Reporting Derek Valcourt
FORT MEADE, Md. (WJZ) — Army Private Bradley Manning was accused in the biggest leak of classified information in US history and Tuesday, he heard his verdict from a military judge.
Derek Valcourt has more on the verdict and the stiff punishment he faces.
Some call him a traitor to his country; others call him a courageous hero. Tuesday, a judge called him guilty on some charges but not guilty of the most serious.
Army Private Bradley Manning was just 22 years old and a low-level intelligence analyst when he leaked more than 700,000 pages of highly classified US security documents to the whistle-blowing anti-secrecy website called WikiLeaks. Those leaks included State Department cables and Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports.
He also released a video from a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed at least nine men, including some journalists and citizens. Pilots could be heard mocking the victims.
Tuesday, the now-25-year-old one-time Marylander stood quietly, wearing his uniform before a military judge who found him not guilty on the most serious charge of aiding the enemy but guilty on nine other charges, including theft and violations of the Espionage Act.
Manning had already pled guilty to 10 lesser charges, including the unauthorized possession of national defense information. During his court martial, Manning said he leaked the documents to expose military bloodlust and provoke reform. But prosecutors called him an anarchist and attention-seeking traitor. He’s now facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.
Outside of his Fort Meade court martial, Manning supporters called for his release.
“For us, he’s not a traitor. He’s a hero and a peace movement icon,” said Dave Eberhardt.
“I’m glad to hear he was found not guilty of aiding the enemy. I don’t think that was his intent at all,” said Dave Schott.
“This man here, Bradley Manning, is a historic hero for revealing the truth to the American people so in a democracy, we can make informed decisions about our government,” said Richard Ochs.
Manning still faces the possibility of 136 years in a military prison. His sentencing hearing is expected to begin Wednesday.