The Associated Press
FILE - This undated file photo obtained by The Associated Press shows Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private suspected of being the source of some of the unauthorized classified information disclosed on the WikiLeaks website. As the suspected source for the biggest leak of intelligence material in American history faces his first hearing Friday Dec. 15, 2011, U.S. prosecutors have their eye on another prize: The man who disclosed the documents to the world. When WikiLeaks' spectacular disclosures of U.S. secrets exploded onto the scene last year, much of Washington's anger coalesced around Julian Assange, the silver-haired globe-trotting figure whose outspoken defiance of the Pentagon and the State Department riled politicians on both sides of the aisle. Pfc. Manning, long under lock and key, hasn't attracted the same level of ire. (AP Photo, File)

FORT MEADE, Md. — The U.S. military is set to make its case for court-martialing Bradley Manning. He's the soldier accused of endangering national security by engineering the largest-ever leak of classified documents.

The stakes are high.

The government wants to deter future leaks of potentially damaging secrets.

Manning faces the possibility of life in prison if his case goes to trial and he's convicted.

He's set to make his first public appearance Friday at the opening of his pretrial hearing at Fort Meade, a secretive military base in Maryland.

The base is home to U.S. Cyber Command, whose mission includes protecting computer networks like the one Manning allegedly breached by illegally downloading huge numbers of classified documents in Iraq.

He's suspected of giving them to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that then published them.