of the case, 24-year-old Pfc. Bradley Manning, has been ordered to face a court-martial in connection with the case. There was a preliminary hearing in December, and Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, commander of the Military District of Washington, rendered his decision late last week that Manning would face a court-martial.

Manning, who was arrested in 2010, is charged with aiding the enemy and with violating the Espionage Act.

The government has the burden of proving that Manning is guilty. But since the prosecution has said that the death penalty is off the table, then if Manning is convicted, he should receive the maximum possible punishment that remains available: life in prison.

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