Pfc Bradley Manning faces 22 new charges leveled by the Defense Department today, including a capital offense of “aiding the enemy” which carries the death penalty.

Following an intensive seven-month investigation, the Army on Wednesday filed 22 additional charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of illegally downloading tens of thousands of classified U.S. military and State Department documents that were then publicly released by WikiLeaks, military officials tell NBC News.

The most serious of the new charges is “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense which carries a potential death sentence.

The sentencing recommendation is life in prison, but that could be increased to death by the judge. And, as previously, no “direct link” has been made between Wikileaks/Assange and Bradley Manning:

While conviction on the charge of “aiding the enemy” could result in the death penalty, military prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on that charge alone. But the presiding military judge would have the authority to dismiss the prosecution’s recommendation and impose the death penalty.

Like the earlier charges, the charges made no specific mention of WikiLeaks.

Pentagon and military officials also report that investigators have made no direct link between Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Bradley Manning’s harsh detention continues to this day:

Coombs, Manning’s lawyer, has complained
that his confinement conditions — in
maximum custody under a “prevention of i
njury” watch — are unduly harsh and
undermine his right to a fair trial. Manning has
been confined in a 6-by-12-foot cell with a
bed, a drinking fountain and a toilet for about
23 hours a day, Coombs has said.

Anti-war groups, a psychologist group as well
as filmmaker Michael Moore and Pentagon
Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg have
called for Bradley to be released from
detention. Amnesty International and other
human rights organizations have condemned
the Obama administration’s imprisonment
conditions.