U.S. soldier Bradley Manning apologised on Wednesday (August 14) for handing state secrets over to the WikiLeaks website in the biggest breach of classified data in U.S. history.
"I'm sorry I hurt people. I'm sorry that I hurt the United States," the 25-year-old Army private first class told the sentencing phase of his court-martial. "I'm apologising for the unexpected results of my actions. The last three years have been a learning experience for me."
Manning faces up to 90 years in prison for providing more than 700,000 documents, battle videos and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, hurling the pro-transparency website and its founder, Julian Assange, into the world spotlight.
Manning was convicted of 20 charges, including espionage and theft, on July 30. He was found not guilty of the most serious count, aiding the enemy, which carried a life sentence.
A military spokesman said Judge Colonel Denise Lind would most likely sentence Manning next week at the earliest.
Prosecutors argued that Manning was an arrogant soldier who aided al Qaeda militants and harmed the United States with the release of the documents.
His attorneys have countered that the Army ignored his mental health problems and violent outbursts and that computer security at Manning's base was lax. They contended that Manning was naive but well-intentioned and suffering from a sexual identity crisis in Iraq.
Manning, described by his superiors as an Internet expert, faces the prospect of decades of monotonous prison life - with no online access - once he is sentenced.
Presented by Adam Justice