11 Nov 2012

US soldier explores plea bargain in Wikileaks case

9:07 am on 11 November 2012

A US soldier accused of giving thousands of secret American government documents to the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks has offered to plead guilty to lesser offences.

Private Bradley Manning faces 22 charges at a court martial in Maryland in February. He is accused of leaking thousands of US diplomatic cables and Afghanistan and Iraq war reports.

His apparent willingness to plead guilty to lesser offences suggests he would not admit a charge of aiding enemies of the United States, identified by prosecutors as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a charge for which he could face life imprisonment if found guilty.

WikiLeaks has never confirmed the 24-year-old intelligence analyst was the source of any documents it released.