British Papers : US Soldier is Prime Suspect in Latest Wikileaks Disclosure

The Telegraph and The Daily Mail say the prime suspect in the latest Wikileaks document disclsoures, including the state department cables leaked today is Bradley Manning, a 23 year old U.S. soldier from Oklahoma who is now in a jail cell at Quantico, VA. Manning spent part of his childhood in the UK, in Wales.

Bradley Manning, 23, enlisted in the US Army in 2007 and became an intelligence analyst in Iraq, sifting through classified information at Forward Operating Base Hammer, 40 miles east of Baghdad....After arriving in Iraq the young soldier, who is gay, complained of feeling socially "isolated" in the military.

His friends describe him as a loner and computer geek. [More...]

He was arrested in June on charges of "transferring classified data" and "delivering national defense information to an unauthorised source," resulting from the leak of a video to Wikileaks, and is facing up to 52 years in prison if convicted in that case:

Pfc Manning, who was assigned to a support battalion with the U.S. 10th Mountain Division in Iraq, has been charged with 'transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system' and 'communicating, transmitting and delivering national defence information to an unauthorized source'.

According to the Telegraph:

...he spent his time looking through classified information for up to 14 hours a day, he is believed to have become increasingly disillusioned by US foreign policy, once describing "military intelligence" as an "oxymoron". Manning is said to have tracked down and communicated with Adrian Lamo, a well known former computer hacker in the US, who he thought would help him get information out. But Lamo later alerted the US authorities and provided them with a series of online exchanges between the two men.

I wonder if it's typical for a 23 year old to get such high clearance:

Manning's clearance would have given him access to the Secret internet Protocol Router Network used by US military personnel, civilian employees and private contractors. However, investigators are trying to establish whether he had help, both from inside the military, and from civilians.

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    I think people are missing the broader (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by observed on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 07:05:10 AM EST
    picture, which is that if Bradley Manning did it, someone else will be able to do it more easily again, in the future.
    The public has lost almost all of its privacy rights in the last few years as the government uses more and more electronic resources to keep tabs on us. Perhaps it will go both ways, and as a tradeoff, a greedy, tyrannical government finds itself unable to hold on to its electronic secrets.

    Described as ...a loner. (4.67 / 3) (#8)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 08:15:42 AM EST
    An old-fashioned code word, and sounds like part of the demonization.

    52 years? (4.50 / 2) (#2)
    by hornplayer on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:46:15 AM EST
    It seems excessive and scary to me that the government could put this young man away until he is 75 for choosing to leak classified information.  How is punishment or rehabilitation applicable in a crime like this?  Isn't the person just as unable to repeat the offense whether they are in jail or not?  If Pfc. Manning is found guilty, is he likely to face such a stiff prison sentence?

    I'd really appreciate some answers on this...

    Deterrence (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:53:25 AM EST
    And from what I gather, not obviously unwarranted.

    I wonder what the punishment would be... (none / 0) (#4)
    by EL seattle on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 02:56:43 AM EST
    .. for someone who leaked Social Security file information for a few thousand people without their permission?  I'd guess that there are a lot of small pieces of personal information in some of these files.  Is "the expectation of privacy" something that comes into play in lawsuits that involve the public release of things like this?  

    He was a soldier (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:18:02 AM EST
    and a military intelligence soldier at that.  He was well versed in knowing that what he was doing was treason.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#25)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:41:11 PM EST
    the Ellsburg comparision disturbs me- the cases are significantly different in many, many aspects- ranging from recency and impact (the Pentagon Papers were essentially a historical record/analysis and as such lacked the sorts of details likely to lead to violent retribution that the military leaks contained) to motivation- (Ellsburg only leaked after all other avenues of dissent from his superiors to congressional hearings were blocked; Manning according to both sides leaked largely due to being disgruntled-- hence the wideranging nature of his leaks he essentially gave up everything he could).

    Its kind of like (none / 0) (#26)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:43:34 PM EST
    how Members of the criminal justice system should be (though often arent) held to a higher standard of behavior than the general public-- they know the laws explicitly and thus are familiar with the consequences for violating said laws.

    Simple (none / 0) (#24)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:36:35 PM EST
    even if every single document he leaked only carries a minor penalty- say one day in jail and a $50 fine- he'd be imprisoned for the majority of his life (if not longer) and fined millions (if not billions) of dollars simply due to the sheer number of documents he released. And frankly while I sympathize with the guy- I can't see anyway around that- otherwise once someone decided to leak something they may as well keep leaking everything whenever they thought it was politically smart/morally justifiable/etc to do so because hey- its all one leak right?

    Well (none / 0) (#27)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:46:56 PM EST
    if his actions were civil disobedience rather than simply a disgruntled soldier leaking everything he could get his hands on in order to lash out at the country/his superiors- then he should readily accept the punishment he's given assuming said punishment doesn't deviate from the norm-- accepting responsibility for the consequnces of ones actions has been a cornerstone of CO since Thoreau- Gandhi, King, etc all noted that committing acts of CO then ducking the price delegitamized the intial action.

    Oxymoron? (4.00 / 1) (#1)
    by kdm251 on Sun Nov 28, 2010 at 11:35:18 PM EST
    Everyone calls military intelligence an oxymoron, that statement doesn't seem to damming.

    In my opinion (3.25 / 4) (#5)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 05:51:11 AM EST
    if he is found guilty the penalty should be death.

    Now I know that what I am saying will offend many of you on this blog, but you should understand that I spent 31 years on active duty, and still work for the Navy and Marines several times each year.  I get a bad taste and a sick stomach when I hear from friends what this single individual has brought about.

    What he has done is to basically spy for the enemy during war and he has aided and abetted the enemy and has endangered many good men and women fighting for their countries, the US, the UK, Afghanistan, Iraq, and many others.  

    The US is not perfect but it is still mankind's best chance to keep this good earth safe.

    The US is killing more people than (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by observed on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 06:00:27 AM EST
    the rest of the major powers-- probably combined---and that has been the case for years.
    One can be patriotic, but it has to be with clear eyes. We are a nation with an empire, not a nation which spreads freedom.

    Be that as it may, I didn't know that Julian Assange is the enemy.


    the enemy?.... the UN officials? (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 08:43:39 AM EST
    Allies?   It seems to me that this is more of a national embarrassment than national security issue. Sensitive diplomatic cables deployed that have the security, essentially, of email or a post card.

    Diplomats whose reports are based on being recognized for cleverness, rather than analysis (e.g. Medvedev is Robin to Putin's Batman). The use of  the foreign service for intelligence gathering, or even businessmen and tourists, is not news.

    However, the leaks do bring some detail to what we guessed (e.g. An Afghan official took a "substantial" amount of cash out of the country to UAE --detail: substantial equals $52 million.)

    The biggest issue, from my perspective, is the de-idealization of the workings of the government that may still exist to be supplanted by the realization that  our country is run by human beings with all the frailties of the species. Even though we know of  mistakes that have become glaringly apparent (e.g. Saddam has WMD and we know exactly where they are), we still think that there must be a lot we do not know that our officials know so we yield to their better knowledge and judgment.  We march along with, often, false confidence and  misplaced patriotic fervor.


    "Your worst enemy... (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 08:53:45 AM EST
    could be your best friend, and your best friend your worst enemy." - Bob Marley

    If I got enemies in this world, I am fairly confident this soldier and Assange ain't among them.  The Pentagon, otoh...


    Hes not a good person (2.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:53:45 PM EST
    but hes not "the enemy" that said if you don't see how making controlled information availible to all is an irresponsible and frankly dangerous act I don't know what to tell you. Frankly, I don't anyone, even Mr. Assange practices the kind of pure honesty he seems to expect of governments.

    So how do you know... (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by sj on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 01:10:09 PM EST
    ... that he's "not a good person"?

    Besides the apparent lack of concern (1.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 02:52:02 PM EST
    for the impact of his various leaks, and the rape accusations, I guess I'd point to his interview on Colbert where he admitted that he and his staff edit the information leaked in order to increase the sensationalism at the expense of the truth.

    Libel (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Andreas on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 03:20:40 PM EST
    The "rape accusations" are an invention by certain media (most if not all of them have supported the genocidal Iraq war and defended the George Walker Bush torture-regime). For some background see this article published by the WSWS:

    Sweden issues international arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Assange

    "Socraticsilence" then states:

    I guess I'd point to his interview on Colbert where he admitted that he and his staff edit the information leaked in order to increase the sensationalism at the expense of the truth.

    In my opinion this statement amounts to libel.


    Really (none / 0) (#45)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 10:05:49 AM EST
    there was a piece in the interview where he specifically stated that he assured all leakers that there information would be edited for "maximum damage" in this case he was referring specifically to the heavily edited version of the guntape video that was released in early 2010- given this statement I don't how what I said was an inaccurate summarization of Assange's remarks.

    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by sj on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 03:44:36 PM EST
    "apparent" lack of concern and "rape accusations".  That's a pretty low standard.  

    Not to mention your assertion that "pure" honesty is what he is "demanding".  A lot of assumptions in the justification for your initial judgement, my friend.

    Frankly, for my part, some honesty from the feds would be wonderfully refreshing.


    What he has done... (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Dadler on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 06:27:01 AM EST
    ...is tell the American people the truth that their wretched, corrupt, lying, murdering government won't. Wake up and act like a free American. If you want your government to treat you like a child and commit mass murder in your name while you keep your head in the sand, then fine, but understand I and millions of others don't. To call for this kid's execution is as tyrannical and evil as all the murders of innocents we have committed in our misguided and utterly useless wars.  You want him dead, then you go kill him.

    If we are the best hope for the world, a nation now so corrupted to the core that we cannot even face the depth of it, well, then you and I have a massive difference that will NEVER be able to be reconciled.


    Out of curiousity (3.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:54:56 PM EST
    do you think oaths or promises, laws or morals mean anything because if you do, its hard to understand how you wouldn't see that Manning is a criminal.

    "Spying for the enemy?" (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 11:53:58 AM EST
    I could be wrong, but, when you spy for the enemy, you don't usually make the fruits of your labor public, do you?  

    Unless you think we're the enemy - you know, the good citizens of the USA - in which case, I think those involved in revealing so much of what we suspected should be lauded for their actions.

    As one of those good citizens, I have to tell you that I feel my life - my private life, my way of life, the freedoms I hold dear, the foundations of this democracy - has been under attack for far too long, by people at high levels of government who think they owe me no explanation for what they do, other than, if I don't let them do whatever it is they're doing or want to do, "the terrorists" will get us!  I have far less concern about "terrorists" that the FBI spends months grooming, so that they can turn around and "catch" them and expose plots they helped plan, than I do in a government that regards my rights and my freedoms as expendable.

    If there is anything being jeopardized here, it isn't military operations - there's been absolutely no anecdotal or actual evidence that I am aware of that any operation has been compromised, or that anyone has lost his or her life over what Wikileaks has published.  No, what's been jeopardized is the freedom with which the government has been able to play fast and loose with things they were never supposed to have the power and authority to hide behind.  Oh, and it's wreaking havoc on our vaunted reputation as the greatest democracy in the world, I think - it's kind of hard to preach to others what you aren't willing to practice yourself, isn't it?

    I get that as a member of the military, you feel a code of honor has been breached, but when does that code trump the much larger principles and ideals that define our freedoms?  In my mind, I find it much more disturbing when good men (or women) do nothing, and then hide behind a code of honor or an oath of allegiance to justify it.


    I agree (none / 0) (#29)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:50:43 PM EST
    or would agree if that was the case here- this guy didn't "disobey an illegal order" or expose information to help people- he was angry and leaked any and all the information he could get his hands on- this is less the guy who leaks that his companies product is dangerous and more the guy who got passed over for a promotion and so he gave the press all of said companies trade secrets.

    Your post... (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Romberry on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 01:38:03 PM EST
    ...strikes me as something that comes from the populace being propagandized right of their minds.

    What is it that you think Bradley Manning has wrought? Manning hasn't spied for the enemy. Manning has simply opened the window and let the sunshine in. And sunshine is the best disinfectant.

    BTW, I'm a veteran as well. I have no idea what I should "understand" your 31 years of service any more than anyone should understand my service which led to a year (literally) in the VA and permanent disability. If anything, I'm of the opinion that those immersed into that culture the most deeply are the least qualified to talk about it objectively. It took me years away before I was able to step back and re-evaluate. Regardless, your service or my service is just not relevant to this particular discussion.

    You think Manning is deserving of execution. I think he's a patriot in the highest sense of the word.


    Thank you for your insights. (none / 0) (#43)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 07:28:37 PM EST
    If this is all him (4.25 / 4) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:16:48 AM EST
    It is highly likely that he will at least brush up against the possibility of being put to death.  This is sadly an enormous act of treason, and I can't really be upset about what happened to Valerie Plame and think this is okay in the same breath.

    It is highly unlikely that Cheney (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:23:29 AM EST
    will brush up against the possibility of being put to death for his role in the Valerie Plame case or due time.  

    True (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:30:38 AM EST
    but who's fault is that?  And just because one old soulless blackhearted slob got away, should everyone else now who commits in my face acts of treason?

    He did get investigated though too (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:32:00 AM EST
    It was our leaders who gave him a pass.

    Come on Tracy, get with the (none / 0) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:35:05 AM EST
    program:  we look forward, not backward.

    Unless you are a peon (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:42:07 AM EST
    Then we'll look right at you :)  It is unjust when held to that standard.  I really can't imagine what Manning was thinking though if this is all from him.

    I am guessing (none / 0) (#18)
    by dissenter on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 11:10:51 AM EST
    He was manipulated by Julien Assange and did a stupid, stupid thing. Having said that, you are right...it is treason. Had I done this, I would be going to jail for a long, long time. Even the lowest level moron knows leaking diplomatic cables is against the law.

    This is a disaster on so many levels. For those that think Assange is some kind of hero, I wonder if you will be saying the same thing if nukes start flying into S Korea. This isn't "sunshine" or the "Pentagon Papers." This is a train wreck that jeopardizes diplomatic missions all over the world and reduces our ability to prevent disasters through diplomacy. Further, I can't find one public interest that has been served by this. It won't stop the wars. It won't increase stability. It will lead to more war, not less.

    Assange's 15 minutes are up. The Aussies should cancel his passport and ask Europe to send him to the US to face trial on espionage.


    If missiles start flying in South Korea (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 11:23:47 AM EST
    it, in my view, is more likely to be from Cold War-like brinksmanship and  a joint South Korean/US military match thrown into a  real-time tinderbox.

    I thought this site is (none / 0) (#41)
    by nyrias on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 04:13:20 PM EST
    all for "innocent until proven guilty"? Is Chenney convicted beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

    I suppose you can make exception to the "innocent until proven guilty" principle. I wouldn't be surprised to find hypocrites on the Internet.

    Plus, the other poster is right. Someone else committing the same crime is no excuse. You should call for doubling the effort to "get" chenney and not using this as an excuse for others to disclose classified information.


    Not for lack of trying (none / 0) (#28)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:48:17 PM EST
    Fitzgerald would have gone after Cheney if Libby had rolled, when he didn't he was charged as heavily as possible.

    Cheney and Libby were (none / 0) (#38)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 03:28:24 PM EST
    banking on a pardon--no chance of rolling.  Of course, they forgot they were dealing with George Bush, who as Texas Governor, made his position on pardons abundantly clear. Besides, the trail apparently did not lead directly to him.  So, Cheney and Scooter had to accept a commutation of the 30-month jail time component of his sentence. And, that worked although Cheney is still sore about it all, according to Bush.

    It's not treason. He is not working (none / 0) (#36)
    by observed on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 03:12:00 PM EST
    for an enemy. If anything, he is working for an ill-informed Western public.
    By the way, I am sure there were just as many calls for Ellsbergs death after the Pentagon Papers were published.

    Equating the exposure of diplomatic cables (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by shoephone on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 03:55:21 PM EST
    with the Pentagon Papers is, in a word, ridiculous.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#23)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:33:38 PM EST
    life in prison seems harsh enough- I'd reserve death in information dissemination cases for intentionally malioucious leaks/ giving information to another government- its a question of intent though admittedly the impact is basically the same.

    for once .. i agree (none / 0) (#42)
    by nyrias on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 04:14:48 PM EST
    This does NOT warrant death. I reserve that for violent criminals (but use information to kill counts as one .. he does not in this case).

    Putting this guy, if proven guilty, in prison a long long time is quite enough.


    From what I hear (none / 0) (#21)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:30:20 PM EST
    post-9/11 information sharing became the norm as the alternative had to high a cost- unfortunately this may cease to be the case and information may now be carefully controlled in response to this jackasses actions (seriously, its one thing to be Ellsburg, or hell to simply leak redacted versions of the military info leaked earlier this year- but this stuff, along with the actual names of sources in his previous leak- is pointless it serves now purpose other than harming people).

    Oh (none / 0) (#22)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:31:51 PM EST
    and does anyone know the exact nature of classification laws- I mean would this guy be facing a single count of leaking controlled information or is his life basically over (because even if he served only 1 day per leaked document he'd essentially be imprisoned for the rest of his life).

    In reference to his clearance (none / 0) (#34)
    by republicratitarian on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 02:38:10 PM EST
    Any service member in a particular career field with a need to know would have the usual background check and have a clearance issued. Usually Secret, but in the Military Intelligence field it could be higher, not sure. Age wouldn't play a factor. If you have a need to access the SIPRNET then you would have to have a clearance. Rank and age play no factor. Only need to know or a need to access information or hardware.

    The real question would be how he had access to those documents on the SIPRNET. I don't know the specifics about his unit or job, but I can't see how he should have had access to these types of documents on a network especially at a forward operating base.

    I wonder if he had help in getting access to the documents from someone else like a system administrator or civilian contractor.

    it's garbageman (none / 0) (#46)
    by garbageman on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 10:08:47 PM EST
    this person has been under arrest since june,supposedly for the leaks about afghanistan.It amazes me that the government has had him since then,and I would assume that they would know all the info that he had taken,but they made no effort to control this situation.Are they using him as a scapegoat?I believe the true issue is that security is so lax in our government that this is even possible.They should give this kid a medal for bringing to everyones attention how our government is truly failing us.