US investigators have been unable to find a direct link between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, the army private accused of passing US military secrets to the whistleblowing website, according to a report released last night.
Jim Miklaszewski, chief Pentagon correspondent for NBC News, quoted US military sources as saying they had uncovered no evidence of contact between the two.
While military officials claim to have found proof that Manning unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents and passed them on to an unauthorised person, it appears they have no evidence that he passed them directly to Assange, or that Manning had any direct contact with the WikiLeaks founder.
Without such evidence, there is little chance that US authorities would be able to extradite or successfully prosecute Assange for leaking the documents.
Speaking to NBC last month, Assange denied having met or even having any knowledge of Manning.
"That's not how our technology works, that's not how our organization works," he said, adding: "I never heard of the name of Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media."