Bradley Edward Manning (born December 17, 1987) is a United States Army soldier who was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of having passed classified material to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. He was charged with a number of offenses, including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy, a capital offense, though prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty. He was arraigned in February 2012 at Fort Meade, Maryland, where he declined to enter a plea. The trial is expected to begin in February 2013.
Assigned to an Army unit based near Baghdad, Manning had access to databases used by the United States government to transmit classified information. He was arrested after Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker, told the FBI that Manning had confided during online chats that he had downloaded material from these databases and passed it to WikiLeaks. The material included videos of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; 250,000 United States diplomatic cables; and 500,000 army reports that came to be known as the Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs. It was the largest set of restricted documents ever leaked to the public. Much of it was published by WikiLeaks or its media partners between April and November 2010.
Manning was held from July 2010 in the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia, under Prevention of Injury status, which entailed de facto solitary confinement and other restrictions that caused international concern. In April 2011, 295 academics – many of them prominent American legal scholars – signed a letter arguing that the detention conditions violated the United States Constitution. Later that month the Pentagon transferred him to Fort Leavenworth, allowing him to interact with other detainees.