Here's Alex Gibney's (who recently directed a documentary on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks titled WE STEAL SECRETS) interview with veteran Hollywood columnist Anne Thompson (contradictory statements highlighted by me):
Anne Thompson: Is this heavy sentence a miscarriage of justice?
Alex Gibney: "Yes, he's been scapegoated. In a way that's the equivalent of the British army hanging someone from the yardarm. The Obama administration wanted to set an example, and have done it in a brutal way with forms of torture beginning with his confinement. They charged him with aiding the enemy, which thankfully he was found not guilty of, but also of many counts in the Espionage Act. This is the great crime of the Obama administration, trying to turn leaks into treason when they're really not the same thing."
Is the Obama administration, in its fight against terrorism, continuing the practices of the Bush era?
"In this way they're behaving worse. It's the Obama administration going overboard, using the Espionage Act to prosecute leakers. In this way they've gone beyond what the Bush administration has done. You have to look at the overall spectrum of what the Obama administration was willing to do in the larger sense of justice. The Obama administration refused to prosecute anyone for torture. Jose Rodriguez of the CIA intentionally destroyed videotaped enhanced interrogations which were evidence of crimes. Nothing happened; he wasn't even prosecuted. While Manning gets 35 years for leaking material, not to a foreign government, and he didn't get any money. He may have been naive, but he leaked it to the world and the press because he thought it was important information that people should know. Much of the information he leaked was important."
I'm glad that I saw that drone video.
"The video is shocking and frankly should never have been classified. The Army claims it wasn't, but they play games all the time with classification. Documents show that both the Bush and Obama administrations grossly underrated war crimes in a context of mendacity. Revealing their criminality was important for public debate in a democracy. I want to hold them to account, but I don't want a world where every private leaks everything on his computer. He pled guilty on a number of charges. They're charging him as a spy. He did not damage U.S. national security. He did cause embarrassment. But to send someone away for the rest of his life for causing embarrassment seems a perversion of justice."
Here's a link to the Thompson On Hollywood column with the interview: