Everybody Leaks in Washington: What the Bradley Manning Trial Tells us about a Broken System (Schanzer)

DAVID SCHANZER writes at ISLAMiCOMMENTARY

When you cut through the bluster and controversies surrounding the Bradley Manning/Wikileaks case, it raises a difficult unresolved question that has great significance for our democracy: How can the government be held accountable for its national security policies (and mistakes) in a world where there are far too many secrets, and those who disclose those secrets to the press are violating the law?

The easy questions can be easily dismissed. Manning is not a First Amendment hero. He clearly violated his promise to protect the classified information to which he was given access to do his job (and for no other purpose). If he did not like what those documents showed about the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or U.S. foreign policy – Manning was free to become an activist after leaving the military. And if he saw genuine government wrongdoing that needed to be addressed, there were multiple legal avenues available to him to register those concerns: first through his chain of command, and/or then to the Army Inspector General or even to Congress.

So a criminal prosecution against Manning is clearly justified. However, determining the severity of the punishment is much more difficult. Manning pled guilty last month to 10 charges carrying a sentence of up to 20 years. But instead of settling the case, the government is pursuing an “aiding the enemy” charge that carries a life sentence. The stakes for both Manning and our system for government accountability could not be higher.

Today there is a gentlemen’s agreement of sorts between the press and the government. For its part, the government tacitly recognizes that intelligent discussion of national security matters requires the disclosure of some types of classified information to the media. This has led to a routine practice of selective leaking, usually between high-ranking government officials and select members of the elite Washington national security press corps.

Meanwhile, others in the government leak to the press to pursue a policy agenda. While these leaks are usually accompanied by outrage, gnashing of teeth, and promises of a “leak investigation,” the gentlemen’s agreement means that these matters are usually quickly forgotten and written off as the cost of doing business in a messy democracy.

The press’ part of the unstated agreement is to refrain from wholesale publication of national security secrets. The media does not report on troop movements, intelligence sources and methods, scientific information about our weapons systems, or other information that (in the media’s view) could cause actual damage to the nation’s security. The government and the press often disagree on what types of disclosure will result in such “damage,” but because the press has, by and large, acted responsibly when it gets hold of national security information, the government is willing to tolerate at least some level of leakage.

The Wikileaks/Manning case has blown this all apart.

First of all, Wikileaks has provided an outlet for the raw disclosure of classified information, without the filtering mechanism of responsible press outlets. The government cannot, and will not, tolerate this.

More importantly, however, if you put aside the sheer volume of Manning’s disclosures, it is difficult to distinguish Manning’s conduct from leaks that happen in Washington every day. If Manning is convicted during his trial in June for “aiding the enemy” and receives a life sentence – the risks of leaking classified information will have been significantly ratcheted up.

If Manning is given a life sentence because documents he leaked were read by the enemy, the government will be hard pressed to look the other way when far more important secrets than what Manning disclosed show up on the front page of the Washington Post. Manning’s case could damage the détente between the government and the media that has allowed for substantial reporting of national security matters without a constant drum beat of leak prosecutions, subpoenas for reporters to reveal their sources, and the like.

The Manning case presents a potentially existential issue for the national security press. For if Manning can be convicted for life for his leaking, this could have a severe impact on other confidential sources upon which the national security press relies for its existence. These reporters are concerned that what is already a tough job due to the government’s security apparatus could become virtually impossible. And, they argue, this chilling effect on leakers will damage the ability of the press to keep the public informed, impose government accountability, and stimulate public discussion and debate on some of the most important issues of the modern world.

So we have a situation where giving Manning a slap on the wrist is inconceivable, but imposing severe punishment could harm our democracy.

In a post-Manning world, we may need to put some serious attention to structural reforms that can improve public accountability without damaging national security.

The key source of the problem is over-classification. The government is a serial abuser of the classification system – leading to mass over-classification of information that could be released to the public without damage to the national security. In the worst cases, over-classification is used to hide embarrassment, rather than protect security – which has led to deep cynicism by the press to the entire notion of classified information.

If the government classified only information that would cause significant harm to the national security if disclosed then there could be a more robust exchange between the government and the press without violating the law. The government would have a greater justification for cracking down on leaks that did occur. And the press would be more inclined to defer to the government’s requests that classified information not be disclosed.

For the system to work effectively, we also need a much more robust system of declassification, a Freedom of Information Act that functions effectively and in real time, stronger and workable procedures for whistleblowers within the government to bring abuses to light, and sanctions against those who abuse the classification system to cover up wrongdoing or prevent embarrassment.

The current system – which gives a wink and a nod to the massive leaking that goes on in Washington each day – while using the full weight of the criminal justice system to crack down on the few low-ranking leakers who actually get caught, is deeply flawed and should not survive the Manning case.

David H. Schanzer is an Associate Professor of the Practice for Public Policy at Duke University and Director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, a research consortium between Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and RTI International. In these capacities, he teaches courses on counterterrorism strategy, counterterrorism law and homeland security.
 He is also affiliated faculty of the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Prior to his academic appointments, Schanzer was the Democratic staff director for the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005. He previously served as the legislative director for Sen. Jean Carnahan (2001-2002), counsel to Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (1996-1998), and counsel to Sen. William S. Cohen (1994-1996).

His positions in the executive branch include special counsel, Office of General Counsel, Department of Defense (1998-2001) and trial attorney, United States Department of Justice (1992-94).

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Mirrored from Islamicommentary

34 Responses

  1. This goes back to the Pentagon Papers and Watergate wherein the Executive Branch and other governmental agencies sought to prevent various details about government from ever reaching the light of day. I believe the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is also of note inasmuch as the citizens are essentially the ‘bosses’ of the government and have a right to know what’s going on. We have a whole cottage industry concerned with ‘conspiracy theories’ that have bloomed like dandelions in Spring simply because of the privileged status of state secrets.
    Some background information can be found at:
    link to en.wikipedia.org
    A telling paragraph states: “Following the Watergate scandal, President Gerald R. Ford wanted to sign FOIA-strengthening amendments in the Privacy Act of 1974, but concern (by his chief of staff Donald Rumsfeld and deputy Richard Cheney) about leaks and legal arguments that the bill was unconstitutional (by government lawyer Antonin Scalia, among others) persuaded Ford to veto the bill, according to documents declassified in 2004.[7] However, Congress voted to override Ford’s veto, giving the United States the core Freedom of Information Act still in effect today, with judicial review of executive secrecy claims.[8][9]“

  2. Schanzer has written a reasonable article about responsible government policy and press outlets and the normal workings of a democratic system.

    Even when giving the benefit of the doubt to calling press outlets responsible and pretending they would actually release embarrassing information rather then self-censor, and slandering wikileaks by recycling the charge of info-dumping without evidence – the omissions stand out more:

    … and then our responsible government puts Bradley Manning in a cell without charging him for 3 years much of which in solitary confinement (a subtle form of torture) and without underwear (a not so subtle one). The president, a law graduate, pronounces him guilty in passing and the press outlets barely report on what happens to their main source for a lot of stories for the past years.

    Does this look like reasonable and responsible functioning of a democratic system?

    • There is no excuse for how Manning was treated while in custody. Whatever his sentence is to determined to be will be reduced by about 4 months in recognition of this mistreatment. Arguably, the reduction should have been even greater. Why the case has taken so long to come to trial is worth scrutiny. But it is also worth asking why it has taken Manning so long to plead guilty to a number of counts.

      • Mr. Schanzer — there is an excuse why Manning was treated that way. They wanted to break him. You neglect to say that he was TORTURED.
        Additionally, how do you not know that Manning DID ATTEMPT to bring the problem to his superiors? How can you declare something to be true when its been broadly publicized that he exposed the information after attempting other formats to release it?

        I agree with everyone else here that you sound like an apologist for the gov’t. You EXCUSE the gov’t for CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR! but find justification for criminalizing Manning after he exposed the criminal behavior.

        For goodness sake — he has committed a service to the country. He is a hero. Dr. Bean and others i salute you.

        • “I agree with everyone else here that you sound like an apologist for the gov’t.”

          Speak for yourself. You don’t agree “with everyone else here,” because everyone else does not agree with you.

  3. Forgot to mention that the entire trajectory of this empire is wrong and any information to prove that this is so is classified.

  4. It is obvious Mr. Schanzer never served in the military. As a Vietnam Veteran, I know reporting anything through military chain of command is ridiculous. Don’t take my word for it, Manning tried to tell his supervisor, who only shrugged. Regarding Vietnam, look at Ridenour and Hugh Thompson and My Lai; see the movie “Casualties of War,” based on a real event that was published–which the movie followed completely, even the opening shot on the bus. Look at the war crimes in Iraq, even the soldier who tried to save the kids in the Collateral Murder video Manning leaked. If you want to do something positive Mr. Schanzer, use your connections to insist Hagel prosecutes all officers involved, starting with the generals.

    • There are many proper ways to bring misconduct to light, Manning chose not to take advantage of them before leaking. His statement shows that his motivation was not just to reveal specific misconduct, but to stimulate a dialogue on the merits of the wars. There was no lack of this discussion prior to his disclosures. One cannot be an anti-war activist and a member of the Armed Forces at the same time.

      • You weren’t in Vietnam in 1971, so you don’t know. Vets wore the VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) patch openly. I was involved in a number of mutinies, one which got Senator Kennedy to intervene. Some were written in Stars and Stripes, plus many underground newspapers (Grunt Free Press comes to mind) were circulated. The Army was refusing to fight a losing war. That is why you last sentence comes across as rather pompous. You also fail to agree on how My Lai was exposed–not by Major Powell.

  5. Another good example of this double standard is the prosecution of Judith Miller versus the non-indictment of Robert Novak. Miller had become an apostate, apparently discovering some backbone (or more likely worrying about her career) after she’d spent months uncritically publicizing the asinine lies peddled by the Bush administration (some of which Dr. Cole discusses in his next post). Novak, despite also revealing Plame’s identity, remained a reliable conservative mouthpiece, hence immune from prosecution.

    I would argue against the notion expressed in this guest post that Manning’s leaks affected national security. US troops operating in another country – especially one like Iraq, invaded under utterly and transparently false pretenses – are not defending the US in any substantive way. This is an ethical appeal, based on the opinion that war is wrong, so the counterargument that Manning had sworn not to leak that information is not invalid either. He has committed a crime.

    However, I would frame the question as: Who put more troops at risk, Manning, by leaking documents substantiating the war crimes and incompetance of the commanders, or George Bush, by cynically sending hundreds of thousands of troops to war? If Manning must be prosecuted, Bush must be as well.

  6. This is an excellent analysis of the Bradley Manning situation. I do have a few comments;

    Bradley Manning is a hero, perhaps not a First Amendment hero, but a hero nevertheless for forcing the necessary discussions contained in this article.

    It is probably unreasonable to expect that any reformed Freedom of Information Act could solve the problem of openness in government in any permanent way. Those desiring maximum secrecy will always find a way. We do need a periodic “shock to the system” such as the Manning leaks provide if for no other reason than to re-examine how the system is working.

    In a time of war, even the fake adventures that we are now engaged in, access to information gets clamped down. “War” makes some policies seem necessary that would be rejected out of hand in times of peace. One weapon or war is lies, perhaps necessarily so. These lies are corrosive to democracy. Manning is a hero for openness and truth.

    Manning did break the law, as did Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers fame, and should be punished. A couple of years in prison seems reasonable. But he is also a hero of convictions and his convictions are shared by many.

    • fake adventures, real destruction.

      ………………………

      The US military spends about 2-3% of their war funds on “Information Operations,” which are efforts to mislead and propagandize the US Conress. See, e.g., Lindsey Graham.

      • “The US military spends about 2-3% of their war funds on “Information Operations,” which are efforts to mislead and propagandize the US Conress. See, e.g., Lindsey Graham.”

        You are wrong here. Information Operations (IO) are not directed at the American Congress and public. Information Operations are directed at the public and military in countries in which the military is engaged. They are a form of psychological warfare with the goal of exposing enemy propaganda and attempting to get opinion on our side. To say that they are directed at the US Congress demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of what IO are all about.

    • I appreciate the opportunity to have this dialogue on your blog, Juan. One angle of the case I would like to discuss is the assumption made by many, wrongly in my view, that all of Manning’s disclosures contributed to promoting a more peaceful world. Manning’s release of thousands of State Department cables may well have had the opposite effect. If you believe in the power of diplomacy to resolve conflict, then you have to accept that the disclosures caused real damage by undermining the ability of our diplomats to engage in candid discussions with their counterparts. Take Iran for example. If the leaked cables harm our ability to maintain a coalition that favors sanctions and a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue, then Manning may well have undermined the cause of peace and made military conflict more likely. Second, Manning’s guilty plea (albeit 2.5 years into the case) puts him more in the category of civil disobedience than straight up criminal (unless of course his plea is more about tactics than an admission of lawlessness). The question then is how much should he be punished for his decision to disobey the laws in the name of promoting a political cause. For me, the magnitude of the disclosures, the inability of Manning to determine whether these leaks could cause true harm to our troops or others who put their lives at risk, and the fact that he leaked to a rogue web-entrepreneur rather than the press, all mean he should receive a stiff sentence. The life-sentence being pursued by the government, however, seems to me to be overkill, designed to deter future leakers rather than appropriately punish this wrongdoer.

      • Thanks so much for your essay and for engaging on the blog, David!

        If Manning had been a civilian, I doubt the government would have had much of a case against him, especially given the very low level of classification of most of the documents. The Ellsberg case seems to establish that the government only has a right to try to keep documents secret, but if it fails, it can’t do anything about that and the documents become public. And Ellsberg faced no punishment, nor did the New York Times.

        I didn’t approve of the indiscriminate document dump for the reasons you mention. In the end, it was not possible to safeguard many private persons’ names, who had an expectation of privacy and could have been harmed by their names showing up as having conversations with US embassy officials– even if that activity was perfectly innocent.

        But I also don’t think Manning is guilty of treason or deliberately giving secrets to the enemy, or at least only guilty of it in the way that Dick Cheney is. I take it you agree. I am worried that the Draconian sentence he’s being threatened with is a sign that whistle blowing in the government is going to be increasingly disallowed. A certain amount of whistle blowing is desirable in any big, complex and at least somewhat corrupt organization.

      • Hello! Hello! Hello! Are you listening? Why do you refuse to even whisper that Manning disclosed military, political and war crimes of a gargantuan proportion?

  7. I respect his thoughts, but the print/government cabal is not always forth right. The government certainly is not to be trusted, as lies abound. And what about even a mention of the whistle blower? I would love to know what my government is doing. I for one pay their way.
    Give us all a break, this behind the scenes crap, where a few get together to make secret decisions on my behalf doesn’t cut it any longer. Transparency??? What the hell is that?

  8. Would US security interests be served by making overclassification a crime, and incentivizing whistleblowing, within established guidelines ? I think so.

    .

    Tom Donilon hs leaked far more important stuff than Manning. Manning’s leaks all have some factual basis, whereas Donilon can mix in spin and lies, whatever makes his team look good. Ditto for earlier Administrations.
    Let’s see the National Security Advisor call for prosecuting Tom Donilon.

    • “…Donilon can mix in spin and lies, whatever makes his team look good.”

      You have suggested that Tom Donilan has lied. Please provide a specific leak from Donilan or the NSC that you can document as a lie. When you accuse someone of lying, you had better be able to back it up. To casually toss out such accusations without offering a shred of evidence is to mark one as a blowhard.

      • Bill,
        while your characterization “blowhard” may be accurate,
        you seem not to have heard the version of the hit on Bin Laden where Obama was the key decision-maker during the raid. In truth, the decision to execute was made days prior, the raid team was on auto-pilot, and the Prez was a spectator. This false narrative came from Donilon.

        • Brian,

          Tom Donilon never said that Obama was making the key decisions during the raid. He never said it, and it would defy logic to suggest that Obama would be making key tactical decisions regarding the conduct of the raid itself, as you suggest Donilan said. The decision to execute the raid was made by President Obama on April 29 (following the final NSC meeting April 28). The Seal team had already been training, first with a mock-up Abottabad compound at Fort Bragg, and then in Nevada, primarily to test the limits of the choppers. By the time the President made the decision to execute, Admiral McRaven and the Seal team were already in Afghanistan, after practicing the raid many times over.

          But to the issue at hand, Donilon never said that “Obama was the key decision-maker DURING the raid.” Either you are trying to manipulate the facts to fit your already-stated canard that, “…Donilon can mix in spin and lies,” or you have obtained your misinformation from a dubious source.

  9. My short answer to this slick piece of baloney by David Schanzer is “where’s the barf bag?” …

    Americans have been lied to and cheated so the rich can get richer off perpetual wars. America has created State Terrorism and is turning the entire world against it.

    Bradley Manning LOVES his country and has sacrificed his life to save it from the war criminals. He should be released and charges of aiding the enemy should be dropped. It’s an insult to assume that he “must” serve time in prison for his “crimes,” as if this fact is not up for debate.

    Schanzer’s premise is that law, even very bad law, takes precedence over justice. It is the old Billy Budd argument. Billy stopped a mutiny at sea, saved everyone’s life on the ship, but the military still hanged him for breaking procedures. Issues of right and wrong, life and death did not enter into the equation. Procedures ruled. That’s what lawyers know best and they use it to subvert justice.

    Will the government get around to letting Manning’s attorneys argue in defense of higher oaths to report war crimes? That’s the real issue here and Schanzer does not even breathe one word about it.

    Instead he insults the informed readers with more mockery, referring to the bought-and-paid-for mainstream media as a “gentlemen’s agreement” with government leakers. He talks about the lovely “détente between the government and the media.” Detente?

    Murdoch and the Pentagon script the lies that Americans are to swallow so they can build public support for war, big bankers, big pharma and CEO salaries in excess of 20 million per year. This is the stream of lies that Schanzer calls a “gentleman’s agreement.” Canada has a law against broadcasting lies on TV which is why it refused to allow FOX TV to broadcast in Canada. MSM in America is not performing any job other than to keep the public uninformed so the criminals can commit crimes without interference.

    Schanzer misleads readers by stating “there were multiple legal avenues available to him [Manning] to register those concerns.” Did Schanzer ever both to READ how many times Manning tried to report the crimes he saw through military procedures? He was repeatedly rebuffed and told to drop it.

    Schanzer’s argument that “The key source of the problem is over-classification” again avoids the real issue which is that criminals in the top echelons of the military, multinationals, banks, and government are committing extraordinary crimes as a matter of daily policy. Obama’s “forward looking” policy not to prosecute corporate, government, and military criminal behavior is the problem.

    The US no longer functions as a democracy. Secrecy is the weapon of totalitarian dictators. War crimes and corporate criminal behavior must be exposed and prosecuted. THAT is the core issue.

    The obscene US military policy of torture and abuse did not just start in Iraq. Go read about the US government’s Phoenix Program in Vietnam, but then, perhaps Schanzer isn’t old enough to remember. He should study his history.

    Bradley Manning is a world hero and should be freed. Then let the real war crimes be prosecuted. If the US won’t do it, maybe Europe will.

    • Professor David Schanzer’s piece is a measured, well-documented, thoughtful article on the need for balance between the US Government’s obvious requirement for secrecy at some level and society’s right to know at another. There will always be tension between those two elements.

      Your shameful diatribe against Professor Schanzer’s piece would warrant serious consideration if you had managed to keep it at an adult level. Unfortunately, you have simply provided us with a tantrum and a rant.

      • On the point of “ranting,” I want to point out that it is an historical and cultural reality that women are quite used to: when we state a truth quietly, repeatedly, ad naseum people do not pay much attention. When we go into hysterics some man usually says, “Oh, I didn’t know you felt like that. Why didn’t you tell me?” Women are rather tired of having to get “hysterical” to be taken seriously.

        Once again, attacking my style of stating facts as a trantrum is just one more way to derail the conversationn from examining the true issue of military war crimes and corporate corruption. As for who is shameful, for PROFESSOR Schanzer to describe the relationship between government and MSM as a “gentlemen’s agreement” now that’s shameful.

        • “Women are rather tired of having to get “hysterical” to be taken seriously.”

          None of the women I know of who reached high positions, from Secretaries of State to corporate CEOs, to university presidents, obtained their positions by thinking they had to get “hysterical” to be taken seriously. In fact your embrace of the strategy of getting “hysterical” to be taken seriously has the opposite effect.

          As for “attacking my style of stating facts,” as you put it, we have already discussed the off-putting “style.” Regarding “facts,” the old adage still applies: You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

      • “The government” requires secrecy for what purposes? No doubt, given the way the Game is played, there are “legitimate” areas where playing the Game requires hiding your cards and lying and obfuscating and suchlike. On the other hand, there’s a whole lot of crimes and misdemeanors, not to mention plain old stupidity and venality and stuff that would just be “embarrassing” and “career-limiting” if it got out, that get covered over by Red Filing and that “SECRET” stamp. But I bet you know that.

        What’s the need to try to impeach Dr. Beam’s observations? Too close to home truths?

        Scold, scold, scold. That is substantive, isn’t it?

  10. Prof. Schanzer, you don’t have your facts right. Private Manning tried to bring his grievances up the chain of command and was told to “drop it”. He became a whistleblower, precisely because his superiors stonewalled him. Here is a quote from Manning’s testimony:

    “… I forwarded this discovery [of wrongdoing] to the top OIC and the battle NCOIC. The top OIC and the overhearing battle captain informed me that they didn’t need or want to know this information anymore. They told me to quote ‘drop it’ unquote”

    Prof. Schanzer, you need to rethink your answers to the “easy questions” that you claim to have “easily dismissed”.

    Quote available at: link to guardian.co.uk.

  11. Amy: You and I agree totally. See my response to Schanzer. The system broke down when I was in Vietnam. In WWII, nearly 1,000 GIs were executed, all but one for criminal behavior. Yet not one GI was executed in Vietnam or Iraq for murder or rape of civilians. Not even when they raped and murdered their fellow female soldiers. I have stated in writing so many times that a few firing squads, made up of men and women in the murderer’s company, would have put an end to all that. I am sure Schanzer does not care to perform any research as he simply has an agenda. I have “known” Juan Cole for years and am a bit puzzled what he sees in this guy.

  12. I’m with Dr. Beam on this one.
    The entire post reads like it was made up by an over-educated troll.

    Manning was clearly living up to a higher standard than the one laid down by the torture/rendition reign of the Bush/Cheney Crime Cartel.
    The higher standard that Manning used was established in response to the Nuremberg Trials… which were set up to punish German Officers for war crimes similar to those perpetrated by the Americans in Iraq.

  13. Mr. Schanzer,
    What is your greatest fear going down in history as a terrorist traitor responsible for the deaths of a billion people or going down in history as the obedient Nazi responsible for the death of one person?
    I myself would rather serve a lifetime of solitary confinement than go down in history as an obedient Nazi. Why should a private in an Army designed to defend the empire of a government that has been breaking treaties and promises for centuries obey any order at all? Why should he announce that he is not going to obey orders? When has the American government or military kept its promises when it was not convenient?
    America does not need this Army and more than it needs another John Wayne Gacy. It needs Army that will establish and maintain a Republic.
    Billy N. Kidding Jr.
    APO AE 09096

  14. To call Mr. Schanzer’s argument disingenuous would be an understatement. What takes place with the “select members of the elite Washington national security press corps” whom Mr. Schanzer seems to hold in such high regard for their supposedly responsible, first amendment protected use of leaked information is far too frequently an exercise in disinformation, outright war mongering and manipulation of public opinion. Clearly Mr. Schanzer has seen very little of what wikileaks and Bradley Manning have put on the record because the contrast with what we are provided by the “elite national security press corps” could not be more striking. If Bradley Manning had so much recourse why did we not see the “collateral murder” video when Reuters first requested it? If a legitimate press organization responding to the slaughter of two of their journalists could not effect a release of that material what chance would a lowly enlisted man have in bringing it to light? From Professor Schanzer’s comfortable academic perch perhaps it looks like Bradley Manning had options. Mr. Schanzer is right about one thing. The decision to prosecute Bradley Manning for “aiding the enemy” is indeed a threat to the freedom of the press. That it is coming from the Justice Department of the sainted Barack Obama must be hard for liberals to bear but there it is. Freedom of the press may survive but if it does it will be through the courage and tenacity of whistle blowers like Daniel Ellesberg and Bradley Manning and journalists like Jeremy Scahill and Amy Goodman, it certainly will not be defended by the “elite” sycophantic Washington press corps or timorous academics too worried about their careers to see what a stinking mess cries out for the light of day.

  15. If we look at Bradley Manning’s background we have a clearer idea as to his motives – he is no Dr. Daniel Ellsberg.

    Manning came from a broken home, dropped out of college, lived outside the U.S. before enlisting in the U.S. Army and being almost on the verge of discharge due to his performance in basic training; he argued with drill instructors, was picked on by fellow recruits due to his size and sexual orientation – and violated secrecy rules once given an important intelligence assignment.

    PFC Manning, by all accounts, was highly intelligent but unreliable as a soldier. My personal belief is that his “document dump” was for the primary purpose of embarrassing the U.S. Army that he was in conflict with. He is trying to mitigate his actions by couching himself as some type of patriot.

    This young man deserves stern punishment and to be made an example of.

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