— The commander of the Army Military District of Washington has approved the findings of the court-martial last year of WikiLeaker Chelsea Manning.
Manning, who served as an intelligence analyst for the Army in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010 as Pfc. Bradley Manning, was accused of giving hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. She was tried last year at Fort Meade, found guilty of 20 offenses and sentenced to 35 years in a military prison.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan approved the findings and the sentence last week, officials said Monday. The case will now be appealed automatically to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
Manning, who lived with an aunt in Potomac and studied at Montgomery College before enlisting in 2007, has filed requests for a pardon from President Barack Obama and clemency from Army Secretary John M. McHugh. Her former attorney says he has been advised that neither a pardon nor clemency will be considered until the appeals process is complete.
Manning acknowledged leaking diplomatic cables, war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq and gunsight video of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack that killed civilians in Baghdad in the hope of provoking debate on U.S. foreign policy.
Critics say she is a traitor whose leaks risked American lives. Supporters say the information deserved a public airing and endangered no one.
Col. Denise Lind, the military judge who heard the case against Manning last year, found her guilty of wrongful possession and transmission of national defense information, theft of government information, unauthorized access to a government computer and wrongful possession and transmission of protected government information, violation of lawful regulations related to his computer use and storage of classified information and wrongful publication of U.S. intelligence information.
Lind sentenced Manning to 35 years of confinement, reduction to the rank of private, dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
Buchanan, as the convening authority in Manning's court-martial, had the authority to disapprove any or all of the findings and to disapprove or modify any or all of the sentence. He did not have the authority to impose additional punishment or change a finding of not guilty to guilty.
Manning is being held at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Attorney David Coombs, who represented her through the court-martial, said in October that Manning was being held in the general population, where she is able to receive visitors, telephone calls and correspondence.
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