Wikileaks Bradley Manning Trial: Manning Apologizes, WikiLeaks Says Statement 'Extorted' From Him
Army PFC Bradley Manning apologized to a military court during a sentencing hearing on Wednesday, citing issues from his childhood.
Manning was found guilty last month on charges of espionage and theft after he disclosed classified information to Wikileaks. He faces up to 90 years in prison.
Many people have supported Manning as an innocent whistleblower based on the content of the documents he released. Manning's attorney referred to the leak where Manning pointed out a video showing a U.S. helicopter gunship shooting down nine people in Iraq, including two journalists.
Matt Sledge of The Huffington Post quoted one supporter who said, "There's nothing in there that aids the enemy. What's there is verification that our helicopter crews are operating out of bloodlust -- that they are killing needlessly."
Manning's apology came as a surprise to some who expected he would do more to defend himself.
"First, your honor, I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I'm sorry that they hurt the United States.
At the time of my decisions, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues, issues that are ongoing and continuing to affect me," he said. "Although a considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions."
Wikileaks issued a statement following Manning's apology. "Mr. Manning's apology is a statement extorted from him under the overbearing weight of the United States military justice system. It took three years and millions of dollars to extract two minutes of tactical remorse from this brave soldier," the publication said.
Manning's case comes at a time when fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden is in Russia on temporary asylum. Snowden made headlines in May when he leaked top-secret information to the press as he fled to Hong Kong.
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