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Bradley Manning hearing set for Dec. 16

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army intelligence analyst suspected of illegally passing government secrets to the WikiLeaks website will have a military hearing next month to determine whether he will stand trial.

Civilian defence attorney David E. Coombs wrote in a blog post that Pfc. Bradley Manning's Article 32 hearing will begin Dec. 16 near Baltimore. Shaunteh Kelly, a spokeswoman for Army, confirmed the hearing Monday.

An Article 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing. A presiding officer will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the government's case and make a recommendation on which charges should be forwarded to a general court-martial.

Army soldier formally charged with espionage

Manning is suspected of obtaining hundreds of thousands of classified and sensitive documents while serving in Iraq and providing them to the anti-secrecy website.