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Bradley Manning Says He Leaked Classified Info To 'Spark A Domestic Debate'

Posted: February 27, 2013

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The Army private is accused of leaking an unprecedented amount of classified materials. He was arrested in 2010 and is awaiting trial.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (right) is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on June 25, 2012. His lawyer announced that Manning, who is accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, had agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (right) is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on June 25, 2012. His lawyer announced that Manning, who is accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, had agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges. Patrick Semansky

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning revealed today that he leaked classified information to WikiLeaks because he wanted to "spark a domestic debate on the role of our military and foreign policy in general."

As The Christian Science Monitor reports, Manning made the statement in a court filing that is part of a pretrial hearing.

Reuters reports that Thursday, Manning is expected to "read aloud from a 35-page statement defending himself in the espionage case."

The Monitor adds:

"Manning, who has only been allowed to speak during the pretrial process once before and who has been kept largely isolated from the press, friends, and supporters during his over 1,000 days in detention since his arrest in Iraq on May 28, 2010, wants to expand on the political motives that moved him to commit his acts.

"Judge Denise Lind has ruled during the pre-trial process for Manning that he will not be allowed to testify as to his own motives for his actions, deeming that irrelevant. That has left Manning, who is charged with aiding the enemy, theft of public records, computer fraud, and 19 other charges, effectively muzzled. According to Nathan Bradley, a spokesman for the support network that is paying for Manning's defense, his offer to plead guilty creates an opportunity for him to speak to Judge Lind in open court tomorrow."

There were two other pieces of news to come out of Manning's pretrial hearing:

-- Tuesday, the military judge refused to dismiss charges against Manning. The AP reported the judge said Manning "has not been denied a speedy trial despite his lengthy pretrial confinement."

-- Today, the Pentagon released 84 pretrial documents, responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. The Guardian reports:

"The 84 documents released by the army include court rulings on defence and government motions, and orders that set the scheduling of the trial that is currently earmarked to begin on 3 June. But the batch constitutes only a tiny portion of the huge mountain of paperwork that has already been generated in the proceedings, including some 500 documents stretching to 30,000 pages."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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