A Just Verdict against Bradley Manning

By von Spakovsky, Hans; Malcolm, John | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 2, 2013 | Go to article overview
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A Just Verdict against Bradley Manning

von Spakovsky, Hans, Malcolm, John, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)

Byline: Hans von Spakovsky and John Malcolm, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

There's nothing heroic about betraying your country

Surprised that Bradley Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy? Actually, the legal hurdle necessary to prove such a violation occurred is set very high. Manning had already pleaded guilty to some of the charges and was found guilty of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act because he disclosed classified information.

Manning had a top-secret security clearance as a tactical-level intelligence analyst in Iraq and signed numerous nondisclosure agreements. He had both a legal and a moral obligation to abide by those agreements and the oath he took when he joined the Army. He damaged our national security, betrayed his country and endangered the lives of intelligence assets and his fellow military personnel.

He disclosed more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, an organization well known for its hostility to the United States, knowing that they would post the information on the Internet.

That disclosure provided the brutal enemy we were fighting in Iran and Afghanistan with crucial strategic and tactical information, such as almost half a million after-action battlefield reports. Those reports could help them counter our military operations and help them kill American troops.

For that reason alone, Manning deserves life in prison. The sentencing phase of Manning's trial has now started, and he faces a maximum of 136 years.

Prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fein said in the trial that Manning was on a personal quest for notoriety and fame as a leaker. When he turned over his first cache of classified documents to WikiLeaks, he attached a note saying, This is possibly one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war, and revealing the true nature of the 21st-century asymmetric warfare.

That fog of war helps protect the methods, means and tactics our troops use when they are in harm's way, which is why documents that he leaked were found in Osama bin Laden's compound when justice finally caught up with the genocidal planner of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Manning clearly had no concern whatsoever about how his leaks would harm Americans who were fighting tough battles against terrorists, extremists and other fanatics.

The evidence produced in the trial does not support the claim that Manning was well-intentioned or that he simply wanted to spark a worldwide discussion as his defense lawyer, David Coombs, claimed.

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