Bradley (now known as Chelsea) Manning was an Intelligence Analysts
for the U.S. military enabling him
access to classified information. With Manning having the clearance to
be trusted with the state secrets, he was able to download any information he
had 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 a
site designated for anonymous sources to leak information (“WikiLeaks”). Many believed
Manning was considered a hero for leaking the information, while many believed
social persecution and criticism Manning faced for releasing classified
military information was warranted because he violated his military oath
resulting in treason. Manning didn’t believe that leaking classified
information 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 military
behaved without putting America at risk. Therefore, Chelsea Manning is
not a hero.
According to the Washington Post, his father insisted him
to join the Military after seeing his son struggle to keep a steady job; but it
wasn’t his only struggle. With Manning being the smallest in his unit, he was
constantly 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 to
meet with a counselor to discuss his actions, but due to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell” (DADT) policy; regarding the service of homosexuals and bisexuals in the
military (“DADT”), he felt uncomfortable to vent to anyone on base; due to the fear
of being kicked out of the military. Therefore, he felt like it was a better
option to consult a counselor who was off base (Nakashima).
only did Manning use the counselor off base to vent his thoughts, but was often
seen on Facebook posting frequently. His military friends were worried about
the things he was saying in regard to his heavy involvement of political
activism for gay rights (Nakashima). According to Manning’s Facebook posts
provided by PBS.org, he discloses hints regarding his support for gender
equalities. On June 1st, 2009, Manning makes a post agreeing to an
attached link about Dick Cheney’s support for same-sex marriage. Later on in
June, he then makes another post conveying his support for the lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community by stating “Happy Pride!” along with
his pass aggressive comments towards the Stonewall Riots (“Bradley Manning’s”).
This was a taboo topic for people in the military especially since the DADT was
in 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 that
were online hackers (Nakashima). It’s clear that Manning always had a hard time
trying to fit in. Being connected to his online hacker friends gave him some
sense of comfort; something he lacked during his time serving the Military. It was
only a matter of time before he started to brag about having access to
classified information; since it wasn’t something everyone had access too. There’s
no way that these group of hackers had no influence on Manning leaking these
multiple red flags regarding Mannings deployment to Iraq, such as the
hesitation of his supervisor, and various other rising risk factors, Manning
was still sent to Iraq. He was one of the few that were qualified so he was
sent anyways (Nakashima). While
in Iraq, Manning started to download the military’s classified information deliberately.
After his deployment from Iraq, he started having relationship problems with
Watkins 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’s
relationship status” (“Bradley Manning’s”) which had an effect on Manning
because he no longer had someone to talk to. As I’ve mentioned before, Manning
had tendencies of lashing out on people; especially at times when he felt
At this time, he was eager to
express his feelings about the information he collected throughout his military
career. He then got into contact with Adrian Lamo; who was fairly known in the
hacker community, and was able to vent via instant messaging. After talking for
quite some time, Lamo realized that this was something serious and confided
with his ex-boyfriend about it – resulting to Lamo turning Manning in (Nakashima).
According to the Washington Post, Manning took further advantage by exceeding
his authorized access. The Defense Department was set up to where certain
information was authorized through a “need to know” bases, therefore Manning didn’t
need to know any knowledge about this information. The intelligence official
that knew about the case stated that Manning didn’t have access to Afghanistan
and Iraq databases but installed an unauthorized software from the SIPRnet to
get it (Nakashima). If Manning wanted to bring awareness about the unethical
things happening in the Military, then he should’ve just released those
documents. There’s no need for him to go above and beyond to not only risk the
U.S. Military, but America and their allies as a whole.
Some people may think the actions
Manning took to leak classified information was for the greater good and results
to her being a hero. The actions Manning took were planned, as she leaked the
information 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’ve
provided has further supported my argument, and therefore Chelsea Manning is
not a hero.