The Bradley Manning verdict just in:
A military judge Tuesday acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy — the most serious charge the Army intelligence analyst faced for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military reports and diplomatic cables.
Manning was convicted on nearly all of the lesser charges considered by the judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, in connection with the largest breach of classified material in U.S. history.
Manning had pled quilty to some charges previously. Now the case goes into the sentencing phase.
I haven’t followed it all that closely, but this verdict doesn’t surprise me. It’s also somewhat different from what Snowden could expect if he ever returns to face justice, because Manning was a member of the armed forces and as such comes under the system of military justice—which is different from the civilian justice system.
I have a feeling—it’s just a hunch, nothing more—that this is a more lenient verdict than would have been handed down in the same fact situation mid-twentieth century or earlier. Of course, the same fact situation could not have occurred without the ubiquity of computers, which make acts such as Manning’s far easier. Who could smuggle out tons of papers? I suppose on microfilm, but that would require a technical middleman to photograph the documents, wouldn’t it? And microfilm would still be relatively bulky (not so very “micro”) compared to a computer stick.