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Manning will face most serious charges

Last week during his pretrial hearing at Fort Meade, Pfc. Bradley Manning offered a guilty plea to a number of lesser charges including being the source of leaks to Wikileaks of state secrets. The government had the option of settling for the 10 charges to which Manning had pled guilty and proceeding directly to sentencing, but the prosecutors have instead indicated that they will proceed with a full court martial, bringing the most serious charges against the soldier -- including "aiding the enemy," which could carry a life sentence without parole.

“Given the scope of the alleged misconduct, the seriousness of the charged offenses, and the evidence and testimony available, the United States intends to proceed with the court-martial to prove Manning committed the charged offenses beyond the lesser charges to which he has already pled guilty,” said a statement from the military district.

As the Guardian's Ed Pilkington pointed out, "It will be the sixth time the Espionage Act has been unleashed against the source of an official leak of classified information under the Obama administration - more than the total number of times it has been deployed under all previous presidents since it was enacted in 1917."

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