Aug 21 (Reuters) - U.S. soldier Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison on Wednesday for turning over classified files to WikiLeaks, a transparency website.
He was indicted and convicted under the 1917 Espionage Act, a law U.S. prosecutors are seizing on to pursue Americans suspected of divulging government secrets to the media.
Here are 10 cases that were brought since 1971 for disclosing information to a newspaper, blog, author or other media outlet. Seven of the cases were in the last eight years.
Daniel Ellsberg's case became the first, in 1971, when prosecutors accused the national security analyst and his colleague Anthony Russo of providing what would become known as the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and other media. The secret documents revealed the extent of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Charges against the two men were dismissed when a judge found that the government had wiretapped Ellsberg, possibly illegally.
Samuel Morison, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was charged in 1984 with illegally passing secret photographs of Soviet ships to a magazine, Jane's Defense Weekly. He was the first person convicted under the Espionage Act for divulging secrets to the press. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but paroled. President Bill Clinton pardoned him.
Lawrence Franklin, a Defense Department employee, was charged in 2005 with passing classified information about Iran to two pro-Israel lobbyists, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. Franklin pleaded guilty and got a 12-year sentence. After the government's case against Rosen and Weissman collapsed, a judge reduced Franklin's sentence to 10 months in a halfway house.
Shamai Leibowitz was a Federal Bureau of Investigation translator when material he heard in the course of his work ended up on a blog. He reached an agreement with prosecutors before he was charged, and pleaded guilty in 2009 to one count of disclosing classified information. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
Former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake was suspected in 2010 of revealing information about the agency's warrantless wiretapping program. He was indicted under the Espionage Act but said the only information he leaked was about waste in an NSA program, which he gave to the Baltimore Sun. The 10 felony counts were dropped when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and received no prison time.
Bradley Manning was convicted in July on 20 charges, including espionage and theft, for passing more than 700,000 classified files to WikiLeaks in the biggest leak of secret documents in U.S. history.
NORTH KOREA INTEL
Stephen Kim, a U.S. State Department contract analyst, divulged to a Fox News reporter what U.S. intelligence believed about how North Korea would respond to new sanctions. A grand jury indicted him in 2010 for disclosing defense information and making false statements, based in part on Fox News records the government seized without notice. He has pleaded not guilty, and a trial date is possible in late 2013 or early 2014.
Former Central Intelligence Agency officer Jeffrey Sterling was charged in 2011 with illegally disclosing classified information about Iran to New York Times reporter James Risen for his book "State of War." A federal appeals court ruled last month that the First Amendment right to free speech did not prevent Risen from giving testimony.
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou was charged in 2012 with divulging to journalists secret information about the CIA's interrogation program, including the identity of a covert officer. In an agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to one count and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He began serving the sentence in February.
Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency, was charged in June for disclosing classified information to Britain's Guardian newspaper. The documents showed the NSA had access to vast amounts of Internet data such as emails, chat rooms and video from companies such as Facebook and Google. Russia has granted Snowden temporary asylum. (Reporting by Ian Simpson, David Ingram and Joseph Ax; Editing by Scott Malone and Gunna Dickson)