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U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning was responsible for delivering hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.
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Bradley Manning was born on December 17, 1987, in Crescent, Oklahoma. After joining the U.S. Army, Manning was sent to Iraq in 2009. There he had access to classified information that he found disturbing. Manning gave much of this information to WikiLeaks and was soon arrested for his actions. On July 30, 2013, he was found guilty of espionage and theft, but was found not guilty of aiding the enemy. In August 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
"I want people to see the truth regardless of who they are, because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public. I feel, for some bizarre reason, it might actually change something. Or maybe I'm just young, naive and stupid."
"I listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga's 'Telephone' while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history. Pretty simple and unglamorous. No one suspected a thing."
"I just wanted to be nice, and live a normal life."
"If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day, seven days a week for eight-plus months, what would you do?"
"Justice has been served today. Pfc. Manning harmed our national security, violated the public's trust, and now stands convicted of multiple serious crimes."
"While President Obama was starting and expanding unconstitutional wars overseas, Bradley Manning, whose actions have caused exactly zero deaths, was shining light on the truth behind these wars. It's clear which individual has done more to promote peace."
"We're a nation of laws. We don't individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate. ...He broke the law."
Bradley Manning was born in Crescent, Oklahoma, on December 17, 1987. As a child, he showed an affinity for computers. Hoping to develop his computer skills and earn money for college, Manning joined the army in 2007. He was initially the target of severe bullying, perhaps because of his sexuality or small stature. However, his posting at Fort Drum in New York had some happy moments. He began dating Tyler Watkins, a college student who introduced Manning to Boston's hacker community.
In 2009, Manning was stationed at the isolated Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq. His duties as an intelligence analyst there gave him access to a great deal of classified information. Some of this information—including videos that showed unarmed civilians being shot at and killed—horrified Manning.
While at work in Iraq, Manning—who allegedly made his first contact with WikiLeaks in November 2009—proceeded to amass information that included war logs about the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, private cables from the State Department and assessments of Guantánamo prisoners. In early 2010, he passed this information—which amounted to hundreds of thousands of documents, many of them classified—to WikiLeaks. In April, the organization released a video that showed a helicopter crew shooting at civilians. Releases of other information continued throughout the year.
When he returned to Iraq, Manning, who had also begun to question his gender identity, demonstrated behavioral problems and was demoted. Feeling lonely, Manning reached out to hacker Adrian Lamo. Using the screen name "bradass87," Manning confided in Lamo about the leaks. Lamo contacted the Defense Department about what he had learned, which led to Manning's arrest in May 2010.
Manning was first imprisoned in Kuwait, where he became suicidal. After returning to the United States, he was moved to a Marine base in Virginia. Manning was kept in solitary confinement for most of his time there, and was unable to leave his small, windowless cell for 23 hours each day. Deemed a suicide risk, he was watched over constantly, sometimes kept naked in his cell and was not permitted to have a pillow or sheets.
Even when a psychiatrist said that Manning was no longer a danger to himself, the conditions of his imprisonment did not improve. When word of these conditions spread, there was an international outcry. Manning was transferred to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas in 2011, where his cell had a window and he was allowed to have personal effects.
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