Court Martial Recommended For Bradley Manning

Not surprisingly, it looks like Pfc. Bradley Manning is headed for a court martial related to the allegations that he improperly accessed, copied and transferred classified information that later ended up in the hands of Wikileaks:

WASHINGTON — The military officer who presided over an evidentiary hearing on charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents to WikiLeaks, recommended on Friday that Private Manning face court martial.

The officer, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, who heard a series of witnesses last month at Fort Meade, Md., concluded that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that Private Manning committed the crimes he is accused of, including aiding the enemy, theft of public records and computer fraud.

Given the Manning’s defense team barely put up a defense at the evidentiary hearing, and totally abandoned the defense that had been asserted in opening statements alleging that Manning’s sexuality was somehow a justification for what he did, this isn’t a surprise. The decision to take Manning to trial is up to senior officials but it seems quite likely that it will go forward, as it should.


FILED UNDER: Intelligence, Military Affairs, National Security, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    And after he’s convicted he should get time served and be released.

  2. @michael reynolds:

    I doubt that will happen.

    But, under what justification?

  3. Vast Variety says:

    He should get the Court Martial, a few years in Leavenworth, and then a Dishonorable discharge. What he did was inexcusable.

  4. @Vast Variety:

    I believe a Dishonorable Discharge will be the least of his problems if he’s convicted. He’ll walk around with a criminal record for the rest of his life. Perhaps he should have thought of that before breaking the law.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Under the justification that he has been held in inhuman conditions and we have tortured this man enough.

  6. @michael reynolds:

    Except for the fact that most of those allegations were debunked and the main reason for his solitary confinement at the Quantico Brig (and he hasn’t been there since the early summer at least) was because of his own threats to commit suicide in his cell.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Hmm. I will have to update my info on that. I’ve seen some early attempts to debunk, but not totally convinced.

  8. mantis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I haven’t followed this story as closely as many, but have any of the claims of mistreatment come from anyone besides Manning’s lawyer?

  9. @michael reynolds:

    It’s debunked in the sense that Manning doesn’t appear to have been singled out for especially heinous treatment. Military prisons apparently subject all of their prisoners to inhumane and degrading treatment.

  10. Ben says:

    18 months of pre-trial detention is incompatible with civil rights and the rule of law. It should shock the conscience of anyone who cares about those concepts.

    And he was placed in solitary from the moment he was detained, long before he even had the chance to threaten suicide. And if he then later DID threaten suicide, well, doing that much time in solitary would make anyone crazy and want to kill themselves.

  11. APL says:

    How many of you ASS*&#$% out there have served. The US Military
    is supposed to be held to a much higher level of ethics
    and Honor than civilians. You actually give up some of your
    rights when you take “The Oath” This is a fully voluntary
    military now, so he has no excuse!

    The Military Court will try him and decide his fate, as well
    as it should be.

    A Former Vet.

  12. Steve Verdon says:


    How many of you ASS*&#$% out there have served. The US Military
    is supposed to be held to a much higher level of ethics
    and Honor than civilians.

    Oh the irony….

    Oh and we definitely got that you think less of those who haven’t served.

    And one last bit, you can crawl back under your rock.

  13. Ben says:


    If you weren’t such a patronizing douchbag, I’d thank you for serving. But instead, kindly piss off. Just because I didn’t do my 20 years like my father and brother did doesn’t mean that I don’t know what is expected of a soldier. They still have rights, and the government has been pissing all over Manning’s rights for the last 2 years.

  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    If proven his actions constitute treason during war. I’m sure the military still has manuals on how to tie a noose.

  15. matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: A “war” with no possible end ever…

  16. Jenos Idanian says:

    @matt: Manning enlisted in 2007, when 1) we were at war and 2) DADT was fully in force. He knew (or should have) known what he was volunteering for. Plus, he was two months shy of 20, a legal adult, so he’s responsible for himself.

    He had no authorization to access the information he’s accused of leaking, and no authorization to divulge it to anyone.

    You seem to argue that the “rules” he’s accused of violating are unfair. I say that’s irrelevant; he agreed to abide by them when he enlisted, freely and of his own volition. That includes abiding by the UCMJ and it’s legal provisions and his rights therein. Now he’s being held accountable to his pledge.

  17. matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: To clarify are you referring to occupations of Afghanistan or Iraq as a war or are you falling back on the “war on terror” as the war?

  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    @matt: Obama just pulled the US troops out of Iraq and declared that war over. So, did I miss a previous proclamation or resolution or something?

  19. matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: The “war on terror’ is still ongoing so Republicans and a few Democrats are more then happy to yell about being in war..

  20. @Vast Variety: Even as someone who supports the work (not the people) of WIkileaks, I feel that Bradley Manning should be executed as a traitor. He was a serviceman who put the lives of his fellows in danger with his reckless disregard for the chain of command. A Private first class does not have the understanding to make decisions like the one he made. Being in a war makes things that much more problematic.

    It’s a bit hypocritical, my stance. “Thanks for your work, Bradley. Now we’re going to make you a martyr.”

  21. matt says:

    @Christopher Bowen: What I read from the defense department was that the only data that compromised the mission was the footage of the apache shooting innocents..

    Of course if you listen to politicians then do keep in mind those are the same people that proclaimed french fries to be a threat to our national security..