Hero or Traitor?
During the trial, the prosecution sought to paint U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning as an anarchist and a traitor, while the defense portrayed him as naive and well-intentioned. The judge, rightly, rejected both characterizations, finding Manning not guilty of “aiding the enemy” but guilty of violations of the Espionage Act for releasing information that could cause harm and stealing government property.
Neither side got exactly what they wanted, which is often the sign of a just result. Manning may have been “well-intentioned” in the colloquial sense, but legally speaking, he intentionally violated the law. He did not steal the files “by mistake.” He is a trained intelligence officer. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he knew exactly what WikiLeaks would do with the files He may have been hoping for a spirited debate, but he knew the files would be seen by both our friends and our enemies. Those who intentionally violate the law must know — and must accept — the consequences of doing so.
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