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U.S. soldier charged with leaking classified information

By the CNN Wire Staff
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U.S. Apache attack video
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pfc. Bradley Manning detained in Kuwait
  • Manning faces several charges of illegally transferring classified information
  • He is believed to be the soldier who leaked video of Apache attack
  • Attack killed two Reuters journalists, drew global attention

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military has charged a soldier in Iraq who is suspected of leaking a helicopter attack video that shows civilian deaths, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, is being detained in Kuwait and faces charges on eight violations of the U.S. Criminal Code for allegedly illegally transferring classified data, according to a charge sheet released by the military.

It accuses Manning of "wrongfully introducing a classified video of a military operation filmed at or near Baghdad, Iraq, on or about 12 July 2007, onto his personal computer, a non-secure information system."

The footage shows an Apache helicopter gunship attack that killed a dozen civilians, including two journalists from the Reuters news service. Their deaths gained the incident international notoriety.

Reuters photographer Saeed Cmagh survived an initial strafing by the Apache gunship's 30 mm machine gun, but he apparently died when the gunship opened fire on people attempting to get him off the sidewalk where he lay, according to the video.

The aerial footage was posted in April by the Web site WikiLeaks, which said the video remains classified and "clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers."

WikiLeaks is a site that publishes anonymously submitted documents, video and other sensitive materials.

The military said it detained Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst deployed with the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade, in June. The website Wired.com identified Manning as the one who had leaked the video of the helicopter assault.

Wired.com reported that Manning confessed to the leak in a series of online chats with a former computer hacker. He allegedly owned up to leaking other items to WikiLeaks, including the classified Army document assessing the threat level of the website, as well as State Department cables, according to the article.

Public airing of the video forced the Pentagon to defend the actions of its troops in a report that concluded the Apache crew had no way of knowing the Reuters journalists were among suspected insurgents on the street.

Pentagon documents on the investigation

The military said Tuesday that it will appoint an officer to preside over Manning's Article 32 investigation, which is similar to a civilian grand jury hearing. The military will then decide whether Manning should be court-martialed.

 
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