Bradley Manning Apologizes: "I'm Sorry I Hurt the United States"S

On the last day of his sentencing hearing, Bradley Manning, the Army private convicted of espionage last month, apologized for leaking classified material to WikiLeaks, telling the court that his actions "hurt the United States."

“I'm sorry I hurt people,” he said, according to the New York Times. “I'm sorry that I hurt the United States. At the time of the decision, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues, issues that are ongoing.”

Those issues are related to Manning's sexuality and gender identity, about which an Army psychologist testified earlier Wednesday. From CBS News:

Manning eventually came out to Capt. Michael Worsley and emailed the therapist a photo of himself wearing a wig of long, blond hair and lipstick. The photo was attached to a letter titled "My problem," in which Manning describes his issues with gender identity and his hope that a military career would "get rid of it."

Later in his statement, Manning took full responsibility for his actions.

Although they have caused me considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions. I understood what I was doing and the decisions I made. However, I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those effects are clearer to me now through both self-reflection during my confinement in its various forms and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I have seen here.

I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was gonna help people, not hurt people. The last few years have been a learning experience. I look back at my decisions and wonder, 'How on earth could I, a junior analyst, possibly believe I could change the world for the better over the decisions of those with the proper authority?

The statement was part of the defense team's effort to persuade the judge, Col. Denise R. Lind, to give Manning a reduced sentence. He faces up to 90 years in prison.

A transcript of Manning's full statement is posted below:

First your Honor. I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry. I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I am sorry that it hurt the United States. At the time of my decisions, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues— issues that are ongoing and they are continuing to affect me.

Although they have caused me considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions. I understood what I was doing and the decisions I made. However, I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those effects are clearer to me now through both self-reflection during my confinement in its various forms and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I have seen here.

I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was gonna help people, not hurt people. The last few years have been a learning experience. I look back at my decisions and wonder, 'How on earth could I, a junior analyst, possibly believe I could change the world for the better over the decisions of those with the proper authority?'

In retrospect I should have worked more aggressively inside the system as we discussed during the Providence Statement and had options and I should have used these options. Unfortunately, I can't go back and change things. I can only go forward. i want to go forward. Before I can do that though, I understand that I must pay a price for my decisions and actions.

Once I pay that price, I hope to one day live in the manner I haven't been able to in the past. I want to be a better person— to go to college— to get a degree— and to have a meaningful relationship with my sister's family and my family.

I want to be a positive influence in their lives, just as my aunt Deborah has been to me. I have flaws and issues that I have to deal with, but I know that I can and will be a better person. I hope you can give me the opportunity to prove— not through words, but through conduct— that I am a good person, and that I can return to a productive place in society.

Thank you, your Honor.

[Image via AP]