A U.S. Army officer has recommended a general court-martial for a low-ranking intelligence analyst charged with causing the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history.
Lt. Col. Paul Almanza's recommendation to try Pfc. Bradley Manning on all 22 counts, including aiding the enemy, now goes up the chain of command for a final determination by a general, according to the AP.
The military did not provide a timeline for those actions.
Manning, 24, allegedly gave more than 700,000 secret U.S. documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks for publication. Prosecutors say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange collaborated with Manning, who is gay.
Defense lawyers say Manning was clearly a troubled young soldier whom the Army should never have deployed to Iraq or given access to classified material while he was stationed there from late 2009 to mid-2010.
Manning could be imprisoned for life if convicted of the aiding the enemy, the most serious charge. The charge carries a maximum penalty of death, but Almanza agreed with prosecutors, who recommended against seeking the death penalty. Ultimately, however, that decision lies with Linnington.
Almanza presided over Manning's seven-day preliminary hearing, called an Article 32 investigation, in December near Washington. During that hearing, military prosecutors produced evidence that Manning downloaded and electronically transferred to WikiLeaks nearly half a million sensitive battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, and video of a deadly 2007 Army helicopter attack that WikiLeaks shared with the world and dubbed “Collateral Murder.”
Manning's lawyers countered that others had access to Manning's workplace computers. They say he was in emotional turmoil, partly because he was a gay soldier at a time when gays were barred from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces.