Manning apologizes for leaks: ‘I’m sorry that my actions hurt people’

Former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning apologized on Wednesday for providing thousands of pages of classified information to WikiLeaks, saying he never intended to harm American forces or U.S. national security. 

"I’m sorry," Manning told a military court during a sentencing hearing at Fort Meade, Md., according to The New York Times

"I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they 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," he said. 

He said his disclosures to the website were meant to "to help people, not hurt people," but acknowledged the decision was wrong. 

Manning's comments come as Army judge, Col. Denise Lind is weighing whether to put Manning behind bars for the rest of his life. 

Last month, Lind convicted Manning on five counts of espionage and five counts of theft related to his illegal disclosure of classified military, intelligence and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.

The convictions carried a maximum sentence of 136 years in federal prison.

However, she did find Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge he faced, which carried a life sentence. 

Last Tuesday, Lind decided to consolidate the charges rather than sentence Manning on each individual crime. That move reduces the prison time Manning is facing from 136 years to 90. 

Manning could end up doing even less time in prison if Lind opts to have his sentence run concurrently. 

The information that Manning leaked included classified State Department cables between Washington and various diplomatic outposts.

Manning also sent classified video of U.S. air strikes in Iraq where civilians were injured or killed.

He provided a video that showed American attack helicopters firing on foreign journalists in Iraq when a news crew was mistaken for a group of insurgents.

Manning's supporters claim his actions shed much-needed light on flawed American diplomatic, military and intelligence operations.

Military prosecutors argued Manning's disclosures provided vital insight on American military and intelligence operations to groups like al Qaeda and other extremist organizations.