FT. MEADE, Md. -- Army Pfc.
Army Col. Denise Lind found Manning not guilty of giving intelligence to the enemy, but convicted him of espionage and other charges after deliberating the case on Friday evening, Sunday and Monday. Her decision brings to a close a nearly two-month military court-martial that raised a national debate over the nature of journalism and whistle-blowing versus the prospect of someone betraying his country.
The 25-year-old Manning still could receive a lengthy prison sentence, however, after earlier pleading guilty to 10 lesser charges of mishandling classified data for giving more than 700,000 classified documents to the anti-secrecy organization
Military prosecutors had argued the soldier knew full well that the secret
"He was a traitor, a traitor who understood the value of compromised information in the hands of the enemy and took deliberate steps to ensure that they, along with the world, received it," Maj. Ashden Fein, the chief prosecutor, told the judge.
But Manning’s defense lawyers, led by David Coombs, insisted Manning was just a small-town youth from Oklahoma who joined
They portrayed him as a whistle-blower, and have left open the possibility that he take the witness stand during the sentencing phase to explain his views.
In February, when he pleaded guilty to the lesser charges, he said in a lengthy statement that after collecting data on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he had grown "depressed with the situation we had become mired in year after year."