US transfers suspected WikiLeaker Bradley Manning to Virginia

Bradley Manning, who served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, was charged in June with eight violations of the US Criminal Code and is the military's focus in the investigation into the leak of the classified documents to the website WikiLeaks.He was transferred from Kuwait to a Marine Corps brigade in Quantico, Virginia, CNN reported.Manning was arrested in Baghdad in May and charged earlier this month with multiple counts of mishandling and leaking classified data, after a computer hacker turned him in.

Manning will remain in confinement as the army continues an investigation to determine whether he should face the military equivalent of a trial over the charges, according to a statement released by the army yesterday.

He has not yet entered a plea, since there has not been a decision about whether he should face trial, army major Bryan Woods was quoted as saying.

The leak of some 91,000 documents about the US-led war in Afghanistan is being described by experts as the biggest since the Pentagon Papers about Vietnam.
Manning, who had top-secret clearance as an intelligence analyst for the army when he was stationed in Iraq, was charged in June with eight violations of the US Criminal Code for allegedly illegally transferring classified data.

On Wednesday, a senior Pentagon official said that Manning was believed to have accessed a worldwide military classified Internet and e-mail system to download documents.

The Pentagon official, who did not want to be identified because of the ongoing criminal investigation, said investigators believe Manning logged into a system called the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, which essentially provides military members who have appropriate security clearances access to classified e-mails and the military's classified Internet system.Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, has declined to say where his whistle-blower website got 91,000 US documents about the war. About 76,000 of them were posted on the site on Sunday.

Assange has been criticised by top US officials for endangering the lives of American and Afghan soldiers by publishing the secret military documents.

"Mr Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon news conference yesterday.

Secretary of Defence Robert Gates said the massive leak could endanger troops and jeopardise US efforts.

"The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world," he said. "Intelligence sources and methods, as well as military tactics, techniques and procedures will become known to our adversaries."

WikiLeaks responded to the remarks in a Twitter post early today: "Gates, who killed thousands in Iraq, Afg and Iran-Contra says we might have 'blood on our hands.'"
The organisation's founder has said it held back thousands of documents in order to redact information that could put people at risk.

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