Home  Merrimack Valley

February 28. 2013 8:56PM

Soldier pleads guilty to misusing classified data in WikiLeaks case

FORT MEADE, Md. -The U.S. Army private accused of providing secret documents to the WikiLeaks website pleaded guilty on Thursday to misusing classified material he felt "should become public," but denied the top charge of aiding the enemy.

Private First Class Bradley Manning, 25, entered the pleas prior to his court martial, which is set to begin on June 3, in a case that centers on the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history.

Military judge Colonel Denise Lind accepted the guilty pleas late in the afternoon. Manning pleaded guilty to a series of 10 lesser charges that he misused classified information and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for those offenses.

"I believe that if the general public ... had access to the information ... this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general," Manning, dressed in full military uniform, testified calmly.

Reading from a 35-page statement as he remained seated next to his lawyers, the short, slight private described his feelings after he submitted the secret information to WikiLeaks.

"I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience," said Manning, who spoke under oath for more than an hour.

"This was the type of information... should become public," he said.

At the hearing, through his attorney Manning pleaded not guilty to the most serious charge, of aiding the enemy.

Manning, who has been jailed at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia for more than 1,000 days, could face life imprisonment if convicted of that charge at his June trial.

Under a ruling last month by Lind, Manning would have any sentence reduced by 112 days to compensate for the markedly harsh treatment he received during his confinement. While at Quantico, Manning was placed in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day with guards checking on him every few minutes.

Manning admitted to unauthorized possession and willful communication of classified information from the Combined Information Data Network Exchange Iraq and the Combined Information Data Network Exchange Afghanistan, two military databases. He called the two tables of documents he sent to WikiLeaks "two of most significant documents of our time."

He also admitted to misuse of documents from the U.S. Southern Command pertaining to Guantanamo Bay, a memo from the United States Army Intelligence Center, and records from a military operation in Farah province in Afghanistan.

One of the classified U.S. military videos he said he leaked showed the 2007 attack by Apache helicopters that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff, photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his assistant and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40.

Manning, an Army intelligence officer, testified that he first tried to give the information to his "local paper," the Washington Post, but when a journalist there was not interested he left a message at The New York Times, which never returned his call. He then planned to visit the offices of Politico, but when a winter storm cancelled his plans, he turned to WikiLeaks.


 New Hampshire Events Calendar
  

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Merrimack Valley
Arts & Entertainment
Family, Community and Culture
Outdoors, Sports and Recreation

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!

Press Releases

Proposed Hike Safe Card Rule Hearing Set for September 8

READER COMMENTS: 0

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold a public hearing on proposed rules to establish a voluntary hike safe card on Monday, September 8, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the N.H. Fish and Game...

Mr. Mac's announces a new fundraiser program

READER COMMENTS: 0

Mr. Mac's Macaroni and Cheese in Manchester, NH has launched a new program to help give back to the surrounding communities. Their new Youth Outreach Program provides youth organizations the...

0 Loeb School Seeks 1st Amendment Award Nominees

0 Loeb School offers Public Speaking Workshop Sept 13th

0 Conservation Officers and OHRV Safety Instructor Honored

0 Visit Fish and Game at the Fairs

0 New Black Eagle Jazz Band Performs in New London September 13

0 Still Openings in Barry Camp Wild Game Culinary Adventure

0 Loeb School offers Public Speaking Workshop Sept 13th

0 Loeb School offers free Fall Classes