News

Is Notorious Army Secrets Leaker Gay - Or Transgendered?

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Jun 24, 2010

A young Army intelligence officer who leaked sensitive information has been placed under arrest. But a larger question about the young officer's motives has been raised: was SPC Bradley Manning gay? Or could it be the case that he is transgendered?

The speculation arises from reports that Manning, 22, was facing discharge for an unspecified "adjustment disorder," and from analysis of texts that Manning himself allegedly wrote that express a reluctance to be seen "as a boy" and refer to a personal "transition."

With Manning in custody in Kuwait and a barrage of speculation in the press about his guilt, his motives, and the possibility that the government might be engaged in some sort of covert operation against Wikileaks.org, the online whistleblower organization to which Manning had supplied information, it is hard to tell what elements in the story are factual.

Wired.com posted a June 6 story on Manning's arrest, noting that Manning, who had been stationed near Baghdad, had leaked footage of a helicopter attack that killed a number of civilians in Baghdad in 2007, including two journalists.


It was that footage that seems to have tipped Manning into the world of leaks and whistle blowing. But Manning didn't stop with the leaked footage of the helicopter attack. He also provided Wikileaks with another video, showing an attack in Afghanistan as well as with an Army document that assessed the level of threat Wikileaks posed to national security. Another alleged leak--as yet unconfirmed--is a cache of around 260,000 communiqués among U.S. diplomats and staff that reportedly has the potential to wreak serious harm to relations between the United States and a number of other countries.

Manning took credit for the leaks in correspondence with a former computer hacker, claiming that the immense number of filched communiques would create a sensation once they were posted online.

"Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public," Manning allegedly wrote to Adrian Lamo, a hacker who was convicted on felony charges stemming from a 2004 hack on the New York Times, reported Salon.com on June 18. The Salon.com article noted that Lamo and Wired.com writer Kevin Poulsen--who also has in the past been convicted on hacking charges--have had a long association, and called Lamo an "extremely untrustworthy source."

The article also noted that Manning's arrest has provided the U.S. government with something it seems to have wanted for some time: a way to pursue and prosecute Wikileaks, which since 2006 has operated with caution in order not to open itself to liability of criminal charges. The article cited the very Army document that had assessed Wikileaks as a national security threat--and which had been leaked by Manning to Wikileaks.

"Web sites such as Wikileaks.org have trust as their most important center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insider, leaker, and whistleblower," a reprinted portion of the leaked document read. "Successful identification, prosecution, termination of employment, and exposure of persons leaking the information by the governments and businesses affected by the information posted to Wikileaks.org would damage and potentially destroy this center of gravity and deter others from taking similar actions."

"In other words, exactly what the U.S. Government wanted to happen in order to destroy WikiLeaks has happened here: news reports that a key WikiLeaks source has been identified and arrested, followed by announcements from anonymous government officials that there is now a worldwide 'manhunt' for its Editor-in-Chief,' the Salon.com article read. "Even though WikiLeaks did absolutely nothing (either in this case or ever) to compromise the identity of its source, isn't it easy to see how these screeching media reports--WikiLeaks source arrested; worldwide manhunt for WikiLeaks; major national security threat--would cause a prospective leaker to WikiLeaks to think twice... ?"

The founder of Wikileaks is Julian Assange, who was described in a June 7 New Yorker article as an itinerant "international trafficker, of sorts" specializing in sensitive material. "Since it went online, three and a half years ago, [Wikileaks] has published an extensive catalogue of secret material, ranging from the Standard Operating Procedures at Camp Delta, in Guantánamo Bay, and the 'Climategate' e-mails from the University of East Anglia, in England, to the contents of Sarah Palin's private Yahoo account,' the New Yorker article continued.

" ...WikiLeaks is not quite an organization; it is better described as a media insurgency," noted the article. "Assange does not even have a home. He travels from country to country, staying with supporters, or friends of friends-as he once put it to me, 'I'm living in airports these days.' He is the operation's prime mover, and it is fair to say that WikiLeaks exists wherever he does."

Assange recently gave an interview in which he discussed "neoceonsorship" and said that Wikileaks sought to "achieve just reform throughout the world and do it through the mechanism of transparency" and spoke of Wikileaks as a "publisher of last resort."


Next: Questionable Sources



Comments

Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook