Pfc. Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to leaking thousands of pages of classified documents and videos to the whistle-blowing WikiLeaks website.
The former US intelligence analyst, who was previously posted outside of Baghdad, told a pre-trial military hearing he transferred the controversial documents because he believed the American people had a right to know the "true costs of war."
In particular, said Manning, he was sickened by the alleged "bloodlust" of a helicopter crew involved in an attack on civilians in Baghdad that included Reuters correspondents and children.
"[These were] among the more significant documents of our time revealing the true costs of war.
We were obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and ignoring goals and missions," Manning explained.
"I believed if the public, particularly the American public, could see this it could spark a debate on the military and our foreign policy in general [that] might cause society to reconsider the need to engage in counter-terrorism while ignoring the human situation of the people we engaged with every day."
Manning also pleaded guilty to 11 additional charges, each of which carry a maximum two-year sentence each. However, Manning entered a "not guilty" plea in response to accusations that he aided the enemy, which included Al Qaeda.
Manning's official military trial is slated to kick off on June 3.