WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Protestors raised their voices during a rally at Dupont Circle on Tuesday night in support of Bradley Manning, saying he did what he did for the good of his country and of humanity.
Then they took to the streets of Washington, marching to the White House and beyond. The protestors consider the former Army intelligence analyst a hero for leaking more than 700,000 diplomatic cables and battlefield reports to WikiLeaks. He also leaked a 2007 video which shows a U.S. helicopter attacking and killing Iraqi civilians, and they see him as a whistleblower who exposed government misdeeds.
Earlier on Tuesday, a judge convicted Manning of espionage, theft, and computer fraud for releasing the classified data, but he was acquitted on the most serious charge: aiding the enemy. Still, he could face life behind bars when sentenced.
While Manning has claimed that he leaked the data to spark a foreign policy debate, detractors say he betrayed his country and his comrades – knowing full well that the information would be seen by the enemy.
Former Army lawyer Lisa Windsor says Manning was in no position to release information that may have compromised national security:
"If he wasn't a smart individual, he would never have been able to pull off the offense. So, I think that the government argument will be like, 'This was a smart guy, he knew exactly what he was doing.'"