Army officer recommends court-martial for Manning

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, after a military hearing that will determine if he should face court-martial for his alleged role in the WikiLeaks classified leaks case went on recess for the day.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

WASHINGTON - An Army officer is recommending a general court-martial for a low-ranking intelligence analyst charged in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history.

Lt. Col. Paul Almanza's recommendation regarding Pfc. Bradley Manning now goes up the chain of command for a final determination. Military District of Washington commander Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington will ultimately decide whether Manning will stand trial.

He faces 22 counts, including aiding the enemy, for allegedly giving more than 700,000 secret U.S. documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Prosecutors say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange collaborated with Manning.

Defense lawyers say Manning was clearly a troubled young soldier. They say the Army never should have sent him to Iraq or given him access to classified material.

The 24-year-old Manning is a native of Crescent, Okla.

Manning court-martial decision could take weeks
Defense makes case, rests in WikiLeaks hearing

CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen reports that there was never much doubt but that the presiding officer would recommend a court-martial. because that's what those military hearings typically do when only prosecutors are presenting evidence. Now, the decision on court-martialling Manning goes on to the next level of military review, and none of it means Manning has yet to be proven guilty of anything.

The hearing last month was like a preliminary hearing in civilian court. Just as those typically result in the case going forward, this case now will go forward.

At this point, Manning's defense team has not presented the meat of its argument yet, Cohen reports.