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Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

A military judge sentenced Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison today for violating the Espionage Act and other federal laws by disclosing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

August 21, 2013

Today a milit­ary judge sentenced Brad­ley Manning to 35 years in prison for viol­at­ing the Espi­on­age Act and other federal laws by disclos­ing hundreds of thou­sands of clas­si­fied docu­ments to WikiLeaks.

Spies who funnel inform­a­tion directly to the enemy have frequently served lengthy sentences under the Espi­on­age Act. Before the Obama admin­is­tra­tion, there were only three Espi­on­age Act prosec­u­tions brought for disclos­ing inform­a­tion to the media, and the longest sentence imposed was two years. While signi­fic­antly less than the 60 years reques­ted by prosec­utors, the judge’s sentence in Manning’s case is the longest ever imposed for a media leak.

“This sentence is preced­ent-setting for all the wrong reas­ons,” said Eliza­beth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Secur­ity Program at the Bren­nan Center for Justice. “Spies and trait­ors have always been subject to the most severe crim­inal penal­ties, so Manning’s sentence does­n’t change the legal land­scape for them. On the other hand, public servants who come across improp­erly clas­si­fied evid­ence of govern­ment miscon­duct and want to blow the whistle will now think twice.”

For more inform­a­tion on Brad­ley Manning, read: