A host of military and civilian officials have lamented the leaking of more than 75,000 classified documents about the Afghan war to Web site WikiLeaks, saying that the disclosure of the secret information could endanger U.S. troops. But a Republican congressman today went a step further, calling for treason charges – accompanied by the death penalty – against the 22-year old analyst charged with leaking the information.
Asked during an interview with Michigan radio station WHMI if he supported capital charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst charged with illegally downloading and leaking the classified information, Rep. Mike Rogers said "I would support it 100 percent."
"We know for a fact that people will likely be killed because of this information being disclosed," said Rogers, a Michigan Republican and a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
"[Manning] put soldiers at risk who are out there fighting for their country," he added. "And he put people who are cooperating with the United States government clearly at risk."
Manning will face a military hearing similar to a grand jury proceeding later this month, NBC reported Monday. He is currently being held at a Marine Corps facility in Quantico, Va.
Treason charges in the modern era have been rare. In 2006, American Adam Gadahn was charged with treason after appearing as a spokesman in Al Qaeda propaganda videos. He was the first American charged with treason since 1952.