Bradley (now known as Chelsea) Manning was an Intelligence Analystsfor the U.S. military enabling himaccess to classified information. With Manning having the clearance tobe trusted with the state secrets, he was able to download any information hehad access to. Manning eventually leaked war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan,then later on diplomatic cables to a company called WikiLeaks (Nakashima). According to WikiLeaks, their company is asite designated for anonymous sources to leak information (“WikiLeaks”). Many believedManning was considered a hero for leaking the information, while many believedotherwise.
Thesocial persecution and criticism Manning faced for releasing classifiedmilitary information was warranted because he violated his military oathresulting in treason. Manning didn’t believe that leaking classifiedinformation would affect American soldiers, citizens and the National Security.Releasing classified information was not for the greater good, but out of spite.There are other ways to raise awareness about the unethical ways the militarybehaved without putting America at risk.
Therefore, Chelsea Manning isnot a hero. According to the Washington Post, his father insisted himto join the Military after seeing his son struggle to keep a steady job; but itwasn’t his only struggle. With Manning being the smallest in his unit, he wasconstantly being picked on. Surprisingly, he wasn’t the one to hold his tongue.He fought back with his words, and often used physical actions to display his anger.This often resulted to being picked on even more (Nakashima). Manning had tomeet with a counselor to discuss his actions, but due to the “Don’t Ask, Don’tTell” (DADT) policy; regarding the service of homosexuals and bisexuals in themilitary (“DADT”), he felt uncomfortable to vent to anyone on base; due to the fearof being kicked out of the military. Therefore, he felt like it was a betteroption to consult a counselor who was off base (Nakashima).
Notonly did Manning use the counselor off base to vent his thoughts, but was oftenseen on Facebook posting frequently. His military friends were worried aboutthe things he was saying in regard to his heavy involvement of politicalactivism for gay rights (Nakashima). According to Manning’s Facebook postsprovided by PBS.
org, he discloses hints regarding his support for genderequalities. On June 1st, 2009, Manning makes a post agreeing to anattached link about Dick Cheney’s support for same-sex marriage. Later on inJune, he then makes another post conveying his support for the lesbian, gay,bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community by stating “Happy Pride!” along withhis pass aggressive comments towards the Stonewall Riots (“Bradley Manning’s”).This was a taboo topic for people in the military especially since the DADT wasin place.
Within that time of him fighting for gay rights he met (his now)ex-boyfriend Timothy Watkins. Shortly after, he then made some friends thatwere online hackers (Nakashima). It’s clear that Manning always had a hard timetrying to fit in. Being connected to his online hacker friends gave him somesense of comfort; something he lacked during his time serving the Military. It wasonly a matter of time before he started to brag about having access toclassified information; since it wasn’t something everyone had access too. There’sno way that these group of hackers had no influence on Manning leaking theseclassified documents. Withmultiple red flags regarding Mannings deployment to Iraq, such as thehesitation of his supervisor, and various other rising risk factors, Manningwas still sent to Iraq. He was one of the few that were qualified so he wassent anyways (Nakashima).
Whilein Iraq, Manning started to download the military’s classified information deliberately.After his deployment from Iraq, he started having relationship problems withWatkins and it affected him tremendously. According to the Washington Post,when Manning returned to Baghdad, the documents started to release (Nakashima).According to a Facebook post he states, “utterly lost and confused over Tyler’srelationship status” (“Bradley Manning’s”) which had an effect on Manningbecause he no longer had someone to talk to. As I’ve mentioned before, Manninghad tendencies of lashing out on people; especially at times when he feltbelittled.
At this time, he was eager toexpress his feelings about the information he collected throughout his militarycareer. He then got into contact with Adrian Lamo; who was fairly known in thehacker community, and was able to vent via instant messaging. After talking forquite some time, Lamo realized that this was something serious and confidedwith his ex-boyfriend about it – resulting to Lamo turning Manning in (Nakashima).According to the Washington Post, Manning took further advantage by exceedinghis authorized access.
The Defense Department was set up to where certaininformation was authorized through a “need to know” bases, therefore Manning didn’tneed to know any knowledge about this information. The intelligence officialthat knew about the case stated that Manning didn’t have access to Afghanistanand Iraq databases but installed an unauthorized software from the SIPRnet toget it (Nakashima). If Manning wanted to bring awareness about the unethicalthings happening in the Military, then he should’ve just released thosedocuments.
There’s no need for him to go above and beyond to not only risk theU.S. Military, but America and their allies as a whole. Some people may think the actionsManning took to leak classified information was for the greater good and resultsto her being a hero. The actions Manning took were planned, as she leaked theinformation out of spite of not being ‘heard’. She not only violated her oath,but risk the protection of U.S.
soldiers, citizens and the national security,exposing the tactics and procedures of our U.S. military. The evidence I’veprovided has further supported my argument, and therefore Chelsea Manning isnot a hero.