Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who gave thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks has been given a 35-year prison sentence for giving away government secrets. Manning was convicted last month on charges of theft and violations of the Espionage Act, but was found not guilty of the most serious charge of "aiding the enemy." He is being given credit for more than three years of time already served, but will also be dishonorably discharged from the Army, which means a loss of benefits and pension.
Manning, who is just 25 years old, would be required to serve one-third of his sentence before being eligible for parole. That would be roughly eight more years, at which point he could be released. He was facing a maximum of 90 years in jail.
(For more on the appropriateness of Manning's sentence, The Atlantic Wire's Philip Bump spoke to a military law expert who said is it "high-ish," but also far higher than anyone whose crimes were revealed by his leaks.)
In 2010, Manning first made contact with the operators of WikiLeaks, eventually transmitting hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including uncensored diplomatic cables, files on the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and a military video of a U.S. helicopter attack in Iraq that inadvertently killed two journalists. The documents were then posted online by WikiLeaks, leading to Manning's arrest in May of that year. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is wanted by both European and American authorities, but is currently hiding out inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Manning also had his sentence reduced by 112 days for time spent in a military brig in Quantico, Virginia, where he was subjected to "excessively harsh treatment," that some supporters say amounted to torture.