News Release

Leaked: Audio of Bradley Manning Court Statement on WikiLeaks


Freedom of the Press Foundation today released the full audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. The organization said in a statement: “While unofficial transcripts of this statement are widely available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.”

Ellsberg, who co-founded Freedom of the Press Foundation, just wrote the piece “A Salute to Bradley Manning, Whistleblower, As We Hear His Words for the First Time.” He writes: “Manning faces some of the exact same charges I faced 42 years ago when I leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and 18 other papers. The only difference is I was a civilian, so I could stay out of jail on bond while the trial was going on, and was able to talk to the media throughout. I took responsibility for what I had done on the day of my arrest, and I was able to explain why I did it.

“But thanks to the judge’s rulings in Manning’s case, the public has barely heard anything from Manning at all. No official transcripts of the proceedings are released to the public, and when documents like the judge’s court orders are released, it is weeks after the fact — and only in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“Now I hope the American people can see Manning in a different light. In 1971, I was able to give the media my side of the story, and it is long overdue that Manning is able to do the same. As Manning has now done, I stipulated as to all the facts for which I was accused. And I did that for several reasons, and I suspect that Manning had the same motives.” On “Democracy Now!” this morning, Ellsberg took issue with New York Times columnist Bill Keller’s depiction of events. Ellsberg attacked the Obama administration’s unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers using the Espionage Act.

Timm is co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He said today: “Transparency is vital for an informed public, whether we’re talking about the courtroom, Congress, or the executive branch. We hope this release will shine light on the plight of whistleblowers everywhere.”

Reitman is co-founder and chief operations officer of the group. John Cusack, actor and activist who is also a founder and board member of the organization, said: “Growing up with the living legacy of the Berrigan brothers and fellow board member Daniel Ellsberg, I deeply and profoundly respect the sacrifice made by those heroic individuals who speak their truth no matter what price they may pay. We hope this recording inspires more participation in a broad-based movement to restore and protect the First Amendment.”

Glenn Greenwald (who is on the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation) has a column today featuring audio excerpts of Manning’s statement. Audio is also available via the Huffington Post.