Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Manning: Guilty of Espionage Act - Not Guilty of Aiding the Enemy

An Army judge on Tuesday acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy by disclosing a trove of secret U.S. government documents, a striking rebuke to military prosecutors who argued that the largest leak in U.S. history had assisted al-Qaeda.

The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, found Manning guilty of most of the more than 20 crimes he was charged with, including several counts of violating the Espionage Act. She also acquitted him of one count of violating the Espionage Act that stemmed from his leak of a video that depicted a fatal U.S. military airstrike in Farah, Afghanistan.
Read the rest here.

While I empathize with his motives the problem is that he is a soldier and he raised his right and and took the oath. The military by its very nature can't have people deciding when they will and will not obey orders. You might just as well disband the armed forces. As for the law, the press is (what a surprise!) wrong when they characterize this as a government defeat. They won big time. While the media is focusing on the "Aiding the Enemy" charge," they are missing a huge legal point. He was convicted of violating the Espionage Act. That's going to carry a lot of weight in prosecuting other leakers.

Manning may not be looking at the proverbial blindfold and cigarette, or a mandatory life without parole, but he is going down hard. I would be stunned if he gets less than 20 years in prison.

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