There will be no public report assessing the damage done by the leaking of hundreds of thousands of pages of classified data that Bradley Manning felt compelled to release via Wikileaks. Supporters of the disgraced private keep insisting no lives were lost by the leaks, but others aren't so sure.
The one thing that is sure is that Manning will have a long time to contemplate what he has done.
A military judge on Wednesday morning sentenced Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
Manning, 25, was convicted last month of multiple charges, including violations of the Espionage Act for copying and disseminating the documents while serving as an intelligence analyst at a forward operating base in Iraq. He faced up to 90 years in prison.
According to the military, Manning is required to serve one-third of the sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.
The government had asked Judge Denise Lind, an Army colonel, to sentence Manning to 60 years. "There is value in deterrence, your honor; this court must send a message to any soldier contemplating stealing classified information," said Capt. Joe Morrow, a military prosecutor. "National security crimes that undermine the entire system must be taken seriously."
Defense lawyer David Coombs portrayed Manning as a well-intentioned but isolated soldier with gender identification issues, and he asked Lind to impose "a sentence that allows him to have a life."
"He cares about human life," said Coombs as the sentencing phase of the court-martial at Fort Meade, Md., ended last week. "His biggest crime was he cared about the loss of life he was seeing and was struggling with it."
Manning also addressed the court and apologized for his actions, saying he was "sorry that I hurt the United States."
Manning will receive a credit of 1,293 days for the time he has been confined prior to the sentence, including 112 days of credit for abusive treatment he was subjected to at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va.
For those who cheered the damage done to American interests and our standing in the world, the sentence is no doubt too harsh. Others no doubt believe he deserved to be executed. The judge appeared to take a middle ground on his sentence, for which Manning will be eligible for parole in 2021.