Bradley Manning tried to give his story to numerous major media outlets including the Washington Post, New York Times and Politico before turning over hundreds of sensitive documents to Wikileaks, he testified on Thursday. The testimony came as Manning pleaded guilty to some of the lesser charges against him (he pleaded not guilty to the most serious charge of aiding the enemy) in a military court. The court hearing was also the first time he has admitted to stealing the secret files, though there has been little debate that he did so since shortly after his arrest.
“I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan was a target that needed to be engaged and neutralised but people struggling to live in the pressure cooker of asymmetric warfare,” the 25-year-old told a military court according to The Telegraph.
Manning, a US Army intelligence officer, has been held for more than 1,000 days in prison since being arrested and accused of being source for Wikileaks. His case has become a landmark case in the debate over government transparency vs. national security and a rallying point for Wikileaks and its supporters. If convicted of aiding the enemy, he faces life in prison.