U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning on Thursday pleaded guilty to leaking classified material to the public, but pleaded not guilty to aiding the enemy, a charge that carries much heavier penalties.
Manning, the alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower, plead guilty to unauthorized possession and willful communication of classified material to unauthorized persons.
In a courtroom statement, Manning told military judge Denise Lind that he “believed and still believe these are some of the most important documents of our time,” and that he “only wanted documents I was absolutely sure wouldn’t cause harm to the United States.”
Manning claimed that “No one from WikiLeaks pressured me” to leak the material, and in fact that he wanted to give the documents to The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Reuters, but they were all uninterested in what he had to offer.