"For the first time, 25-year-old U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning has admitted
to being the source behind the largest leak of state secrets in U.S. history.
More than a thousand days after he was arrested, Manning testified Thursday
before a military court. He said he leaked the classified documents to the whistleblowing
website WikiLeaks in order to show the American public the "true costs of war."
Reading for more than an hour from a 35-page statement, 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." At the pre-trial hearing at Fort
Meade military base in Maryland, Manning pleaded guilty to reduced charges on 10
counts, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. But even if the
judge accepts the plea, prosecutors can still pursue a court-martial on the
remaining 12 charges. The most serious of those is "aiding the enemy" and
carries a possible life sentence. We are joined by Michael Ratner, president
emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a lawyer to Julian Assange
and WikiLeaks. He just returned from attending Manning’s hearing...."