WASHINGTON — Supporters of the Army private who sent hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks are energized by his statement in court that he did it to clear his conscience.
But it’s not clear whether pleading guilty to reduced charges in his court-martial will be an effective legal strategy for Pfc. Bradley Manning. Regardless of his motives, he appears likely to spend many years in a military prison.
The 25-year-old Manning has been called a whistleblowing hero and a symbol of the misplaced priorities of the U.S. military and the Obama administration. Others consider him a traitor who should be punished.
Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network says it was “inspiring” to hear Manning say in his own words what supporters have long believed about his motives.