Bradley Manning, a U.S. soldier who leaked a massive amount of classified U.S. data, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
In July, a judge found Manning, 25, guilty of multiple charges under the U.S. Espionage Act and he could have faced up to 90 years in prison. Manning was not, however, found guilty of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, a crime that carries a potential life sentence.
Manning sent the first of what became known as the “War Logs” to Wikileaks in 2010. The documents contained sensitive information about U.S. operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
One of the widely publicized files contained a video of a U.S. helicopter firing on a group of Iraqis civilians, including children, in Baghdad. That air strike killed 12 people, including two Iraqis working for Reuters, reported The Guardian.
Manning apologized for his actions prior to sentencing, saying, “I ‘m sorry that they hurt the United States.” He also said that he was trying to help, not hurt people, when he released the documents.
However, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange released a statement saying that Manning’s apology was likely forced. “Mr. Manning’s apology is a statement extorted from him under the overbearing weight of the United States military justice system,” Assange wrote. “It took three years and millions of dollars to extract two minutes of tactical remorse from this brave soldier.”