After being found guilty of leaking government documents, Pfc. Bradley Manning was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison and dishonorably discharged from the military.
Ellen Nakashima argued that the case raises troubling issues. "Placing information in the public domain has never before been construed as aiding the enemy," she wrote. "Manning had a history of emotional outbursts throughout his youth, and they continued during his Army service, culminating in a breakdown in Baghdad. How did a young man of such promise wind up in a brig? And how was he in a position to potentially access sensitive material given what the Army knew — or should have known — about him?"
Jason Pontin described the technology that permitted the leaked information to be shared. "WikiLeaks’s primary website is hosted on servers managed by PRQ, the same nonjudgmental Swedish Internet service provider that serves the BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay and various pedophiles’ fora, and it is mirrored on around 1,400 other sites," he wrote. "Sources can upload documents to WikiLeaks using a version of the TOR network, which permits the anonymous transfer of files over the Internet, in combination with some undisclosed form of encryption, which disguises their content."
Denver Nicks tried to figure out whether Manning's leak did any harm.
And Steve Fishman described why Manning became disillusioned in Iraq. "An intel analyst sat at his work station and targeted the enemy, reducing a human being to a few salient points," he wrote. "Then he made a quick decision based on imperfect information: kill, capture, exploit, source. Any illusions Manning had about saving lives quickly vanished."