Bradley Manning sentenced - has already served three years, to serve 32 more

Filed Under: Data loss, Featured, Law & order

The news is out on Bradley Manning's sentence: 35 years of imprisonment.

Manning, 25, is a US army private who famously (or infamously, according to your point of view) spilled secret US data to WikiLeaks, including a huge tranche of diplomatic cables from the US State Department.

Manning, who was arrested in May 2010, has already served more than three years while awaiting trial and sentencing.

He now nevertheless still faces more than three decades inside, though he may be eligible for parole in one third of that time.

He was recently acquitted of "aiding the enemy," a charge that could have seen him locked up for the rest of his life.

The story of how Manning is said to have exfiltrated decades of State Department communications from a secure area is now legendary.

Apparently, he pretended to bop along to music by Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (better known as Lady Gaga) that was supposedly playing from a rewriteable CD; in fact, he was burning hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables to the disk instead.

lg-tweet-200The musical miming supposedly provided visual cover for the fact that the CD light advertised that the device was busy.

Germanotta distributed a message in support of Manning after his sentence hit the news.

You'll find it on her Twitter feed, amongst the ads for her just-released new album.

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks personality who handled Manning's leaked data, remains a free man, strictly speaking.

However, Assange is as good as incarcerated: he sought and was granted political asylum in Ecuador, and is currently holed up in a small diplomatic flat in London that is considered Ecuadorean territory.

He is unable to leave the flat because he would be re-arrested in the UK, having jumped bail on an extradition matter related to various sexual assault charges against him in Sweden.

Assange himself has issued a press release calling the sentence "a significant tactical victory for Bradley Manning’s defense, campaign team and supporters."

Whether Mr Manning agrees with this assessment is not known.

Quite a story, all told.

How about you?

If you hold sensitive data of any sort, you are obviously at risk of a data leak.

Could a insider in your organisation, no matter how trusted they might be, make off with CD after CD of protectively marked data without any sort of warning being raised?

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11 Responses to Bradley Manning sentenced - has already served three years, to serve 32 more

  1. Wolf_Star · 342 days ago

    It's a shame that Bradley Manning is being punished while those who work behind the scenes to do the things his actions brought to light are allowed to get off scott-free.

    It's more a testament to the fact that the American people are no longer really in control of their government, but are happy to just go along with whatever so long as it doesn't inconvenience them.

    Unless all of government is held accountable for its actions, then Bradley Manning should be released with time served and receive nothing less than a General Discharge.

  2. Vito · 342 days ago

    What a fiasco. I can't wait to see the devout breast-beaters who support Mr. Manning's 35-year sentence start foaming at the mouth and sputtering that he will now be Paying His Debt To Society™...as though letting him rot in jail at taxpayers' expense somehow pays anything to anyone.

    Then there will be those who say, "No, no...the reason for the stiff sentence is to make an example of Bradley Manning, which will have a deterrent effect on others who might be considering the same crimes." Yeah, right...I love that story. But...uh, somehow, the deterrent effect didn't seem to work in Mr. Manning's case, did it.

    That doesn't matter, evidently. The important thing is that the rituals and forms of due process are performed, so as to maintain the illusion that justice has been served. It pegs the absurdity meter. Only the need for punishment (revenge) has been served. Bradley Manning's "crimes" have been processed by the machine, but the crimes he revealed have been swept under the rug.

    True justice isn't blind, but pseudo-justice sure is.

  3. roy jones jr · 342 days ago

    As I don't have the extra details maybe someone could answer this: Why was Manning releasing these documents?

  4. Arerifx · 342 days ago

    I'm not American and not Lady Gaga fan too but I'm pretty agree with her..Bradley Manning don't deserve for that imprisonment and America's law is injustice.

  5. John · 341 days ago

    I believe manning should be in prison. Bottom line is he released classified information to unauthorized people, that is against the law. Regardless of what was contained in the information, he knew the consequences for disclosing classified information to unauthorized people. He made a decision and now must suffer the consequences for making that decision. More than just manning should have been punished. There had to of been failures at multiple levels for him to be able to download that information without others knowing and also be able to get that information out of the facility.

  6. Anonymous · 335 days ago

    Would an editor be able to fix this article to reflect Chelsea Manning's proper name and gender identity? Thank you.

    • Paul Ducklin · 333 days ago

      That would make the article incorrect, considering the time at which it was written (it would imply we could somehow see into the future).

      Your comment should serve as a reminder that the identity of the person in the article changed subsequently.

  7. Leonie Blah · 315 days ago

    I can't stand inaccurate reporting. Julian Assange did NOT skip bail and run off the UK to avoid sexual assault charges made against him in Sweden. He was NEVER charged with anything and was NEVER on bail at any time. He was given permission to leave the Sweden by the authorities. What is so hard to understand about that?

    He has not broken any law anywhere in the world!

    • markstockley · 315 days ago

      The article didn't say he'd skipped bail and run off to the UK. Julian Assange was arrested in the UK on an extradition warrant and was bailed. He then sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy and by staying in embassy he is in breach of his bail conditions.

  8. Leonie Blah · 315 days ago

    Why does my comment have to be approved before others read it?

    Why do I have to provide my identity to you in order to speak?

    What are you so scared of? Truth perhaps!

    • We try to maintain a high signal to noise ratio in our comments and so we moderate all of them. It's a significant undertaking but moderation improves the quality of the discussion significantly and we think it's worth it. Unfortunately it means that sometimes you will have to wait a while for your comment to appear.

      You don't have to provide your identity and you are free to comment anonymously.

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About the author

Paul Ducklin is a passionate security proselytiser. (That's like an evangelist, but more so!) He lives and breathes computer security, and would be happy for you to do so, too. Paul won the inaugural AusCERT Director's Award for Individual Excellence in Computer Security in 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @duckblog