A courtroom sketch from the sentencing hearing of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning on July 30, 2013. Image courtesy Bill Hennessy
(CBS NEWS) -- Bradley Manning, the 25-year-old Army private who gave thousands of
classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, was
acquitted of aiding the enemy in a military court-martial, but was
convicted on multiple other counts.
Judge Col. Denise Lind released the decision Tuesday after three days
of deliberation. Manning requested that a judge and not a jury decide
The charge of aiding the enemy was the most serious of 21 counts. It carried a possible life sentence without parole.
Manning was convicted of five espionage counts, five theft
charges, a computer fraud charge and other military infractions.
Manning's sentencing hearing is set to begin Wednesday.
pleaded guilty earlier this year to reduced versions of some charges.
He faces up to 20 years in prison for those offenses, but prosecutors
pressed ahead with the original eight federal Espionage Act violations,
five federal theft counts, and two federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
violations, each punishable by up to 10 years; and five military counts
of violating a lawful general regulation, punishable by up to two years
each. All told, Manning faces a maximum of more than 130 years in prison
for his various convictions. There is, however, no minimum sentencing
requirements for Judge Lind to follow.
Manning, a native of Crescent, Okla., had prior to the verdict admitted to sending 470,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports,
250,000 State Department diplomatic cables and other material,
including several battlefield video clips, to WikiLeaks while working in
Army intelligence in Iraq in early 2010.
published much of the material on its website, as well as in cooperation
with several news outlets like The New York Times and The Guardian.
had argued that Manning had a "general evil intent" because he knew the
classified material would be seen by and help terrorists. They claimed
when Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound in 2011,
they found copies of WikiLeaks documents that Manning had provided.
Prosecutors also argued that Manning simply wanted to make a name for himself by leaking the classified material.
himself did not testify during the trial, but in a pre-trial hearing
said he wanted to expose what he called the American military's
"bloodlust" and disregard for human life in Iraq and Afghanistan, as
well as its dishonest diplomacy, and that he carefully selected material
that wouldn't put troops in harms' way. His attorney has tried to portray Manning as a whistleblower with good intentions.
Reactions to the Manning verdict have been mostly positive out of Washington D.C.
Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, both members of the
House Intelligence Committee, released a joint statement after the
verdict hailing the multiple convictions.
been served today," the statement read. "PFC Manning harmed our national
security, violated the public's trust, and now stands convicted of
multiple serious crimes. There is still much work to be done to reduce
the ability of criminals like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to harm
our national security."
Many legal analysts said earlier
that a conviction of Manning would mark a new precedent in prosecutions
of U.S. secret leakers because the Army private never actually shared
the information directly to an enemy of the U.S.
of the aiding-the-enemy charges historically have had to do with POWs
who gave information to the Japanese during World War II, or to Chinese
communists during Korea, or during the Vietnam War," Duke law school
professor and former Air Force judge advocate Scott Silliman told the
Manning's supporters have expressed
fears that this new turn in leak prosecutions will have a chilling
effect on potential whistleblowers of government wrongdoing.
The actual effects of Manning's leaks are still being debated three years later.
of the videos leaked by Manning included a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter
attack in Baghdad that killed at least nine men, including a Reuters
news photographer and his driver. The video inflamed anger among many in
the both the U.S. and abroad, because it allegedly showed unarmed
civilians being killed, something the U.S. military disputed was
incorrectly portrayed due to editing.
leaked by Manning included thousands of confidential diplomatic cables
that revealed the frank and often embarrassing discussions America's
diplomatic corps had about various world leaders and geopolitics. For a
time, there was anger amongst foreign diplomats and governments about
some of the exposed secrets, but three years on, the latest series of
U.S. government leaks produced by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden
have received nearly all of the international outrage towards America's
clandestine behavior and actions. An example of one of the many revelations
Manning leaked was a diplomatic cable claiming Saudi Arabia -- a key
regional ally for the U.S. -- is one of the largest origin points for
funds supporting international terrorism.
documents Manning leaked that came from the Pentagon, one of the many
revelations was that there were 109,032 "violent deaths" recorded in
Iraq between 2004 and 2009, including 66,081 civilians, which is 15,000 more than previously reported.