Bradley Manning Verdict: Not Guilty of Aiding Enemy

Karen Greenberg on The Takeaway, July 30, 2013

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"Three years is enough," says a placard outside of a courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland.

That sign is a show of support for Army Private Bradley Manning, who has be in the custody of the U.S. government since 2010. Manning, who leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, was found not guilty of aiding the enemy, the largest charge he faced in military court. He was convicted of at least 20 other charges, including at least 5 charges of espionage. The private had pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts in connection with the leak to WikiLeaks. Sentencing is expected to begin tomorrow—early reports suggest that Manning could face more than 100 years in prison.

The now-25-year-old Manning uploaded classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and other files to Wikileaks and changed the world's understanding of those wars—and this nation's relationship with the rest of the world.

"I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the [Iraq and Afghan War Logs] this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan," Manning has said.

Joining us to discuss the verdict is Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University's School of Law, and Ed Pilkington, reporter for The Guardian.

"I think that is going to be the subject of debate going forward: how the judge made the distinction between the aiding the enemy charges and the rest of the charges," said Greenberg. "That's something that will play out in public discourse as time goes along. But basically she was not convinced that he did this in a way that he knew he was aiding the enemy. The question underlying all this may be what exactly was the harm that occurred with what he did."