Bradley Manning, the soldier responsible for the largest leak of classified material in US history, suffered a major setback when a military judge refused to throw out the most serious charge against him, "aiding the enemy".
Manning (25), an army intelligence analyst, faces the prospect of lifetime imprisonment without possibility of parole if he is found guilty in a verdict that could come as early as next week.
Colonel Denise Lind, the judge sitting alone in the non-jury case at the Fort Meade base, found that there was enough prosecution evidence to proceed with the key charges against Manning.
His defence team argued that the prosecution failed to prove that he had "actual knowledge" that information would end with up the enemy when he turned over 700,000 military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.
The key charge has caused alarm as it could set a precedent for bringing the same case against anyone leaking national defence material online. (© Daily Telegraph, London)