Other details of the verdict were favorable, too. Manning's sentence will be reduced by the amount of time he's served, including the 112 days of "abusive treatment" he received in detention at Quantico.
After serving a total of eight years, Manning will be eligible for parole by the time he's 33.
But just because Manning escaped the worst possible sentence won't stop the White House's aggressive pursuit of administration leakers. In fact, Manning's 35-year sentence is the longest ever to be given to a media leaker, according to New York University's Brennan Center for Justice.
"This sentence is precedent-setting for all the wrong reasons," said Elizabeth Goitein, a legal expert at the Brennan Center. "Public servants who come across improperly classified evidence of government misconduct and want to blow the whistle will now think twice."
Manning might be feeling relieved today in light of the circumstances. But it's the ones who come after him that ought to worry.