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Bradley Manning: 'I Am Sorry ... I Hurt The United States'

U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Alex Wong
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U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Update at 5:33 p.m. ET. 'I'm Sorry':

Delivering an unsworn statement before a military judge in Fort Meade, Md., Pfc. Bradley Manning apologized for perpetrating the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history.

"I'm sorry I hurt people," he said according to Reuters. "I'm sorry that I hurt the United States. I'm apologizing for the unexpected results of my actions. The last three years have been a learning experience for me."

Kevin Gosztola, of the liberal site Firedoglake, who has been covering the trial from the beginning, reports Manning told the judge he didn't fully appreciate the "broader effects" of his actions.

Gosztola reports:

"[Manning said he] had time to reflect in his confinement in various forms. He had witnessed testimony during the trial and now had a better understanding of what he had done. He was 'sorry for the unintended consequences' of his actions.

Manning believed what he was doing was 'going to help people, not hurt people.' Looking back on his decision, he wondered how he could have believed a junior analyst 'could change the world for the better or the decisions of those with proper authority.'

In retrospect, he suggested he 'should have worked more aggressively inside the system' and had 'options,' which [he] had heard about in this trial, and 'should have used those options.'

"Manning admitted he had to 'pay the price' for his actions, but he pleaded with her.

"'I want to be a better person, to go to college to get a degree and to have a meaningful relationship with my sister, my sister's family and my family,' he said."

Manning has only spoken publicly one other time. He read a 35-page statement back in February in which defended his leaks as an act of conscience.

Update at 5:43 p.m. ET. A Transcript:

The Guardian has posted a full transcript of what Manning said in a court.

Our Original Post Continues:

Bradley Manning, the Army private convicted in the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history, is expected to speak during a sentencing hearing today in Fort Meade, Md.

The Associated Press reports:

"His defense attorney, David Coombs, says the U.S. soldier can decide Wednesday whether he will testify as a witness or make a sworn or unsworn statement. An unsworn statement cannot be cross-examined by the prosecution.

"Manning faces up 90 years in prison for leaking huge amounts of classified information to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2010. He says he wanted to expose wrongdoing and provoke public debate about the U.S. military and diplomatic affairs."

Since Manning was arrested in May 2010, he has had few opportunities to speak publicly.

In fact, his only public statement came back in February, when he read a 35-page statement, in which defended his leaks as an act of conscience.

We'll update this post as soon as we get word about what transpires. If you want play-by-play action, some people are live-tweeting from the courtroom: Nathan Fuller of the Bradley Manning Support Network, Kevin Gosztola of the liberal Firedoglake and independent journalist Alexa O'Brien.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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