Army Private Bradley Manning pleads guilty in classified info case; says he leaked to: 'Spark a domestic debate'

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/AP

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.

The Army private charged in the WikiLeaks case has offered guilty pleas to 10 of 22 charges against him and a military judge says she'll allow the soldier to read a statement explaining his actions.

Pfc. Bradley Manning would plead guilty to sending hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website. The judge must decide whether to accept the guilty pleas, which could carry a sentence of 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors could still pursue a court-martial on the remaining charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence.

Manning revealed Thursday 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."

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