The U.S. State Department has begun an investigation of an Army Intel Analyst who is suspected of having leaked secret diplomat cables. The leaks could involve how U.S. diplomats evaluate foreign leaders and could also reveal the inside of American foreign policy. If the details are made public, the U.S. could suffer irreparable harm in its relationships with foreign governments.
A recent article states:
Diplomatic and law-enforcement officials tell The Daily Beast their alarm stems from the arrest of a 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst based in Iraq who has reportedly admitted that he downloaded 260,000 diplomatic cables from government computer networks and was prepared to make them public.
Specialist Bradley Manning of Potomac, Maryland, who is now under arrest in Kuwait, is also accused of having leaked—to Wikileaks, a secretive Internet site based in Sweden—an explosive video of an American helicopter attack in Baghdad in 2007 that left 12 people dead, including two employees of the news agency Reuters. The website released the video in April.
“If he really had access to these cables, we’ve got a terrible situation on our hands,” said an American diplomat. “We’re still trying to figure out what he had access to. A lot of my colleagues overseas are sweating this out, given what those cables may contain.”
He said Manning apparently had special access to cables prepared by diplomats and State Department officials throughout the Middle East regarding the workings of Arab governments and their leaders.
The cables, which date back over several years, went out over interagency computer networks available to the Army and contained information related to American diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, the diplomat said.
What is ironic about this case is that some are claiming this man to be a hero.
In a comment on the social networking website Twitter, Wikileaks said that allegations that “we have been sent 260,000 classified U.S. embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect.” Wikileaks said it did not know the identity of the source who provided it with the 2007 video from Iraq. If Manning did leak the video, the site said, he is “a national hero.”
A hero? I think not. Anything that could undermine our ability to successfully fulfill our mission in Iraq or Afghanistan, or that could pose a danger to our troops, could hardly be considered anything but treason. IMHO.
What do you think?