I'm not sure that 35 years is frightening or crippling (obviously I wouldn't to go to jail at all) A Life sentence, and I would agree, but 35 years with 3 years time served and parole, not so much. And silenced is far from the truth, he can now write a book, option the movie rights, get a gender-reassignment on the government's dime, and continue to be a 'political prisoner' for EFF without having to be in Guantanamo.
What I'm trying to figure out is why these whistleblowers, Snowden in particular, are just holding on to the information. By not releasing it they are risking death to keep them silenced (although that sound more like a movie scenario than real life). If you are supposedly wanting to tell people the 'truth' about government wrongdoings, just release the whole thing. Saying you have all this damning evidence and holding it back just seems like blackmail, and to what end? Makes the effort somewhat tainted in my opinion. What do they want in exchange? Money? To not go to jail my not releasing the rest?.. They could have done that by not taking it in the first place.
There are plenty of people in our world willing to sacrifice their freedoms and even life to expose wrongdoing, corruption, evil. Look at China and all the hundreds of oppressive countries that good people are rising up against.
Why are we in the Country of "Give me Liberty or give me Death" cowering from our, honestly, democratic and fair government, playing 'whistle-blower', instead of truly standing up for our rights and being a 'traitor'.
Update: I just read the earlier article about Manning's letter to the President requesting a pardon, where he nobly takes his responsibility for the cause of freedom. Salute.