According to reporters at today's military hearing at Fort Meade, after pleading guilty on 10 of 22 charges Bradley Manning indicated during his lengthy statement that he'd attempted to give The New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico the material he eventually gave to Wikileaks. Initial reports from the detailed and somber statement appear to show that some combination of weather, vague offers, and unreturned voicemails led Manning to try Julian Assange instead.
Manning said he talked to person at WaPo who he did not think took him seriously when he described war logs.— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) February 28, 2013
Bradley Manning tried to contact POLITICO to give them war logs. Weather conditions hampered travel to office.— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) February 28, 2013
It's not clear how robust Manning's outreach to the media companies was.
Bradley Manning contacted NYT & left message it was very important. He had information. He left email/Skype address. No response.— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) February 28, 2013
Says he talked in vague terms to a WP reporter, left a msg on NYT voicemail that wasn't returned, decided to send war reports to WL instead— Charlie Savage (@charlie_savage) February 28, 2013
Manning attempt to call NYT =d calling public editor #; got automatically routed to a voicemail that wasnt rtrnd. Not clear reached newsroom— Charlie Savage (@charlie_savage) February 28, 2013
Ultimately, of course, the Times partnered with Wikileaks in the release of a large part of the material.
Update, 1:27 p.m.: The Times tells Gawker's Adrian Chen that they have no record of Manning contacting them.
NYT spokesperson tells me re: Bradley Manning: "We have no record of Manning contacting The Times in advance of Wikileaks."— Adrian Chen (@AdrianChen) February 28, 2013
Update, 4:54 p.m.: Manning's outreach to the The Times occurred during the tenure of the paper's third public editor, Clark Hoyt. Hoyt now works as an editor-at-large for Bloomberg News.
Reached early this afternoon for comment, Hoyt indicated that he'd only heard about Manning having contacted his office a few minutes prior to our speaking, and that he was coordinating a response with the paper. Asked if he remembered any call from Manning, Hoyt replied: "I certainly do not."
In a later conversation, Hoyt was more assertive, stating flatly that he knew of no attempt by Manning to contact him. "I just don't know anything about this," Hoyt said. "I've wracked my memory. I just have no knowledge that he tried to reach me."
Hoyt didn't suggest that there was a standard practice for fielding calls with news tips. After all, he noted, "normal process with the public editor is that people are calling to complain."
Manning also indicated during his statement that Wikileaks didn't pressure him to seek out more documents.
Manning also offered a partial rationale for his actions.
#Manning "Became depressed with the situation we were mired in" in Iraq— Nathan Fuller (@nathanLfuller) February 28, 2013
Manning decided "world would be btr place" if public saw State cables & sensitive ones not in SIPRNet--US might be "embarrassed" but no harm— Charlie Savage (@charlie_savage) February 28, 2013