The AP reports:
U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy — the most serious charge he faced — but was convicted of espionage, theft and other charges Tuesday, more than three years after he spilled secrets to WikiLeaks.
The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, deliberated for about 16 hours over three days before reaching her decision in a case that drew worldwide attention as supporters hailed Manning as a whistleblower. The U.S. government called him an anarchist computer hacker and attention-seeking traitor.
Wired: “This is a historic verdict,” says Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. “Manning is one of very few people ever charged under the Espionage Act prosecutions for leaks to the media. The only other person who was convicted after trial was pardoned. Despite the lack of any evidence that he intended any harm to the United States, Manning faces decades in prison. That’s a very scary precedent.”
Foreign Policy: Though the Obama administration has received heavy criticism for its pursuit under the Espionage Act of self-described whistleblowers, it has seen mixed results in securing convictions -- until now. The case against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake fell apart amid a heated legal battle, and Drake ended up pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. The administration is currently engaged in a heated legal battle in the case against Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent, and is attempting to force New York Times reporter James Risen to name Sterling as his source for the leaked information at the center of the trial.
National Journal: Charges of aiding the enemy are rare. So much so that, in charging Manning, prosecutors pointed toward the case of a Civil War soldier charged and convicted, in 1863, of a similar crime. And what Pvt. Henry Vanderwater did to the Union was, in a way, similar to the circumstances of Manning's arrest. He gave roster information to an Alexandria, Va., newspaper that was published. Vanderwater was sentenced to three months of hard labor and was discharged dishonorably.
The Atlantic: To the bitter end, then, the Manning case and trial, like so many other high-profile legal disputes this year, hasn't divided America so much as it has revealed the scope of the divide -- on our ill-defined and lingering war on terror, on our broader foreign policy choices, on the use and misuse of new technologies, on the nature of investigative journalism, and on the pervasive and growing secrecy with which our government operates.