19 Jul 2013

Trial judge rules against army leaker

4:37 pm on 19 July 2013

A military judge has refused to dismiss the most serious charge facing Bradley Manning, the United States soldier who leaked thousands of secret documents.

Lawyers for Private Manning, 25, argued there is no proof he aided the enemy, a charge carrying a life prison term.

The case reportedly involves 700,000 files, including battlefield reports from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as secure messages between US embassies and the State Department in Washington.

Prosecutors have argued he systematically harvested documents eventually seen by Osama Bin Laden.

"He (Private Manning) was knowingly providing intelligence to the enemy," said Judge Colonel Denise Lind at Thursday's hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland.

The BBC reports the accused has already pleaded guilty to 10 of the 21 charges against him.

The judge cited Private Manning's training as an intelligence analyst, as well as the sheer volume of the documents he has acknowledged providing to WikiLeaks, as the basis for reasoning he knew the leak could aid al-Qaeda.