WASHINGTON — The US military officer who presided over an evidentiary hearing on charges against Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents to WikiLeaks, recommended on Friday that Private Manning face court martial, according to media reports.

The officer, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, who heard a series of witnesses last month at Fort Meade, Maryland, concluded that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that  Manning committed the crimes he is accused of, including aiding the enemy, theft of public records and computer fraud.

Colonel Almanza’s recommendation now goes to senior military officers, who can dismiss the charges or permit them to proceed to a full military trial. If convicted on all charges, Manning could be sentenced to life in prison.