Bradley Manning Takes Responsibility

03.12.13 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

At an open hearing on February 28, Pfc. Bradley Manning said that he was responsible for providing U.S. government documents to the WikiLeaks website, including a large collection of U.S. State Department cables, a video of a brutal U.S. Army helicopter attack in Baghdad, and other records.

“The decisions that I made to send documents and information to the WLO [WikiLeaks Organization] and website were my own decisions, and I take full responsibility for my actions,” he told the military court.

The Army belatedly released a redacted copy of Pfc. Manning’s statement yesterday. [Correction: The redacted statement was released by Manning’s defense counsel, David E. Coombs.] (An unofficial version had been privately transcribed by Alexa O’Brien soon after the hearing.)

The Freedom of the Press Foundation obtained an audio recording of the statement, which it released online.

Manning eloquently expressed his motivations for the unauthorized disclosures, including the need to expose corruption and deception in the conduct of diplomacy and military operations. He described the efforts he made to weigh the possible damage that might result from disclosure, and the judgment he made that release of the records was the appropriate step.

But he did not acknowledge that any other individuals had been placed at risk by his actions, nor did he take responsibility for any consequences they might suffer. Taliban leaders said in 2010 that they were scrutinizing the Afghanistan war records published by WikiLeaks and that they would “punish” persons listed in the records who were found to have cooperated with the U.S. military.