Pfc. Manning admits leaking classified material that 'upset' him to WikiLeaks
February 28th, 2013
02:09 PM ET

Pfc. Manning admits leaking classified material that 'upset' him to WikiLeaks

Pfc. Bradley Manning pleaded guilty Thursday to 10 of the 22 charges against him, but not the major one, in what the government says is the largest leak of classified documents in the nation's history. And, for the first time, he offered his rationale for the crimes.

In court, Manning detailed why and how he sent classified material to WikiLeaks, a group that facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information through its website.

He said he passed on information that "upset" or "disturbed" him, but nothing he thought would harm the United States if it became public.

Reading a statement for more than an hour, Manning described his motivations, beginning with what he called "sigact tables," documents describing significant actions in Iraq and Afghanistan that he said represented the "ground reality" of both conflicts.

He said he'd become "depressed about the situation there" and made copies of the sigact tables in his secure workstation in Iraq. Then, he took them back to the United States and pondered what to do with them.

Manning said he first called The Washington Post. He spoke to a woman who he believed was a reporter and told her the kind of material he had. After five minutes, he got the impression she wasn't taking him seriously, he said.

He said he then called The New York Times and got nothing but answering machines, so he left a message and his phone number and e-mail address, but never heard back.

Manning said he finally decided to send them to the WikiLeaks organization.

"I believed if the public was aware of the data, it would start a public debate of the wars," he told the court.

Earlier Thursday, after Manning's guilty pleas, Army judge Col. Denise Lind asked the defendant questions to establish that he understood what he was pleading guilty to.

In addition, she reminded him that his lawyer had filed a motion to have the case dismissed on the grounds that he was denied his right to a speedy trial - a motion that Lind denied Tuesday.

By entering guilty pleas, Manning loses his right to have an appellate court consider that ruling, if he chooses to appeal.
A military lawyer who follows the case told CNN the tactic is known as a "naked plea," or a guilty plea in the absence of a plea deal.

The lawyer said that by using that strategy, the defense apparently hopes the government will feel victorious about the guilty pleas Manning has entered and won't go through the effort of a trial.

However, in previous hearings, the prosecution has said it intends to pursue convictions on the remaining charges.

If his case proceeds, Manning has asked for Lind, instead of the military equivalent of a jury, to decide his guilt or innocence on the 11 charges to which he pleaded not guilty.

The U.S. military initially detained Manning in May 2010 for allegedly leaking U.S. combat video, including a U.S. helicopter gunship attack posted on WikiLeaks, and classified State Department records. Manning was turned in by Adrian Lamo, a former hacker, whom Manning allegedly told about leaking the classified records.

In December 2011, Manning's Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing to determine whether enough evidence existed to merit a court-martial, began. He was formally charged in February 2012.

After a military judge denied Manning's lawyers' motions to dismiss charges in April 2012, the process proceeded, with Manning's court-martial scheduled to begin on June 3.

Larry Shaughnessy reported from Fort Meade, and Mark Morgenstein wrote this report in Atlanta.

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. hmm..

    part of what he leaked had to do with the US military converting a library into a torture chamber in iraq and the US military leaving dead, tortured bodies in the streets for others to see. funny how the cnn article doesn't mention that but the guardian et al do.

    April 2, 2013 at 3:44 am | Reply
  2. Navyvet8192

    Military personnel are to promote and project democracy, not practice it. There's no room for it. What the PFC did is Treason pure and simple. He betrayed his oath, disgraced his unit and uniform, and brought shame on the nation. Every nation has dirty little secrets. I worked in Navy intel my 1st 4 years in, and seen truckloads of traffic in the comm center. Some things upset me, some made me very angry, but I would have never in 1000 years even considered taking a single piece of classified data and disseminated it to the general public. Although it may be an innocuous bit of data, portions of it are gathered from HUMINT sources. That's real people on the deck hanging their necks out for us. He may have disagreed with President Bush and the invasion of Iraq, god knows I did. The difference is he broke his oath and became a defacto traitor. My secrets go with me to the grave, as a 75 year non disclosure agreement ensures that.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • YouiMoron

      And this is why America is beginning to fail.

      July 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  3. Murf

    It's a simple equation: He swore an oath to shut up and do his job. He didn't. Now he gets to pay the price for treasion.
    Next case!

    March 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  4. Hakatar

    I don't see what people think is so good about this. This is war, civilians are NOT entilted to know the inner workings of a combat operation. There is a thing called "Classified Material" for a reason. I am in the military, this boy knew what he was doing. Despite that, he violated the law and the oaths he swore to uphold. Because of that information, lives were put into jeopardy. Not the actions of the commanders who oversaw him, the President who authorized the invasion, or the NCO who gave Manning his assignment. He is a traitor and deserves to be seen as such.

    March 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Reply
    • RetiredVet

      Thank you Hakatar, and thank you for serving your country, I've been politely trying to get people like George Patton2 to understand this,but instead he goes on about drones killing "innocent civilians". People like George Patton2 have obviously never served in the military, so they no nothing about it.Unlike the late George Patton who was a military hero in WW2, George Patton2 is nothing more than a liberal "keyboard commando" who never served in the military.

      March 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  5. What

    What about the CIA imploding WTC building 7?

    March 1, 2013 at 9:58 am | Reply
    • BigShiz

      The NED did that

      March 1, 2013 at 11:40 am | Reply
  6. jch

    If traitors are to be shot, then please tell me why the same was not done for LBJ as his treasonous act was to attempt to sink the Liberty?

    March 1, 2013 at 9:03 am | Reply
    • BigShiz

      He told us what we have a right to know.

      March 1, 2013 at 11:41 am | Reply
  7. Julia

    Note my blog. A data base of Astroturfers is forthcoming.

    March 1, 2013 at 1:40 am | Reply
  8. RetiredVet

    George Patton2,John Geheran, and Kerry, I have one question for all of you, have any one of you served in the US Military?
    And to John Geheran why do you have to resort to name calling because people disagree with yours and George Patton2 and Kerry's views?
    I served 20 years in the US Navy and what Bradley Manning did is treason and he put peoples lives in danger and he will be punished accordingly. George Patton2,John Geheran,and Kerry have any one of you lost any friends together in combat?

    February 28, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      Do you RetiredVet, have a better name for those butchers who operate those monstrous drones, hurling 500 lb. bombs on defenseless people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen? If you do, I'd like to hear it. Furthermore, instead of being mad at us, you need to put the blame for these useless and unnecessary wars on those neocons in Washington D.C. who got us into them!

      March 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
      • RetiredVet

        George Patton2,I simply asked you two questions.
        Did you ever serve in the US military?
        Did you ever lose a friend in combat?
        What do the drones issue have to do with the topic of traitor Bradley Manning?
        These are simple questions for you,why don't you reply to them.

        March 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  9. George Patton-2

    The very fact that Pfc Bradley Manning is being prosecuted for whistle blowing while those sniveling cowards who operate those ungodly drones slaughtering defenseless people overseas with total impunity is completely outrageous to say the least!!! Where is the justice in this ignominy? Like JFK once said, life is not fair!!!

    February 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  10. grooveclubhouse

    This guy will be going away for a very long time and he will be lucky to get that. In reality, despite how much he may be glorified by things like wikileaks, he is a traitor to the US. Traitors in time of war are normally sentenced to death.

    February 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Spoken like a true pea brained, hateful Tea Partier. Quite the contrary, Pfc Bradley Manning deserves a medal for what he did, far more than those who mercilessly slaughtered people who were Taliban or thought to be so! These senseless rants here are starting to get old!

      February 28, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Reply
      • Kerry

        Thank you John, I fully agree. Unfortunately, we're going to see a lot more of these ignorant, Tea Party, anti-Manning rants before it's over. If these people want to display their ignorance on this web page, let them!

        February 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • SecretSquirrel

        John, despite your whining manning will still be imprisoned (or, if justice is served, executed). We win.

        February 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • OO7°``

        Hey Jack(a ss) you sound like a traitor yourself. Rather than supporting the people that keep your a ss from getting killed by terrorist, you condemn them. Perhaps you should be deported to Mali.

        March 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Sean OGA

      John he put American lives at risk and you want to give him a medal? What have you done for our country other than pay your taxes and complain?

      February 28, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Reply
      • George Patton-2

        Sean, are you trying to say that Barack Obama and G.W. Bush didn't? It was these clowns that got us into these obscene wars, not Bradley Manning!!! We have no right to be in Iraq or Afghanistan!

        February 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • SecretSquirrel

        We have every right to be in Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever else we deem necessary. Welcome to the international relations theory of realism. As a side note, I appreciate the irony of your handle George Patton.

        February 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
      • George Patton-2

        Good grief SecretSquirrel, have you no sense of morality? From a moral point of view, we have no right to invade another country in order to exploit it's natural resources. Besides, would you honestly say that an intruder had a right to break into your house at 2:00 AM? I doubt that very much!!!

        March 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Corald

      If it's a US that's going to gun down innocent noncombatants from a helicopter for the sport of the thing, maybe it's time we re-evaluated our standards of moral behavior.

      March 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  11. Clinton

    Traitors get the firing squad, he is a traitor to this nation no question. Carry out the execution ASAP.

    February 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Reply
    • Corald

      The only thing he betrayed was military corruption. Go screw.

      March 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  12. Tembisa

    Reblogged this on World Chaos.

    February 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  13. SecretSquirrel


    February 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  14. some guy

    Where is the federal Whistle blower protection law.

    February 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Reply
    • OO7°``

      I do not think that applies to him because he is in the armed forces. That law would apply to civilians working for the government.

      March 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Reply

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