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Manning Convicted of 5 Espionage Charges in Wikileaks Case

July 30, 2013

by VOA News

A U.S. military court-martial has convicted an Army private on charges of espionage for leaking U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks, but found him not guilty of a more serious charge of aiding the enemy, a charge that could have carried a life prison sentence.

The court in Fort Meade, Maryland found Private Bradley Manning guilty Tuesday of the lesser charges of theft of public property and illegally downloading classified information to give to the public.

Manning faced a total of 21 criminal charges, including espionage and computer fraud, in connection with his release of over 700,000 U.S. documents to the anti-secrecy website. The documents included secret diplomatic cables and classified military reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Manning had already pleaded guilty to several charges, which could bring him at least 20 years in prison.

Military prosecutors described the former intelligence analyst as a "traitor" and said he should have known the documents he leaked could have gotten into the hands of the al-Qaida terrorist group.

Manning's attorney says the 25-year-old is not a traitor and rather a "young, naive and good-intentioned" citizen who wanted to encourage public debate about U.S. foreign policy.

Among the information released by Manning is video footage of a deadly U.S. military helicopter attack on a Baghdad neighborhood in 2007.

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