A military judge has refused to dismiss the most serious charge against an Army private accused in the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history.

Col. Denise Lind ruled Thursday against a defense motion to dismiss the charge of "aiding the enemy." The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Lind was presiding over a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade.

The defense had argued that that charge didn't properly allege that Pfc. Bradley Manning intended to help al-Qaida when he allegedly sent classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Prosecutors maintained that Manning knew al-Qaida members would view the WikiLeaks website, regardless of his intentions.

Manning also faces 21 other counts.