A military judge ruled Wednesday that prosecutors will have to prove that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning knew he was providing information to the enemy when he disclosed hundreds of thousands of cables to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group.
Army Col. Denise Lind, who is presiding over pretrial hearings at Fort Meade, Md., also said Manning’s defense team can present evidence that the former intelligence analyst selected documents to leak that would not harm national security.
Manning, 25, is scheduled to face a court-martial in June on charges of leaking sensitive government cables and other documents to WikiLeaks, which published them on its Web site and shared them with media outlets.
He could face life in prison if convicted of all 22 charges, including aiding the enemy. Lind did not identify the “enemy,” but previous testimony suggested it included Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and various affiliated groups.
Prosecutors have indicated that they intend to present evidence recovered from bin Laden’s compound that proves the terrorist leader asked for and received access to some of the WikiLeaks material Manning is alleged to have leaked.