Bradley Manning, after being convicted last month of a long list of crimes that could earn him up to 90 years of prison time, has apologized and expressed regret for leaking classified data to Wikileaks. The apologies were made during testimony for which he would not be cross-examined by prosecutors.
Some excepts from The Guardian‘s report:
“I am sorry for unintended consequence of my actions. When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people,”
“Although a considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions,” he said. “I understood what I was doing, and decisions I made. However I did not fully appreciate the broader effects of my actions.
“Those factors are clear to me now, through both self-refection during my confinement in various forms, and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I have seen here.
“I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions,” he continued. “When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people.”
The apology will disappoint Manning’s thousands of supporters around the world, who believe he undertook a courageous act of whistleblowing because his conscience demanded it.
Manning has achieved folk-hero status in some quarters, as the first data mass leaker of his kind, comparable to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency who recently disclosed documents about US surveillance activities.
Some of his supporters at the courthouse looked forlorn and were in tears – but pointed out he was facing almost 100 years in prison and had to do everything to seek a reduction in his punishment.
Manning has been jailed since May 2010. His sentencing is scheduled for next week.