Bradley Manning court matrial recommendation

WASHINGTON (AP) - 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 whom the Army should never have deployed to Iraq or given access to classified material while he was stationed there from late 2009 to mid-2010.

They say the Army never should have sent him to Iraq or given him access to classified material.

Almanza presided over Manning's seven-day preliminary hearing, called an Article 32 investigation, in December at Fort Meade, Md.

During that hearing, military prosecutors produced evidence that Manning downloaded and electronically transferred to WikiLeaks nearly half a million sensitive battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, and video of a deadly 2007 Army helicopter attack that WikiLeaks shared with the world and dubbed "Collateral Murder."

Manning's lawyers countered that others had access to Manning's workplace computers.

They maintain he was a gay soldier deeply troubled by gender-identity issues at a time when homosexuals were barred from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces.

Manning's apparent disregard for security rules during stateside training and his increasingly violent outbursts after deployment were red flags that should have prevented him from having access to classified material, the defense claims.

Manning's lawyers also contend that military computer security was lax; and that the material WikiLeaks published did little or no harm to national security.

Defense attorney David Coombs didn't immediately respond Thursday to requests from The Associated Press for comment on Almanza's recommendation.