News / USA

Manning Guilty of Espionage, But Not Aiding the Enemy

Manning Guilty of Espionage, But Not Aiding the Enemyi
July 31, 2013 1:03 AM
A military judge in Maryland has found Army Private Bradley Manning guilty of espionage - but not aiding the enemy - by leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. As VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Manning could now get a life sentence, and the case sets a precedent on how the U.S. government is willing to deal with intelligence leaks in the Internet era.
Luis Ramirez
A military judge in Maryland has found Army Private Bradley Manning guilty of espionage - but not aiding the enemy - by leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Manning could now get a life sentence, and the case sets a precedent on how the U.S. government is willing to deal with intelligence leaks in the Internet era.  

After three years in custody that included time in solitary confinement, the verdict is in for Bradley Manning: guilty of espionage.   

He was acquitted of the most serious charge: aiding the enemy.  But the espionage conviction may still get him a maximum sentence of 136 years in prison.

Some of the leaked files were found in the hideout of Osama bin Laden.

Manning earlier pleaded guilty to what is being called the largest leak of secret U.S. documents in history:  700,000 files sent to WikiLeaks while he was deployed in Iraq.  They included this video of a U.S. helicopter crew attacking civilians in Baghdad.

Those disclosures led civil libertarians to rally behind the 25-year-old intelligence analyst. On the morning of the verdict - as they did throughout the case - his supporters demonstrated outside Fort Meade.

“He represents the American desire for freedom of information, for democracy, where we hold our leaders accountable, for direct governance by the people," said Manning supporter Emma Cape.

But to the U.S. government, he's a traitor who put the lives of U.S. troops and U.S. national interests in danger.  

Jeffrey Gordon is a former spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense.

“We're in a 21st century conflict and a big part of that conflict is a battle of ideas.  So if you can embarrass the United States, if you can make them look bad in the eyes of the world, that's actually part of war.  It's asymmetric war.  I think Bradley was a frontline warrior against his own country," he said.

The defense sought to portray Manning as a young, naive, and well-meaning humanist.  Since his arrest three years ago, details have emerged of emotional problems and resentment against his own government that observers say raise questions about why the military put him in a sensitive position.  Larry Korb is a former U.S. assistant secretary of defense.

“Before he deployed to Iraq, his commanding officer said, 'I don't know if we should deploy this guy. He's got all kinds of mental problems, but we're desperate,' so they put him over there.  So basically, what happens if you take someone who doesn't belong there, you put them into a situation, you're asking for trouble," he said.

Korb and Manning's supporters believe the government went too far in charging Manning with aiding the enemy and in the end, the judge ruled the evidence did not support it.  But the verdict also shows the government will convict those who leak information to expose alleged wrongdoing.

The Manning case was tried at Fort Meade, in the shadow of the National Security Agency where Edward Snowden was a contractor.  He recently leaked secret documents on government surveillance of private citizens.

Manning's sentencing phase could take weeks, and the judge will decide if he'll spend the rest of his life in prison.

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Comment Sorting
by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
July 31, 2013 6:32 AM
manning must from now onwards realise that he is the person with the guts,not assange of wiki leak.manning ought to believe in GOD and feel free with what he is doing..i think he will be wise and realise some mistakes such as concluding that what he is being accused of was meant to be hidden under the carpet by the government.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 31, 2013 4:42 AM
I suppose he will be sentenced as much as life sentence but would be pardoned before long.
In Response

by: GH1618 from: USA
July 31, 2013 1:19 PM
Not likely. His sentence will be substantial, but nowhere near the maximum. He will never have his sentence commuted, and certainly will not be pardoned. I'm guessing thirty years, tops.

by: GH1618 from: USA
July 30, 2013 3:02 PM
Acquittal on the most serious count was appropriate, I think. This was not the sort of act that was intended to be covered by that section of the code. Pvt. Manning stands convicted on several serious counts and should get a severe sentence, but not life.
In Response

by: joseph abishaloom from: 6400N.sheridanRD618 Il
July 31, 2013 3:10 AM
It is certainly when Manning did a crime like this . He should keep secrets of his country . The judge if he will send Manning all his life in prison because this crime . He deserve it.
In Response

by: Jordan from: California
July 30, 2013 5:59 PM
Bradley Manning was rightly convicted of serious crimes for which he still may serve up to 136 years in prison. This would be a life sentence. Pay attention to the details please.

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