Bradley Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy by military judge Army Col. Denise Lind this afternoon. The “aiding and abetting” charge was the most serious of the charges against Manning. He was found guilty on 15 out of 16 counts of the other lesser charges.
Manning has spent three years in custody and was accused of the largest leak of classified information US history.
Authorities have accused him of delivering three quarters of a million pages of classified documents and videos to the secret-sharing site WikiLeaks, which has never confirmed the soldier was the source of its information. The material covered numerous aspects of U.S. military strategy in Iraq, gave what some called a ground view of events in the Afghanistan war and revealed the inner workings of U.S. State Department diplomacy in leaked cables.
During Manning’s plea to the lesser charges, he read a long statement explaining his position.
He said the information he passed on “upset” or “disturbed” him, but there was nothing he thought would harm the United States if it became public. Manning said he thought the documents were old and the situations they referred to had changed or ended.
“I believed if the public was aware of the data, it would start a public debate of the wars,” he said during his court-martial. He was “depressed about the situation there,” meaning Iraq, where he was stationed as an intelligence analyst.