(Reuters) - U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is due to learn his fate on Tuesday when the military judge hearing his court-martial renders a verdict on charges that the soldier was responsible for the biggest breach of classified information in U.S. history through the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website.
The case has pitted the U.S. government, which charged that 25-year-old Manning put national security at risk by releasing more than 700,000 classified files, against activists who praised him for shining a light on U.S. military and diplomatic operations abroad.
Below are some quotes on the case:
BRADLEY MANNING, on the leak, February 28:
“I believe that if the general public ... had access to the information ... this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general. I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience.”
DEFENSE ATTORNEY DAVID COOMBS, on Manning’s intentions when he released classified information:
“Is Pfc. Manning somebody who is a traitor, has no loyalty to this country or the flag, and wanted to systematically harvest and download as much information as possible for his true employer, WikiLeaks? Is that what the evidence shows? Or is he a young, naive, good-intentioned soldier ... whose sole focus was maybe, ‘I just can make a difference, maybe make a change?’”
MAJOR ASHDEN FEIN, the lead military prosecutor, on Manning:
“Manning had the general evil intent ... He acted voluntarily and deliberately with his disclosures. He was not a whistleblower. He was a traitor.”
JOSEPH WIPPL, a former CIA officer who is now a professor of international relations at Boston University, on Manning:
“He leaked information to which at least half a million people had access. Giving access to that many is like laying a trap for lemmings. It was bound to happen.”
SPECIAL AGENT TONI GRAHAM, with the Army Criminal Investigation Division of the Military Police, on a leaked gunsight video that showed a 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Iraq, including two Reuters journalists:
“Now over 5 million people have viewed it, and the 5 million - or 5 billion, whatever the number is - they’re all unauthorized individuals.”
Reporting by Francesca Trianni; Editing by Scott Malone and Lisa Von Ahn