Bradley Manning and the need to share
December 22nd, 2011
04:00 AM ET

Bradley Manning and the need to share

By Libby Lewis

Listen to Libby Lewis' report for CNN Radio:

So many questions are swirling around Bradley Manning as the military holds a hearing to present evidence about his alleged crimes. (See the rest of our Bradley Manning coverageĀ here)

Perhaps the biggest question raised about Manning is: How did this troubled young man - and a low-ranking one at that - get to handle such sensitive information with the ease of a kid pirating Lady Gaga?

Ron Marks, who spent 16 years with the CIA, says that to understand what made it possible for Manning to get his hands on so much, you have to go back to Vietnam.

In those Cold War days, information was chopped up and compartmentalized into bits and pieces. The idea was that if no good guys saw the big picture, no bad guys - the Soviets - could see it, either, said Marks, who is now a Senior Fellow at George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute.

Back then, the U.S. military thought mostly about military power. It hadn't thought through much about how to deal with local populations or insurgents.

"That was one of the problems," Marks said. "We didn't know the people in the countryside. We didn't know the culture, or we really wouldn't have the kind of intelligence about who was playing with the Viet Cong and who wasn't."

From Vietnam, the U.S. learned that combat was a lot more complicated than dropping bombs; that it was also about having on-the-ground intelligence.

And in the '90s, the Pentagon started pushing high technology in warfare, so the computers and networks that kept all that information became as important as tanks and radar.

Then came the real kicker: September 11, 2001.

The 9/11 Commission concluded that the U.S. missed the events that led to 9/11 because agencies weren't sharing information with one another. That led to a complete overhaul in how the U.S deals with intelligence.

"It stopped being need to know - to need to share - I would say pretty quickly after 9/11," said Margaret Henoch, a former senior CIA official on the operations side.

When the U.S. went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, "need to share" was the mantra, especially for troops on the battlefield.

"That might include knowing about local tribes," Marks said. "About outsiders who might be coming into the area. There might be outside fighters. So the idea is for the analyst to provide information to the soldier in the field so that they can use it in terms of their own smarts about what's going on around them."

And that "need to share" thinking led to military intelligence guys, like Manning, having access to reams and reams of information.

So did Manning need all that stuff to do his job? In Iraq, his job as an intelligence analyst was to analyze open-source and classified information on the Shia community in Iraq. But he had access to a lot more information than that.

Manning is accused of stealing documents from databases on Iraq and Afghanistan, records from the U.S. Southern Command, plus a quarter of a million records from a State Department diplomacy database.

Those range from cables on the Saudi monarch to the ambassador to Mexico.

"What did he need that for?" Henoch asked. "He's in charge of everything? He was a low-level guy!"

Henoch doesn't believe that sharing is necessarily a good thing, and she says Manning is the prime example of that.

"Bradley Manning didn't need anything about Saudi Arabia. I'm guessing they could have restricted what he needed to do his job to about seven cables."

Henoch is an adherent of the old way of doing things, where people, as she puts it, stayed in their lanes. In those days, Manning probably would have been counting planes or spotting for roadside bombs, not sifting through diplomatic cables or databases about Afghanistan.

The CIA would have been doing strategic intelligence collection - working to get defense secrets from government sources. And the State Department would have been doing diplomacy. Period.

At Manning's hearing, government witnesses said he could access the Pentagon's classified computer system in Iraq with a single log-in. Two of the computers - including one that Manning used - had software that allowed a user to download data onto a CD.

Capt. Ashden Fein, the lead prosecution attorney, asked Capt. Steven Lim, who was an officer in Manning's chain of command in Iraq, what would have stopped someone in that office from downloading secrets onto a CD for his own use.

"There comes a level of trust that comes with Top Secret clearance," Lim replied.

Since the WikiLeaks leaks, the Pentagon has made some obvious changes, like barring downloading of classified data onto CDs and such, and it has added steps to audit and track the use of its classified computer system.

And the State Department stopped sharing those diplomatic cables on the classified system that Manning is accused of stealing from.

But the Pentagon is not pulling back from the notion of "need to share."

Pentagon spokeswoman April Cunningham wrote CNN: "It's important to note that this effort to improve security preserves the government's commitment to share the information needed by our troops. We are not going to restrict sharing with the right people."

Margaret Henoch and Ron Marks do agree there will always be a Bradley Manning. Or spies like Robert Hansen. Or Aldrich Ames.

But they differ on what that means. Henoch says that's why there should be limits to what people like Manning need to have.

"Your assumption is there's always going to be a bad apple. So to make sure somebody doesn't do the kind of excessive damage that Bradley Manning did, you limit what that person has access to, to what he or she needs to do his job."

Ron Marks believes more in the current way of doing things. But he admits there are enormous risks that come with it. For one thing: There's not the time or money or manpower to filter out the documents that Manning may have needed to do his job, from the thousands of others. So Manning got them all.

"Are you able to separate out the stuff that he needs from what he doesn't?" Marks asked. "No. So we really are vulnerable."

That brings it back to the Pentagon's statement about sharing with the right people: It all comes back to the age-old question: Who do you trust?

CNN's Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Bradley Manning • Intelligence • Military • WikiLeaks
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Seth

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    April 3, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Reply
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    March 21, 2014 at 4:40 am | Reply
  3. Cassandra Chu

    ... this guy is a true Hero. he did more for Americans than the entire state department put together. He actually delivered on the transparency that the Obama campaign lied about. Hillary Clinton should give him a bonus and a promotion.

    December 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  4. Brad

    He committed an act of treason against the United States of America. May he be punished accordingly.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • wharf0rat

      Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld committed crimes against humanity. May they be punished accordingly.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Reply
      • pstatz1121

        Please explain in detail what Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld did as crimes against humanity. I see no International Court calling them on charges. Are you spreading lies and misinformation again?

        December 23, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • bao

      You are committing an act of Treason by not challenging covert actions by the US Government that end in the needless loss of life ANYWHERE.

      December 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • martin

      There is no way Bradlley will get a fair trial. Nothing that was leaked did any harm to any one, or any institution. The prosecution is with holding all discovery material – what a kangaroo court the military system supports.

      April 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  5. bao

    Also the people who want to see him shot obviously didn't see the video where the helicopter fired on an innocent bystander and his children as he stopped his van to check on some insurgents who were recently killed by the same helicopter. Poor guy was just driving by.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  6. FreshxWater

    'Bradley Manning and the need to tell the truth". How about that title Corporate Media? You would think America's CHRISTIAN VALUES would support a man who exposes massive corruption, lies and murder? Google this 'Bush Told Houston Journalist In 1999 If Elected, "I'm Going To Invade Iraq"'

    December 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  7. John Buetow

    I am an eight year combat veteran, served and injured in Iraq... this man is neither traitor nor hero... he is a soldier... defending the constitution from it's current enemy... the United States Government... the American public has no clue of the war crimes the US did..w try to talk about it but we are either ignored or arrested... Abu Ghraib was nothing... and our government has gone unquestioned for too long... what is the point of having the seven core values if you merely ignore them...

    December 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  8. bao

    You should have stopped reading this article when you saw the phrase "troubled young man". It stinks of bias.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  9. Eric (Tennessee)

    We always hear "it's about promoting freedom and democracy" but nobody ever mentions that America is also the country that uses DEPLETED URANIUM WARHEADS in the middle east, we drop the Napalm, we sent the Enola Gay to Japan to drop the first (of two) Atom Bombs. Without the patriotic spirit of people like Bradley Manning, we'd never have any sunshine, any transparency...any who knows what kind of Orwellian dystopian nightware we'd end up living in, ala North Korea. Bradley Manning has freed millions of people from the yolk of oppression & he single-handedly sparked the Arab Spring! FREE BRADLEY MANNING ASAP!

    December 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • Denman

      Bradley Manning as a have a very skewed perspective of reality and clearly no understanding of the US Military. This jerk committed very real and serious crimes and I hope they lock him away in prison for a long, long time. Using him as "cause celebre" is about as smart as trying to point out Hitler's good side. And I'll bet my next paycheck that you've never done a blessed thing for your country, and never will. But you'll sure sit on the sidelines and criticize and critique, won't you?

      December 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  10. John Johnson

    Need to share, transgender issues, they should have stopped me? What kind of defense is that?

    Bradley had a need to share? Well, see you in 40 years Bradley.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Reply
    • Claire

      Did you actually read the article?
      There was no sympathetic psychiatric handwaving as you imply.The article says nothing about transgender issues or 'they should have stopped me' or anything like that. It may have been in another article, but it wasn't here.
      "Need to share" was a description of recent government policy, a play on "need to know".

      December 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  11. Forrest

    He IS a traitor to the United States of America, and hopefully he will spend many years locked behind cement walls and iron bars so that others will think twice before they release classified documents again. What he did is worse than China hacking into our government sites, because he swore an oath to protect and defend the United States. Look forward to seeing him in a jumpsuit!

    December 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Reply
    • John Buetow

      He is not a traitor... he is a soldier doing his job... defending the constitution... the real traitors are the people running the government... you can be blind if you want but all your constitutional freedoms are no longer valid under today's administration... from the patriotic act to the newest Defense bill... you freedoms are bye bye... how about you ask your government what the hell they are doing...

      December 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Reply
      • Forrest

        We can't have individual soldiers deciding "oh, this doesn't look right. Let me just splatter this classified information all over the internet." May the punishment fit the crime.

        December 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
      • Denman

        John, stop obfuscating the issue. Regardless of the alleged transgressions of the US Government and its military, the issue here is that this soldier STOLE and gave away highly classified material. Doesn't matter if he's got transgender issues, or was lonely, or if momma left him in his Pampers for too long when he was a baby. PFC BRADLEY MANNING IS A COMMON CRIMINAL. Nothing more, nothing less. And he should be treated as such.

        December 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
      • John Buetow

        So you are saying he was a soldier he should have sat there and shut his mouth? Who then are we suppose to rely on when it comes to shedding light on war time atrocities? The government committing the acts? The victims who have no voice? Or here's a thought... the people that witnessed it and questioned it.... I stand by my statement that we as a military have done many inhumane things to the people of the middle east... you guys seem to be nit picking at this but how many of you have actually been over there? I have seen this shit with my own eyes so nothing that comes out of your feeble mouths can make me forget... big picture... cmon now... dont be a sheep

        December 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  12. Voltairine

    Like it or not, there are many people, myself included, that consider this young man and Julian Assange to be heroes. It is a patriot that deceives a false government and lays bare its sins; let such governments beware not of these patriots, which it would call traitors, but rather of doing ill in the name of the people who are ever denied knowledge of these shrouded and devious machinations.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • twistedpuppet

      Most of what he leaked were nothing more than gossip. That doesn't lay anything bare at all. Assange ruined wikileaks and that kid needs to learn that there is a difference between what he did and what the guy who blew the whistle on the big tobacco companies did. Manning's not a hero. He's vindictive and an idiot.

      December 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  13. DAS

    This just highlights that the Pentagon has no ability to think and merely swings from pole to pole

    December 22, 2011 at 11:56 am | Reply
  14. DSBsky

    Lol who do we trust? definitely not the American government. When they get audited America is going to shit themselves.People will finally see all the money sinkholes, where trillions of dollars just disappear as they go to fund projects that should of never started in the first place. Not to mention that no one even knows about these projects and the people running them have 0 accountability but unlimited access to funds.. yea, America the free.. As long as you work for the government..

    December 22, 2011 at 11:56 am | Reply
    • wharf0rat

      Excellent point. The biggest sinkhole of them all is military spending on wars that never should have been started in the first place.

      December 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  15. Rick Keller

    They all talk in a way to indicate they presume Bradley Manning to be guilty. No assumption of innocense.

    If the bahavior of the military towards Bradley Manning is a indicator of their honor and integritty, then the military has no honor or integritty.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:47 am | Reply
  16. SoulGroupsUnite

    I like to thank every comment contributor I've read, regardless of what "you believe" you prove that mankind is still evolving. Now how you deal with that particularly bittersweet piece of knowledge up to you. We all had to arrive here at some juncture, so here is as good as any, I suppose. To Mr. Manning, your manifestation is arriving, history should judge you as both horns residing on the same goat. May your vision bring about the outcome you sought, but remember until the pendulum stops, it swings fro.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
  17. Ralph

    This is no explanation at all. It does not explain why the government trusts such low level, mentally unstable persons such as Bradley Manning with high level intelligence. All too reminiscent of the Falcon and the Snowman. The greatest threat to the security of US intel is not some Chines hacker but a mentally defective, gender confused, immature clod such as Bradley Manning. Why the Intel service would retain his services is the true mystery. After Manning gets sentenced they should investigate those who put this traitor in charge of such sensitive material.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:12 am | Reply

      And compartmentalizing information and vetting security clearances is extremely expensive. And ultimately, if someone who's reading the documents has a bothered conscience from reading them, they might be willing to break that confidence.

      We'd be in a far better position if we didn't have information against us floating around in State Department cables. And maybe not being guilty of war crimes in the first place would help.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • M. Smith

      This kid was HS educated. He's NO analyst. The term "analyst" in DOD is so dumbed down that the term means nada anymore.

      prior shipyard journeyman pipefitter
      BA/MPA/Law School
      prior Presidnetial Management Fellow
      Senior Analyst with NIH, Dept of VA, IRS and Navy/DOD

      December 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  18. Scott

    Bradley Manning will be punished because he exposed the fiction that the U.S. is a "good' and "moral" country and showed the reality that your country is a bunch of warmongers always looking to pick a fight with someone.

    How is killing an innocent civilian, which will just inflame that person's family and friends, making the world a safer place as you love to claim?

    December 22, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • Elaine Connelly

      Clearly you drank O's Kool-aid. How's that HOPE AND CHANGE working for you. Bradley Manning is a traitor. And so are you. LEAVE THIS COUNTRY IMMEDIATELY YOU MORON.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:12 am | Reply
      • LWZRGHT

        Wow, great to see that when someone expresses their opinion rationally you scream back at them that they are a moron. Turn down the Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh volume so you don't have to yell at us through your keyboard.

        December 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
      • Jeff G.

        Your response and the others similar show quite clearly there are several perfect countries for you to set up residence. North Korea, China or others similar. They are all adept at hiding information from their people. You will be extremely happy there. Now GTFO of MY country.

        December 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Ralph

      What ever gave you the idea that any nation is "good" or "moral". That's your problem; your naivete has been exposed and know you feel confused and hurt. Don't ever believe the government's press. Ever.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • csnord

      You need to find a country you respect more and move there. Your deluded lunacy isn't needed here.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply
    • theStugatz

      people like you make me sick. he is a traitor. period. it's crystal clear. apparently you are as well.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
  19. sonny

    why this traitor is still in the planet. Take him out and shoot him or hang him at the Time Square, New York.

    December 22, 2011 at 10:55 am | Reply

      Well I for one am glad he did what he did. He provided proof our country is doing as much harm in the Middle East as good, if not more. If it provides fuel for us to get out of our foreign conflicts, then he should be hailed as a hero, not a traitor.
      But maybe you're ok with our troops shooting innocent journalists. Maybe you're ok with us fighting another pre-emptive war with Iran. Maybe you're ok with the U.S. government lying to not only the world but to its own people. But maybe you're ok sleeping in on election day too.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
      • Dennis


        Aside from cutting and pasting the party line from the like of Assange, can you actually point to a specific cable/paper that does anything you claim Manning did?

        About our "troops shooting inncoent journalists", thats very true if you ONLY watch the part Manning and Assange edited. If you watch the ENTIRE UNEDITED version you will see what really happend, ie that "innocent journalist" was traveling with an insurgent teams carrying machine guns, that they were participating in a fight with US forces near by and the pilot mistook the 'journalist' for another insurgent. If the 'innocent journalist' doesnt want that to happen, than dont follow around insurgents while they are attacking US troops. I wonder if you have EVER commented on when journalist with US forces get killed covering the news, do you bother to be so 'outraged' about al queda, taliban or others when they do the same thing? Im betting no, im betting you are a hypocrite looking for a reason to accuse and be angry.
        As far as fighting a 'pre-emptive war with Iran', didnt you just answer your own question, isnt a 'pre-emptive war' a. legal according to international law which enable a country under imminent threat of attack by another to initiate hostility? Pre-emptive wars are legal and moral according to international law... Would YOU rather Iran nuked NYC or somewhere while we sat and watched and waited till they did it, knowing they will?
        And maybe you havent picked up a dictionary lately, but theres a difference betweem "lying" and "omitting" or "wrong". The US was WRONG about WMDs in Iraq, which, EVERYTHING we know since proves it was an honest mistake given Husseins own efforts to assert, somewhat obliquely, that he did have them in order to maintain power and keep iran from attacking him; further HE USED THEM BEFORE against his own people. Diplomatic cables are BY DEFINITION secret, EVERY country recognizes the sanctity of diplomatic pouches / cables and its against INTERNATIONAL LAW to violate.

        December 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
      • John Buetow

        Dennis, is it not also illegal to use said diplomatic pouches, state dept members, and other non cia/nsa related entities to "spy", under a pretense of "diplomatic faith"? Can't have your cake and eat it too bub...

        December 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • John

      Sonny, You made the only correct, rationale statement on this story;, He down loaded highly sensitive, compartmented classified material, copied it, and disclosed it to unauthorized personnel, a clear violation of the non-diclosure agreements he signed. This gave aid and comfort to an enemy in a time of war, the appropriated punishment for such a traitorous act, is death, period, end of story, ar dit dit........................

      December 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  20. GregHaus

    If he's guilty, I hope they hang him. The leaks have already cost lives and they jeopardize our ability to keep the nation safe.

    December 22, 2011 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • lollollol

      lol......................yeah TSA going down people's pants is what makes this nation safe lmao

      December 22, 2011 at 10:42 am | Reply
      • TheWrongPeopleDie

        The right that should be dieing are ppeople like lollollol. They are the ones that don't beleive in any tye of national defense. To heck with it, let the be killed in the most painfull bloody attack possible.

        lol, I can't wait to see your blood flow due to your own stupidity. And lol, I will pay to see you

        December 22, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  21. lollollol

    Manning is an american hero.
    the US war machine and NATO are the real enemy of the world

    December 22, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
    • socalpimp

      Unless you are an Iran agent......Bradley Manning is a traitor and him being in the military, he would have know the consequences of his actions.

      December 22, 2011 at 10:33 am | Reply
    • Elaine Connelly


      December 22, 2011 at 11:14 am | Reply
      • lollollol

        I do not live in United Fascist States of Amerika. You dont have to worry about me.
        You guys are as brainwashed as the North Koreans....a trully pathetic civilization....thank God for whoever woke up from the american BS (including real americans)

        December 22, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • theStugatz

      I'm guessing from your stupid post that you're not american. if you are you sound as much as traitor as that little piece of sh * t Bradley M. F you both.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • Suffolk100

      What exactly is PFC Manning guilty of? Lets see, he exposed war crimes that where committed. He exposed a corrupt U.S. government. Is that not what the military is fighting for? Is that not why we supposedly invaded Iraq? Saddam committing crimes against humanity? why is it OK for the US to commit these crimes and not Saddam? PFC Manning is an American Hero, something that most of you who complain about him are not. He took an oath to defend America from both enemies within and foreign. Yes I'm an America and a Viet Nam era vet. So for those that are complaining about Manning, take your UN American attitude and stick it up you A%#.

      December 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Reply
      • Dennis


        Point out ANYWHERE in those documents that he released ANY of what you say is true. You cant, you cut and paste ultra-leftist statements without the sense or decency to confirm a single one and than rant and rave online, because you are likely to cowardly to do it in person and likely not intelligent enough to do more than yell really loud what you think if you do.

        December 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
      • John Buetow

        Pssss Dennis.... I was a medic... in Iraq... seen it all with my own two eyes... I don't need a website to tell me what I saw... thanks...all of you guys who think otherwise...put some fucking boots on and go check the sand yourself šŸ˜€ no? too scared? then stfu...

        December 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  22. joey

    and now he gets to share seminal fluids with tyrone

    December 22, 2011 at 10:16 am | Reply
    • Rocky

      Joey, haven't you heard, Manning is gay. He will love sharing fluids with Tyrone. Maybe that's what he was after in the first place. This is what is in our future. Why did you betray our country? I'm Gay and I was being picked on. Disgusting.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  23. MalcmXcremnt

    This gender-identity challenged creep has committed treason during wartime, and should be made an example for alll. And if it is more appropriate to march him in front of a firing squad in high heels and a dress, then so be it.

    December 22, 2011 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • John

      I Totally agree

      December 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  24. Death Penalty

    Purposely leaking classified information to the enemy during a time of WAR is punishable by DEATH! This traitor needs to be put down permanently!

    December 22, 2011 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • Frank

      So I see you really cherish life! What simple minds are out there, this guy exposed needless killing, obvious if you look at the video and the relaxed way in which the camera men were behaving. Two use several Hellfire misles after the slaughter with a clearly unarmed civilian in front of the building destroyed is beyond me. Not to mention the whole damn war was illegal and for the benefit of a few companies.

      December 22, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply
      • Rocky

        Frank, you've obviously never spent any time in the military. Leftest socialists like you depend on others to protect your right to be stupid. The facts are that this individual took an oath to protect our military and government information. He broke this oath and rightfully deserves to be put to death. The damage this release of information was huge to this country. Countries aroung the world can no longer trust America. While this doesn't mean much to morons like you, it does to the majority of Americans.

        December 22, 2011 at 11:02 am |
      • theStugatz

        Frank you are mind numbingly dumb and naive.

        Rocky – thank you for your spot on reply.

        December 22, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • John

      Here, here, well said!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  25. JW

    What exactly was the "enormous damage" that Manning did again? It may not have been right, but I still don't see the enormous damage–not in terms of lives lost over misguided wars anyways (thanks Cheney).

    December 22, 2011 at 9:48 am | Reply
    • NN

      For one thing it demonstrates the US is not to be trusted, so there surely will be less collaboration by locals. Then who is WikiLeaks that they should be trusted to maintain the originals securely? This story is not yet at an end.

      December 22, 2011 at 9:56 am | Reply
      • YoHi64

        In other words, no "enormous damage" has been found.

        December 22, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • JJ

      The damage, beyond what little you understand, is that folks will not trust the US State Dept to keep confidential information that they may give us in good faith. A moral senator from "x country" may have information on a corrupt official involved in human trafficking, for example. In the past, he would have had no issues telling an FBI agent working in the US Embassy in that "x country". Now, there is no way that senator would do so without fearing for his life and that of his family. Try to think bigger than your 15 or 17 inch computer monitor. The real world is not what you think it is.

      December 22, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • facefur

      The damage is often hidden in a source who may well be dead because of the leaks, in a far less open discussion forum with foreign officials and citizens who may have information that might reveal a terrorist plot, in a lessened willingness for U.S. officials to be frank in their evaluations of other government people. The damage may be in now open clues about how we collect information, how sophisticated our technical means have become, and so on. This kid is NOT a hero in any sense of the word, and I doubt he had any real sense of altruism in sending this stuff out.

      December 22, 2011 at 10:33 am | Reply
      • Jean Sartre

        The military has such low standards for the classification of TOP SECRET that which type of soap is purchased and used by our troops is TOP SECRET.

        I personally think Bradley Manning is indeed an American hero, regardless of what his – unknown to everyone, except him – motivations actually were.

        There was not a lot of TRUST in the WORLD for AMERICA before the release of the WikiLeaks documents; intelligent countries understand that we just want to steal the resources of all countries, introduce them to that invisible man in the sky [the GOD of CHRISTIANITY] and make them subservient to our demands and wishes.

        Finally, NO ONE has been able to PROVE any loss of LIFE or damage to NATIONAL SECURITY or anything else, except for the embarrassment cause to the State Department, by the way we diss all our allies...

        December 22, 2011 at 11:44 am |
      • theStugatz

        Jean Satre – naive. and silly. and further, he is a traitor. period. in an ideal world, sure, you can blow your trumpet of peace love and justice, we however live in the real world. the real world where an army private does not have the ability to make decisions about which information is "honorable" and which isn't. grow the F up and take the blinders off. its an ugly world when you're dealing with foreign policy issues, gov'ts all have dirts. ALL of them. get a clue.

        December 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  26. NN

    "There comes a level of trust that comes with Top Secret clearance,"- maybe, but not so much trust that you allow just anybody to connect personal storage devices into computers with access to classified information. The military is so bad, it is safe to conclude that everything they have will be compromised.

    December 22, 2011 at 9:43 am | Reply
  27. Mudman

    FREE Bradley Manning!

    December 22, 2011 at 9:43 am | Reply
    • MuTheWrong People

      Death to Mudman, where do you live scumbag. I want to see your blood flow.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:04 am | Reply
      • Jean Sartre

        FREE Bradley Manning! Send MuTheWrongPeople a human brain...

        December 22, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • theStugatz

      He is a traitor and apparently so are you. F him and F U

      December 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • theStugatz

      He's going to get life and deservedly so. He should be F ' ing executed. Have fun living in your little idealistic fantasy world.

      December 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  28. Barrett

    Bottom line for me is that this is a ridiculous article, that underneath all the words is just trying to tie a "culture of sharing" somehow between Bradley Manning's actions (which were reprehensible) and "pirating media" online, and by extension the need for the pending SOPA legislation now being debated in Congress. Consider that CNN and most other traditional media outlets won't touch the SOPA story with a ten-foot pole, since most of these media outlets have parent companies who are the ones pushing for SOPA legislation behind the scenes. Mentioning what Bradley Manning did in the same article with kids pirating media is reprehensible,,,Libby Lewis, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    December 22, 2011 at 9:25 am | Reply
  29. wharf0rat

    Bradley Manning is a real hero. Not one of those so-called "heroes" who blindly follows the orders of war criminals. We should have a parade for Manning for exposing the truth. Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld should be in prison awaiting trial for war crimes.

    December 22, 2011 at 9:23 am | Reply
    • neoritter

      No, no he's not. Get your head out of your a$$.

      December 22, 2011 at 9:29 am | Reply
    • Don

      He will get a parade, he will get paraded right to a jail cell where he belongs

      December 22, 2011 at 9:30 am | Reply
    • Bill C

      Wharfrat: Put down the spiked egg nog. That argument is as old as Christmas. If you want to gauge the Iraq war, look at what has happened in the mere 48 hours since President Obama pulled out the troops Tons of violence and killings. Our warrior did a wonderful job winning the war, and now Obama is losing the peace.

      December 22, 2011 at 9:33 am | Reply
      • wharf0rat

        Look what happened in the eight years since this illegal war began: tons of violence and killings.

        December 22, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Eric in RTP

      Bradley Manning is a traitor and should be executed for his high treason.

      December 22, 2011 at 9:37 am | Reply
    • Robert

      You are a despicable piece of crap. Manning needs to be marched to the gallows. I would offer that you should be next to him.

      December 22, 2011 at 9:37 am | Reply
    • Rocky

      Wharfrat, If it wasn't for these "so called hero's" you'd be speaking German right now and someone would be putting you into a labor camp or putting a bullet in your head. Not a bad idea when you come to think about it.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
      • wharf0rat

        Thank God for Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld! Saving us from those German-speaking Iraqi's, with their weapons of mass destruction, poised to invade the US to set up labor camps!

        December 22, 2011 at 11:49 am |
      • Jean Sartre

        Study up on Chinese ROCKY; I think you've taken, at least, one too many punches...

        December 22, 2011 at 11:51 am |
      • Joshua S

        The "intel" he leaked was old news. And WWII has nothing to do with this situation, so lay off the extremo nationalism. Bradley Manning is a traitor technically, and he is a criminal. He also exposed the real criminal killings of unarmed civilians, that should not be overlooked. The Iraqi people, unarmed civilians, have been killed to the tune of HALF A MILLION due to the war. That is what our so called freedom costs, the countless lives of innocents in another country. There is no threat to our freedom here in the states, be realistic. Only threats to our interests overseas. I am in the Army. I understand what he did was illegal, and I do think he should be punished. But I also could understand why he did it. I think what I find the least repulsive about his actions, is that he didn't sell any of the documents he took. The world has a right to know what "our freedoms" cost to the Iraqi people. I am sad that it had to come out like this though. It is a stain on our military all around.

        December 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • theStugatz

      God people like you are dumb. Seriously. Get your head out of your a $ $ hole. He is a traitor and deserves execution.

      December 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  30. michaelfury

    December 22, 2011 at 9:15 am | Reply
  31. Howard

    Bottom-line is that if a person is limited in what they have access to, once they have made that decision to void the position of trust and confidence they have been granted by virtue of receiving a security clearance and having access to classified information, they will take that next step and sell, release or even destroy the information. This a conscious decision to willfully commit a crime. Even with controls and limitations in place a person intent on doing so can find a way around them to accomplish their desired task. In this case failures of others with knowledge of the individual to take action to prevent him from doing so is a separate issue that needs to be addressed but does not excuse the person for the actions they decided to take.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:53 am | Reply
    • Don

      You are correct, that is why a background investigation is done before the security clearance is granted. it is also why the government takes any breach of protocol seriously.

      December 22, 2011 at 9:32 am | Reply

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