Wikileaks founder Julian Assange predicted that “there will be a thousand more Bradley Mannings” in a statement on the sentencing of his source for one of the broadest national security leaks in U.S. military history.
“Manning’s treatment has been intended to send a signal to people of conscience in the U.S. government who might seek to bring wrongdoing to light,” Assange said in a statement posted to the Wikileaks website. “This strategy has spectacularly backfired, as recent months have proven. Instead, the Obama administration is demonstrating that there is no place in its system for people of conscience and principle. As a result, there will be a thousand more Bradley Mannings.”
A military judge sentenced the Wikileaks source to 35 years in prison, less than the 60 years sought by the prosecution. “There is value in deterrence, your honor; this court must send a message to any soldier contemplating stealing classified information,” Capt. Joe Morrow argued, according to the Washington Post. “National security crimes that undermine the entire system must be taken seriously.”
Assange said that “the only just outcome in Mr Manning’s case is his unconditional release, compensation for the unlawful treatment he has undergone, and a serious commitment to investigating the wrongdoing his alleged disclosures have brought to light.”
Manning gave hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks while serving as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq. He asked President Obama for a pardon after the sentencing.