A military judge has sentenced PFC Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for disclosing thousands of classified documents to the website Wikileaks. He will be eligible for parole in 12 years.
Here is how various news services are covering the sentence:
The Washington Post:
Manning, 25, was convicted last month of multiple charges, including violations of the Espionage Act for copying and disseminating the documents while serving as an intelligence analyst at a forward operating base in Iraq. He faced up to 90 years in prison.
According to the military, Manning is required to serve one-third of the sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.
The Los Angeles Times
Supporters have hailed Manning as a whistle-blower for revealing government secrets and exposing alleged misdeeds in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They staged a vigil outside Ft. Meade, where the court-martial was held, and planned to organize an evening rally outside the White House.
Manning faced a maximum sentence of 90 years in prison, but in the final phase of the trial, prosecutors urged the judge to sentence him to 60 years behind bars.
via WikiLeaks trial
Defense attorney David Coombs did not ask for a specific sentence, but said that his client was an excellent candidate for rehabilitation and that he should not be left to “rot in jail.”
“Perhaps his biggest crime was that he cared about the loss of life that he was seeing and couldn’t ignore it,” he said of Manning’s decision to turn over the explosive information to WikiLeaks.
“This is a young man capable of being redeemed,” Coombs said in final remarks. “The defense requests, after the court considers all the facts, a sentence that allows him to have a life.”
U.S. civilian courts have ordered life in prison for spies, including Aldrich Ames, a former CIA case officer convicted in 1994 of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia and former FBI agent Robert Hanssen, convicted in 2001 of spying for Moscow.
Government transparency advocate Steven Aftergood, of the Federation of American Scientists, said the civilian cases, unlike the military ones, involved career intelligence workers who knowingly supplied foreign governments with U.S. secrets for years. Ames’ disclosures caused intelligence sources to be executed. Hanssen compromised ongoing intelligence operations on a massive scale.
Duke University law Professor Scott L. Silliman said Manning’s case doesn’t rise to those levels. While Manning disclosed a vast amount of information, “I don’t’ think you could call Bradley Manning a spy,” he said.