Manning said, “I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information … this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.”
Army Private Bradley Manning, who was arrested in “the biggest leak of classified material in US history,” pleaded guilty to leaking classified military documents to WikiLeaks on Thursday. According to the Associated Press, Manning told the court that he was “trying to expose the American Military’s bloodlust and disregard for human life in Iraq and Afghanistan.” This is the first time Manning has openly admitted that he is responsible for the information leaks, and he took the opportunity to explain to the court why he chose that course of action. He said,
I began to become depressed at the situation we found ourselves mired in year after year. In attempting counterinsurgency operations, we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists. I wanted the public to know that not everyone living in Iraq were targets to be neutralized.
Manning admitted to providing WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of “battlefield reports, State Department diplomatic cables, other classified records and two battlefield video clips” in 2009 and 2010. The Army priate could face up to 20 years in prison for the 10 charges he pleaded guilty to, but military prosecutors say they intend to “move forward” with a court-martial on the 12 charges remaining against him, “including aiding the enemy,” which could carry a life sentence. Manning will not be sentenced for this guilty plea until after the proceedings for his other charges are resolved.
Photo: AP/Patrick Semansky