His long confinement, pre any trial, included abuse and torture. In 2013 he was sentenced to 35 years in jail following a plea bargain. Without the deal he would have faced a whole-life-term in prison.
The leaks he gave the world were via Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. His unofficial or some would say self-imposed exile, costs the British tax-payer a huge sum of money daily. Police guard the building and if Assange were to step one foot outside he faces certain arrest.
What are politicians so afraid of?
He faces allegations of sex abuse in Sweden but claims the accusations are fabricated. He believes that if he is extradited to Sweden he will promptly be sent to the USA and face a similar fate to Bradley Manning.
Whistle-blower Edward Snowden also risked a great deal to awaken the world to excessive spying by the USA and other allied countries.
The US administration initially refuted the allegations, condemned Snowden as an enemy of the USA, called him a criminal, revoked his passport and put pressure on other countries to ensure that Snowden would not be granted asylum.
In the months that followed Snowden’s escape to Hong Kong and temporary asylum in Russia further leaks followed. He is still a wanted man and his openness has caused huge embarrassment to many western leaders and politicians.
What he revealed should also have incensed people as we now look set to live in a less private world with an increasing amount of government spying.
The official government line that the spying is all done to protect us is no longer convincing; the extent of the spying, plus the ongoing acts of terrorism, belie that official message.
As yet the public has only glimpsed the tip of the espionage iceberg but it still stinks.
Governments have tried attacking journalists who publish information about Snowden and the NSA, the US national security agency, as well as hounding Snowden.
In recent weeks the Obama administration has attempted a damage limitations exercise. It now admits the spying was excessive and unnecessary. In a vague way it has promised change but will it be too little too late?
Can you believe leaders in a country that will jail a soldier for 35 years for exposing murder by some of their own armed forces; a country that, as yet, has not held the killers to account?
Can you believe an administration that calls one of its former analysts an enemy for exposing wrong-doing, hounds the man and revokes his right to citizenship of the USA?
If such acts were carried out by Russia, even 20 years ago, the US would be banging the human rights drum. Instead it is happily sacrificing its whistle-blowers, instead of using them to rectify errors. That stance alone proves that those involved see nothing wrong in excessive spying of citizens. In other words were politicians complicit? It certainly looks that way.
Those who value their freedom and rights should be actively supporting whistle-blowers instead of damning them. Without them democracy is well and truly dead instead of in its death throes.
How you respond to people such as Snowden could determine the fate of others in years to come.
So Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and others, enemies of the state or friends of democracy? You decide.
Happy New Year whistle-blowers everywhere".
Update: As New Year 2014 approaches Assange is still in the Embassy under tight police observation, Snowden is still in Russia one country that offered him asylum and made a renewed enemy of the USA and days ago Chelsea Manning celebrated her 27 birthday in jail.
But don't worry US President Obama has ensured a silly comedy film about the fictional assassination of the North Korean leader Kin Jong-Un is making big bucks in the name of free speech!