Feeds

WikiLeaker Bradley Manning found not guilty of 'aiding the enemy'

Still facing over a century in military prison

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

In a surprise verdict, US Army Private Bradley Manning has been found not guilty of the serious charge of "aiding the enemy" by a military court, but still faces over a century behind bars after being found guilty of 20 other charges.

Bradley Manning in court

Manning at the court. Credit: Patrick Semansky AP

"While we are obviously disappointed in today’s verdicts, we are happy that Judge Lind agreed with us that Brad never intended to help America’s enemies in any way. Brad loves his country and was proud to wear its uniform," his family said in a statement.

Manning, who opted to be tried by a judge rather than a jury of enlisted Army personnel, was cleared of "aiding the enemy", which under Article 104 of the US Uniform Code of Military Justice could have meant the death penalty (although the prosecutors ruled that out) or life imprisonment.

Judge Colonel Denise Lind cleared him of this, and of one espionage charge, but she ruled him guilty on all other counts, according to the charge sheet posted by Alexa O'Brien, a freelance journalist who has been at every day of the trial.

Manning, who has been held incommunicado since his arrest over three years ago, did not comment when the verdict was announced, and was taken from the room immediately afterwards.

He won’t know how long he'll be behind bars just yet – sentencing begins tomorrow – but he has already pleaded guilty to 10 charges of misusing and transmitting classified information that could put him away for 20 years. Tuesday's verdict will pile on yet more time to that potential total, with WikiLeaks saying the verdict gives him a possible prison term of 136 years.

In the spirit of always looking on the bright side, Manning will still get a full 112 days lopped off his final sentence to make up for being "illegally punished" in a military prison run by the US Marines at Quantico, an earlier hearing ruled. Manning had been kept in a windowless cell for 23 hours a day, often naked and forbidden to sit down or lean against a wall for long periods.

It seems unlikely that Manning will receive any mitigation for the manner in which the information was leaked. After being rebuffed by The New York Times and the Washington Post, he gave the data to WikiLeaks on the condition that no sensitive data was released, and the organization and the media outlets who published it performed extensive checks.

The data itself – including video of the accidental killing of two Reuters journalists and Afghan civilians by a US helicopter gunship, along with 470,000 Afghanistan and Iraq battlefield reports, as well as 250,000 State Department diplomatic cables – has now been widely picked over and is, in the opinion of the UK's former top spymaster, embarrassing but not a threat. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.