A whistleblower who uncovered evidence of Australian war crimes in Afghanistan pleaded guilty on Friday to leaking top secret military information to journalists. According to The Independent, David McBride admitted guilt after a judge refused to let him tell a jury that although he broke the law, he fulfilled a public interest. He later addressed reporters outside the courtroom, saying, “I stand tall, and I believe I did my duty… and I see this as the beginning of a better Australia.” The leak led to the development of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s The Afghan Files, a 2017 investigative series that documented the killings of 39 Afghans between 2005 and 2016. The BBC reported that supporters of McBride raised concerns that Australia’s whistleblower protections were not sufficient and that he should have been pardoned. McBride will be sentenced early next year.