Fort Meade: US Army soldier Bradley Manning said today that he intends to plead guilty to ten of the 22 charges levelled against him after the leak of a vast trove of official secrets to WikiLeaks.
But the 25-year-old private will deny the most serious of the allegations, including that his passing of a collection of classified US government files to the whistle-blower site amounted to collusion with America's enemies.
"I believe that if the general public ... had access to the information ... this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general," Manning, dressed in full military uniform, testified calmly.
Manning’s plea offer was presented to a military tribunal at Fort Meade in Maryland by his lawyer David Coombs, and the young soldier confirmed to the court that he understood the implications of his offer.
Manning was to read out a 35-page statement of his own, giving his account of his leak of diplomatic cables and other classified material linked to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Guantanamo Bay detention center.