It turns out one of the journalists or activists attending Bradley Manning’s guilty plea last month was wearing a wire. Despite onerous Army rules prohibiting recording of the Manning hearings at Ft. Meade, Maryland, the recently formed Freedom of the Press Foundationpublished anonymously sourced audio of Manning’s full plea allocution on Tuesday, allowing the world for the first time to hear the crisp voice of the 25-year-old Army private as he details his leaking of thousands of Army field reports and a quarter-million State Department diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.
Manning’s statement in court was the first window into the motives and methods of his leaking since June 2010, when Wired reported on his online chats with Adrian Lamo, the ex-hacker who turned him in.
Redacted text of the court statement was published Monday by Manning’s defense attorney, David Coombs, and transcribed versions have been around for longer. But the audio of Manning reading the statement himself is invaluable.
Manning pleaded guilty on Feb. 28 to a subset of the 22 charges against him — enough to get him up to 20 years in prison. Despite the voluntary plea, the Army announced this month it’s pressing ahead with the remainder of the charges, including a charge of aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence. The court martial is set to begin in June.