Bradley Manning: I’m sorry that the information I sent to Wikileaks hurt US interests

Intelligence analyst breaks silence during sentencing hearing at his court martial

Washington

After months of silence, convicted WikiLeaker Bradley Manning took the stand during his sentencing hearing yesterday, apologising for the turmoil his actions had caused and for the damage they had inflicted on the interests of the United States.

“I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that it hurt the United States,” the 25-year-old army private and former intelligence analyst told his court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland. Initially he had contended that he wanted to expose wrongdoing and provoke public debate. Yesterday however, he was soft spoken and apparently remorseful, insisting he did not at the time appreciate the broader effects of what he did, or “how I, a junior analyst, could bring about some of the changes I was seeking”.

The 700,000 documents – mainly from the Pentagon and State Department – that Manning downloaded in January 2010 while based in Iraq and sent to WikiLeaks, represent the biggest ever leak of  classified government information in US history. Last month he was convicted of breaching the US Espionage Act and various other offences and could face up to 90 years in jail.

His words yesterday, his first of substance since the trial began, came as an unsworn statement, meaning that he cannot be cross-examined by military prosecutors, although they will be able to deliver a formal rebuttal later in the hearing. A sentence will not be handed down until next week at the earliest.

Manning’s testimony came after defence lawyers had sought to show that his superior officers had ignored signs that his mental health was deteriorating, despite repeated instances of erratic behaviour. According to defence witnesses, he would lapse into “catatonic” behaviour, or react furiously to the most minor complaint about his conduct. On another occasion he sent a supervisor a photo of himself dressed as a woman.

Before Manning took the stand, an army psychologist testified yesterday that he felt isolated because he was wrestling with his gender identity. The stress Manning had felt from his job as a low-level intelligence analyst was made worse by being in the “hyper masculine environment” of a combat zone, said Captain Michael Worsley, who treated Manning from December 2009 to May 2010 during his deployment in Iraq.

Eventually, Captain Worsley  continued, he received an email from Manning showing him dressed as a woman, wearing a blonde wig and lipstick. The photo was attached to a letter titled “My problem,” in which Manning described his confusion over his gender, and his hope that a military career would “get rid of it.”

Worsley told the court martial that the private had “little to no support base,” in his unit, which was already understaffed at the time. “With no coping skills, the pressure would have been incredible.”

During the first phase of the court-martial, prosecutors argued that Manning was an arrogant and soldier who did what he did in the full knowledge that the documents would become known to al-Q’aida militants and thus harm the US. He is expected to receive a lengthy jail term, though not he effective life imprisonment the prosecution is seeking.After months of silence, convicted WikiLeaker Bradley Manning took the stand during his sentencing hearing yesterday, apologising for the turmoil his actions had caused and for the damage they had inflicted on the interests of the United States.

“I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that it hurt the United States,” the 25-year-old army private and former intelligence analyst told his court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland. Initially he had contended that he wanted to expose wrongdoing and provoke public debate. Yesterday however, he was soft spoken and apparently remorseful, insisting he did not at the time appreciate the broader effects of what he did, or “how I, a junior analyst, could bring about some of the changes I was seeking”.

The 700,000 documents – mainly from the Pentagon and State Department – that Manning downloaded in January 2010 while based in Iraq and sent to WikiLeaks, represent the biggest ever leak of  classified government information in US history. Last month he was convicted of breaching the US Espionage Act and various other offences and could face up to 90 years in jail.

His words yesterday, his first of substance since the trial began, came as an unsworn statement, meaning that he cannot be cross-examined by military prosecutors, although they will be able to deliver a formal rebuttal later in the hearing. A sentence will not be handed down until next week at the earliest.

Manning’s testimony came after defence lawyers had sought to show that his superior officers had ignored signs that his mental health was deteriorating, despite repeated instances of erratic behaviour. According to defence witnesses, he would lapse into “catatonic” behaviour, or react furiously to the most minor complaint about his conduct. On another occasion he sent a supervisor a photo of himself dressed as a woman.

Before Manning took the stand, an army psychologist testified yesterday that he felt isolated because he was wrestling with his gender identity. The stress Manning had felt from his job as a low-level intelligence analyst was made worse by being in the “hyper masculine environment” of a combat zone, said Captain Michael Worsley, who treated Manning from December 2009 to May 2010 during his deployment in Iraq.

Eventually, Captain Worsley  continued, he received an email from Manning showing him dressed as a woman, wearing a blonde wig and lipstick. The photo was attached to a letter titled “My problem,” in which Manning described his confusion over his gender, and his hope that a military career would “get rid of it.”

Worsley told the court martial that the private had “little to no support base,” in his unit, which was already understaffed at the time. “With no coping skills, the pressure would have been incredible.”

During the first phase of the court-martial, prosecutors argued that Manning was an arrogant and soldier who did what he did in the full knowledge that the documents would become known to al-Q’aida militants and thus harm the US. He is expected to receive a lengthy jail term, though not he effective life imprisonment the prosecution is seeking.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Trainer / IT Trainer

£30 to £32k : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Trainer / IT Trainer to join an a...

Recruitment Genius: Fence Installer - Commercial

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This privately owned Fencing Co...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £22,000

£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you answer yes, this company...

Recruitment Genius: Project / Account Manager and IT Support

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leader in Online Pro...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'