A New Era of Government Whistleblowing: From Ellsberg to Manning, Different Leaks, Different Leakers

By Kevin Katz

Part 3: Bradley Manning, The Whistleblower

With a very high likelihood of spending the rest of his life in prison, Dr. Daniel Ellsberg made it his mission in life to reproduce a secret history of America’s involvement in Vietnam. If a parallel can be drawn between Daniel Ellsberg in 1969 and Bradley (Chelsea) Manning and contemporary internet leaking, the similarities go only as far as the actual act of presenting top secret information to the American public. There are major differences in the scope, moral underpinning, and ultimate goal of the two differing phenomena (i.e. Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning). If Daniel Ellsberg’s journey to becoming “the most prolific leaker of his age” was the result of upper-middle-class sensibilities and an Ivy League zeal, Manning’s journey originated from more ordinary circumstances: poverty and middle-American indirection.

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Manning was raised in Crescent, Oklahoma, a small rural town with conservative ideals. When he was growing up, the town had one stop sign and fifteen churches. (Nicks) He was intelligent for his age, reading at the age of three, designing his first website at the age of ten and winning the top prize in his school’s science fair three times in a row. (Hansen) In addition to his intellect, Manning also had a rebellious period in his early life. He often asked his religious neighbors difficult theological questions and argued with his Sunday school teachers. He even went as far as remaining silent during his school’s Pledge of Allegiance to avoid the “under God” statement. However, regardless of his small rebellions, the people of Crescent spoke well of him. In the local magazine This Land, people from his hometown described him as “too smart for his own good,” and “a promising saxophonist in the middle school band, [he] always excelled in the science fair, and starred on the quiz bowl team.” (Nicks) In school, Manning was always polite and respectful in the classroom and had no disciplinary record from elementary or middle school. From a young age, he even spoke of joining the military someday. As his friend Jordan Davis said, “He was basically really into America. He wanted to serve his country.” (Nicks)

His father, Brian Manning, had a less favorable reputation in the town where Manning was raised. Brian Manning was a blue-collar former Navy computer analyst, who worked for Hertz car rentals as an IT manager. All accounts of Manning’s father portray him as a harsh and intolerant father figure. Neighbors of the Manning family described him as “real demeaning” and more bluntly, “Brian’s a dick.” (Nicks) He would go away on business trips, for months at a time on occasion. Bradley’s mother, Susan Fox, who Brian had met while he was stationed in the UK, couldn’t drive even though they lived miles away from the center of town. When Manning’s father would go away on these business trips, he would stock up the house with food and supplies, leaving his wife and son isolated from everything and everyone around them. (‘Interview With Brian Manning) Though Bradley had the luxury of leaving the house to go to school and see his friends, his mother was left alone in the house, left to combat her loneliness with alcohol, often starting her day with some vodka in her tea. (Nakashima)

One day, when Manning was thirteen, his father told him that he would be separating from Manning’s mother and moved out suddenly. Not long after, Manning and his mother moved into town, finding a small house to rent by a Baptist church. As his family fell apart around him, Manning’s grades dropped in school, all while he entered puberty and began to understand his sexuality. Manning called his two best friends and asked them to meet with him so he could give them some important news. In addition to telling them that he would soon be moving to Wales with his mother to go to high school, he also told his two best friends that he was gay. (Nicks)

So Manning moved to his mother’s hometown of Haverfordwest, Wales, a slightly larger town with a population of 13,367. (Nicks) Though he never publicly announced his homosexuality in Wales, he was still treated as an outsider, ridiculed for his accent, small size, and effeminate mannerisms. In addition to being teased for his physical characteristics, Manning was also increasingly alienated because of his ardent American patriotism. (Nicks) Rejected by most of his peers, Manning found solace in the outlet of so many other young alienated men: computers and the Internet. He spent his lunch periods and any other free time he had in his school’s computer lab, learning how to write code and develop websites. In his early experiments, he developed a website that functioned like a less sophisticated version of Facebook. It allowed people to create online communities and find local news. During his time learning how to code and develop websites, he also taught himself the basics of Web servers and Internet routing; a valuable asset in his future. (Hansen)

After graduating from high school in Wales, Manning’s American patriotism and desire for change brought him back to Oklahoma to live with his father in Oklahoma City. Putting his computer skills to work, he joined a small tech start-up called Zoto. The tech startup was a much more liberal environment than he was used to and he developed strong opinions about the deteriorating situation in Iraq; co-workers remember him speaking out against President Bush on multiple occasions. Though more than competent as a coder, his emotions and loneliness often got in the way of his work. His manager at Zoto, Kord Campbell, remembered Manning having a “thousand mile stare” and once described him as being “quirky as hell.” In his time at the tech startup, he developed a reputation for being strange and erratic; after a shouting match with his boss, he was let go. (Leigh and Harding)

Meanwhile, his relationship with his father and step-mother quickly deteriorated and without any prospective employment, Manning left his home and began drifting across the country from Chicago to Maryland, flitting from one menial job to another. Though years later, he would say that he was thrown out of his father’s home for being gay, his father disputed this claim in a PBS Frontline interview and stated that he had always accepted his son’s sexuality. (‘Interview With Brian Manning’) A recording of a 911 call from Manning’s stepmother, in which she describes Manning throwing objects at her and threatening her with a knife, gives some insight into his emotional and mental instability. She frantically says in the recording, “I have been telling him he needs to get a job and he won’t get a job! He said he thinks he should just be able to take money from us.” (‘The Bradley Manning 911 Call’) Although Manning wasn’t arrested, the police still escorted him away from his father’s house. He returned a few days later, left in his pickup truck, and drove to Tulsa with nowhere to stay and no direction in life.

For the next several months, Manning spent some time sleeping in his pickup truck and then in the room of his friend from Crescent, Jordan Davis, until he could find his own apartment in town. (Nicks) He drifted from job to job, first working as a waiter at a pizza place and then at a music store. Continuing his journey, he drifted first to Chicago and then to Maryland, working various retail jobs, before finally moving into his aunt’s house near Rockville, MD and enrolling in the local community college. (Nicks)

Having learned how difficult life would be without a college degree, Manning needed to get his life on track. He wrote, “[I was] in desperation to get somewhere in life.” (Hansen) However, he just didn’t have the means of paying for a four-year university, so he turned to his father for assistance. His father told him to do what many broke and lost men before him had done: join the military. Even though Manning had exhibited patriotism and a deep admiration for the armed forces years earlier, his criticism and general opposition to operations in the Middle East left him conflicted. Years later, his father would say that he, “twisted his [son’s] arm,” to get him to join the military. (‘Interview With Brian Manning’)

In the PBS Frontline interview, Brian Manning stated that “He didn’t want to join, but he needed structure in his life, he was aimless. I knew in my own life that joining the Navy was the only thing that gave me structure.” (‘Interview With Brian Manning’)

After months of aimlessness, Manning decided to enlist in the Army, which, as promised, imposed some sort of direction on his life and career. After enlisting in August 2007, he spent a year in basic training until his superiors recognized his computer skills and pushed him into specialized training as an intelligence analyst. In October 2009, two years after enlisting, he was shipped out to Iraq and thrust suddenly into the world of top-secret wartime intelligence. (Poulsen)

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Manning’s military career proved to be just as rife with conflict as his life before enlisting. He was demoted in 2010 for hitting another soldier and shouting at a superior, actions which resulted in him being assigned to menial tasks such as carrying boxes to-and-from the supply closet and working at events that hardly anyone attended. (Hansen) One day, a fellow soldier found him on the floor, curled up in a fetal position and on another occasion, a different officer found him sitting alone in a room with a knife. The two words “I want” were carved into a wooden chair beside him. (‘ In-depth notes from the art. 32 courtroom’) Although these were documented cases of emotional instability, and a superior actually removed the bolt from his rifle out of fear for his mental state and safety, he still retained his secret classification privileges.

Part of the reason why Manning was demoted, was definitely because of his questionable mental state, but another reason may have been because, at this point, he did little to conceal his homosexuality. He even went to demonstrations against California’s Proposition Eight, a piece of anti-gay-marriage legislation, while he was stationed at a base in upstate New York. At the demonstration, he told a reporter that he had been kicked out of his house and lost a job because of his homosexuality. For Manning, the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy forced him to “live a double life.” (Nicks)

On Facebook, many of his status updates referred to a boyfriend, named Tyler Watkins, who lived in Boston. The two had met while Manning was on leave there before shipping off to Iraq. One of his statuses read, “Bradley Manning is glad he is working and active again, yet heartbroken being so far away from hubby.” While another read, “Bradley Manning is in the barracks, alone. I miss you, Tyler!” (Mitchell) Later, he would write about his decision to transition to becoming a female named Breanna Manning. He even spent multiple days dressed as a female in public on one of his leaves, and began planning the electrolysis and other sex-change procedures for after his discharge. (Hansen)

However, what Manning cited as the moment which set him on the path to leaking all of the information that he did, was not the result of his social struggles in the Army. The crucial moment occurred while he was doing his work as an analyst, a single worker among hundreds of thousands who had access to the military’s vast troves of classified information; and it occurred much faster than Ellsberg’s multiple-year transformation from government analyst to peace activist.

The Iraqi Federal Police had detained fifteen people for printing “anti-Iraqi literature” and Manning was charged with investigating the incident. Upon looking into the situation, Manning soon determined that the detainees had not advocated using violence, but simply wrote what he called a “scholarly critique” of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Their “anti-Iraqi literature” was just commentary looking into the possibility of corruption in the Prime Minister’s cabinet. Manning later wrote that he “immediately took that information and ran to the officer to explain what was going on. He didn’t want to hear any of it…he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the [police] in finding more detainees…Everything started slipping after that…I saw things differently. I had always questioned the way things worked, and investigated to find the truth. But that was a point where I was a part of something. I was actively involved in something that I was completely against.” (Hansen)

Following this discovery, Manning investigated further, looking through the State Department database he would later be accused of leaking to WikiLeaks. He found 251,000 assorted memos that described, in great and forthright detail, some of the most confidential interactions between various world leaders. He described his discovery as “crazy, almost criminal political back dealings, the non-PR versions of world events and crises, all kinds of stuff like everything from the buildup to the Iraq War during Powell, to what the actual content of “aid packages” is: for instance, PR that the US is sending aid to Pakistan includes funding for water/food/clothing…that much is true, it includes that, but the other 85% of it is for F-16 fighters and munitions to aid in the Afghanistan effort, so the US can call in Pakistanis to do aerial bombing instead of Americans potentially killing civilians and creating a PR crisis.” (Hansen)

“There’s so much…it affects everybody on earth…everywhere there’s a US post… there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed…Iceland, the Vatican, Spain, Brazil, Madagascar, if its a country, and its recognized by the US as a country, its got dirt on it.” He went on, “it’s open diplomacy…world-wide anarchy in CSV format…it’s Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth…it’s beautiful, and horrifying.” (Hansen)

Eventually, Manning describes finding a video shot from the cockpit of an Apache helicopter, which showed a group of people being killed by the heavy machinegun on the aircraft. “At first glance, it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter…no big deal…about two dozen more where that came from,” he wrote. However, something didn’t seem right to him. The video was being stored in the file of the Judge Advocate General, which implied that the video was part of some ongoing military justice proceeding. (Hansen)

Manning investigated further and found that the video was from July 2007. In addition, he found the video’s coordinates, placing the incident in a Baghdad suburb called New Baghdad. With all of this information, he linked the incident in the video with a story in The New York Times that explained how two Reuters journalists had been killed by the soldiers carrying out the helicopter airstrike, as well as nine “insurgents” who were on the ground and in a black van; insurgents, that the military claimed, had been shooting at the U.S. soldiers. (Hansen)

Manning knew that the people on the ground clearly had not been shooting at anyone at the time of the incident. The soldiers in the Apache helicopter had shot and killed them all without any evidence that they were even insurgents, let alone shooting at them. Civilians were driving the black van that had pulled up next to the dying men to save them, a family that was trying to save the lives of a group of strangers who were dying in the street. Regardless, the helicopter showered the van with bullets, wounding two children and killing their parents. In the audio of the helicopter video, one of the soldiers says, “Well it’s their own fault for bringing their kids into a battle.” (‘WikiLeaks — Collateral Murder in Iraq by US Helicopter’)

He wrote, “I kept that in my mind for weeks…probably a month and a half.” (Hansen) After which point, Manning decided he would send the video to WikiLeaks, the first step in leaking a massive trove of classified information that would ultimately earn him the title of the “most prolific leaker in American History.”

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The leaks that would eventually lead to army private first class Bradley Manning being dubbed “the most prolific whistleblower” were not only many times larger than Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers. When juxtaposed with photocopying seven thousand pages multiple times over, Manning’s leak was also a much easier undertaking. As Andy Greenberg states in an analogy, “the difference between spending months harvesting a season of crops and playing a few hours of Farmville on Facebook.” (Greenberg)

While working as a low-level intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning simply slipped a rewritable cd titled “Lady Gaga” into his PC, deleted the music from the disc, and copied whatever top secret data he sought to leak onto the now empty cd. This remarkably simple yet cunning method of replicating the top-secret data he wanted was really the only way of accomplishing this task. His work machine was a PC that was only connected to the military’s high-security Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet), a network that is “air-gapped”: a network that isn’t connected to the Internet through either a wired or wireless connection.

By using a rewritable cd, Manning was able to copy hundreds of thousands of top-secret files and walk away in mere minutes. In Manning’s own words, “I listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’ while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history, pretty simple and unglamorous.” (Hansen) This trove of data that Manning exfiltrated allegedly included 779 files of inmates from Guantanamo prison, 91,000 files from the war in Afghanistan, 250,000 assorted memos from the US State Department, and 392,000 files from the Iraq War. (Hansen)(Nicks) The sheer magnitude of Manning’s leaks makes Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers pale in comparison. One of the CDs that Manning used to extract the files had enough capacity to store about fifty copies of the Pentagon Papers and the laser that wrote the data onto the CD could have done all of the work, that took Ellsberg over a year with a photocopier, in a minute or two.

Conversely, it would have taken Ellsberg exponentially longer had he attempted a leak the size of Manning’s using 1969 technology. The average rate of productivity for someone using a modern photocopier is about eight pages per minute. Assuming that Ellsberg was able to make copies for eight hours a day uninterrupted (for the sake of argument, let’s say from nine at night to five in the morning), even with a modern Xerox machine, it would have taken Ellsberg a total of six months of uninterrupted work to reproduce one copy of the 261 million words contained within the State Department cables. This doesn’t even include the Afghan or Iraqi war logs that Manning also leaked.

In reality, Ellsberg didn’t work as steadily as eight pages per minute. Had he kept this pace, he would have completed copying the Pentagon Papers in a week or less. Considering Ellsberg’s more realistic pace (factoring in his need for sleep, fear of being discovered, the much slower photocopier he was using, various distractions, maintaining a high-level military job, breaks for the sake of sanity, secondary copies, and the tedious task of manually removing any evidence of the files’ classification before taking them to a copy shop), it took him a total of almost three months of uninterrupted work, spread out over the course of a year, to complete his task of copying the Pentagon Papers.

If we add in the textual data of the Afghan and Iraqi war logs and Ellsberg’s need to make multiple copies, as a rough estimate, it would have realistically taken him about eighteen years to complete a Manning-sized leak. The purpose of this technological comparison is to highlight the clearest of many differences between executing a leak in the twentieth century versus executing a leak in the twenty-first.

Upon deciding to copy the top-secret information to the rewritable cd and actually leaving the Army base with the cd in hand, Manning had to figure out a way to publicize the material. He knew that going to the media was too risky, as was made obvious by the way Daniel Ellsberg’s situation panned out. He needed another option, an alternative, which he found in WikiLeaks. The whistleblowing site was developed specifically for this reason: to protect the anonymity of whistleblowers. To further ensure his anonymity and avoid possible Army surveillance, he waited until he went home on leave to upload the data to WikiLeaks’ servers.

In executing his massive military privacy breach, Manning seems to have acted as the ideal insider threat. He expertly navigated the military computer system’s vulnerabilities and successfully extracted and transmitted an enormous amount of sensitive data. Luckily for him, there was a lack of security in the systems of the Army base where he was working as an information analyst. The two SIPRNet computers he used didn’t have the forensic monitoring software that could have detected his abnormal searches and frequent data copying to a camouflaged disk. However, he wanted to take extra precautions, which meant that he couldn’t transfer the data over military networks that were connected to the Internet.

To avoid making the data transfers over a military-surveilled Internet connection, he waited until he was back in the United States to upload the data via his MacBook on a nonmilitary network. (Hansen) Once he made it home on leave (probably at his aunt’s house in Rockville, MD), he made the data transfer using a combination of security/privacy tools to hide every component of the leaking chain connecting himself and WikiLeaks.

First, the WikiLeaks Web servers that he connected to use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption, which is commonly used on banking and e-commerce sites to hide personal data from network snoops. He then used SSH FTP (Secure Shell File Transfer Protocol), which is a tool that creates a “tunnel” of encryption between two remote systems that allows them to securely share files. His final and arguably most significant method of covering his tracks was using Tor. Tor is an anonymity tool that rerouted his path to WikiLeaks’ “drop site” through a series of broadly dispersed hops around the Internet. Each new address or hop in the series is encrypted to prevent anyone who was monitoring him from piecing together his origin and final destination. (Hansen)

By deploying this series of precautions and setting up a hidden, trace-resistant connection, Manning was able to securely siphon the top-secret data through Tor’s obscuring tangle of addresses around the world and out to WikiLeaks’ server at a data center in Stockholm.

The ways in which Manning took advantage of the military network’s vulnerabilities continue to provide evidence as to how and why his situation differed so significantly from Daniel Ellsberg’s. It is obvious that the technology available to each of them was extremely different, but it is also important to note the differences in their individual abilities to use that technology. Ellsberg had access to the information that he did because of his status and notable career, while his ability to reproduce and publicize that information (in addition to remaining anonymous) was hindered significantly by the relatively primitive technology of 1969 and his unfamiliarity with it. Conversely, Manning had no privileged status or notable career that granted him access to the top-secret information that he acquired. His ability to access and distribute that information was solely the result of access to a wealth of modern technology and his adeptness in using that technology. In this way, we begin to see how technology plays an important role in our analysis of governmental privacy breaches in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

However, it is also important to note the external circumstances that contributed to Manning’s ability to execute such a large security breach. Though Daniel Ellsberg was willing to put his relationships, career, and freedom on the line, the act that could have put him in prison for the rest of his life actually transformed Ellsberg into a national hero. This is in stark contrast to Manning’s demonization by the government and media. There are differences in the scope of the leaks, as well as certain characteristics that motivated those leaks. However, we must examine the circumstances leading up to and the reactions following Manning’s leak to gain a fuller understanding of not only how the two phenomena are similar, but also how they differ.

In the Baghdad base, where Manning was working as an analyst, the security was incredibly subpar. In his words, the base’s security was negligent “physically, technically, and culturally…the culture fed opportunities” (Hansen) There were many analysts in the same room, all watching music videos and other non-military media, even frequently burning data to cds and dvds. In addition, even though the network his computer was connected to did not include a connection to the Internet, the monitoring of SIPRNet was crude at best. In a conversation Manning had with an NSA agent about whether suspicious local activity could be detected on the network, the agent responded that “it wasn’t a priority” and in regards to the possibility of internal leaking: “I doubt anyone could figure it out…resources are strained.” (Hansen)

Senator Susan Collins questioned State Department officials, in a Senate hearing in 2011, over the network vulnerabilities Manning exploited in order to achieve his massive data leak. “How could it be that a low-level member of the military could download such a volume of documents without it being detected for so long? That truly baffles me.” (‘Information Sharing and WikiLeaks’) In response, the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Tom Ferguson, responded, “The situation in the theater was such that we took a risk. We took a risk that by putting information out there…to provide agility and flexibility of the military forces there, they would be able to reach into any database on SIPRNet, download that information, and move that information using removable media.” (‘Information Sharing and WikiLeaks’) In response to why there weren’t network forensics to at least catch Manning after he leaked the information, “A lot of the systems there are, for lack of a technical term, cobbled together. It’s not just like Bank of America where it’s one homogenous system and they can insert things and take them out. They have multiple systems and putting in new intrusion software or monitoring tools, you have to approach each system differently.” His responses became more and more defensive as the Senator questioned the military’s negligence. “These people are cleared, they go through background investigations…Frankly, most of our focus was on the outside intruder threat, not the inside threat.” (‘Information Sharing and WikiLeaks’) In a similar fashion to Daniel Ellsberg, Manning snuck his data out right under the military’s nose. Had he stopped there, he might not have been caught and prosecuted so severely, but he didn’t.

His only slip-up was a major one: he recounted his story, in full detail, to someone he thought he could trust, even though he was a random person he had met online. This person was Adrian Lamo, a veteran in the hacking community, and for a low-level soldier who had just executed the largest exfiltration of top-secret data in history, Lamo probably seemed like someone who he could confide in.

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One day Lamo received an encrypted chat from Manning, “Hi. How are you? I’m an army intelligence analyst, deployed to Eastern Baghdad, pending discharge for ‘adjustment disorder’…I’m sure you’re pretty busy. If you had unprecedented access to classified networks fourteen hours a day seven days a week for eight plus months, what would you do?” (Hansen)

As their chat continued, Manning explained how he had connected to WikiLeaks servers using a common form of Web encryption (SSL), used an encrypted method of transferring the files (SSH FTP), and used an anonymity tool called Tor, which hides a user’s path to and from a certain server. With all of these precautions, he safely and anonymously transferred the top-secret information to WikiLeaks’ servers. (Hansen) However, Manning never even considered that the veteran hacker he was confiding in would have been in contact with Army counterintelligence officers within seventy-two hours of starting their chat. (Greenberg)

In fact, Manning was so confident that he was going to get away with it, he told Lamo that because there wasn’t an open investigation and that he had taken measures to delete any records of his file transfers, in addition to the number of privacy and anonymity tools he had used in the transfer, “I don’t think it’s going to happen. I mean, I was never noticed.” (Hansen) Less than a week after he started his chat with Adrian Lamo, Army criminal investigators arrested Manning. The more than two-dozen charges leveled against Manning included violating the Espionage Act and aiding the enemy, which can be punishable by execution. Manning’s prosecutors didn’t want to have him executed though, what they fought for was life in a military prison. (“Court martial sought for suspected WikiLeaks leaker”)

In the following months, federal investigators obtained warrants and confiscated his computers, finding all of the incriminating evidence they needed tying Manning to the leaks in question: thousands of top-secret documents as well as chat logs between Manning and Julian Assange in which Assange lent his expertise to help Manning get into an administrators account to gain access to the military network. (BBC) He had attempted to erase the evidence on his MacBook by overwriting the files with “junk data,” but unfortunately his laptop aborted the process, leaving remnants of the files. In addition to the Gitmo detainee files, ten thousand state department cables, and chat logs between Manning and Assange, they also found a “readme” file that Manning had included with his massive leak to WikiLeaks. It read “This is possibly one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war, revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare. Have a good day.” (Zetter) However, it wasn’t any of this that led investigators to Bradley Manning. It was Adrian Lamo, who Manning had mistakenly confided in, that put federal investigators on his trail.

Prior to Manning’s confession to Lamo, it would have been impossible for investigators to confiscate not only every machine on the SIPRNet, but also every possible laptop used by every intelligence officer on leave in every home in America. Manning was one of 1.2 million Americans with top-secret security clearance. Every tool he used worked perfectly. None of the digital fingerprints initially led investigators to Manning’s name; it was his incriminating chat with Adrian Lamo. Before Manning’s chat with Lamo, a forensic trail linking WikiLeaks to Manning’s identity was never found.

At this point, it is important to examine the differences between Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. It is clear that the fundamental difference between these two leakers and their processes is that Ellsberg spent months combing through his information — ultimately picking, editing and releasing seven thousand pages of data to The New York Times. This was a leak of specific information that exposed decades of US involvement in Vietnam, which was withheld from the American public; the Pentagon Papers were a study, an analysis. Although Manning was motivated by a similar disgust for the actions of the US military, his leak was the result of a decision made with much less discretion. The information Manning exfiltrated had no analytical structure or basis around any study. Though Manning’s intentions may have been in the right place, his actions were the result of very little reflection relative to Ellsberg’s leak. He spent, at most, a month and a half mulling over the idea of leaking the Apache helicopter video, after which, he just decided to give WikiLeaks everything he could get his hands on. Ellsberg’s leak was more reflective and analytical, while Manning’s was a rougher, less cohesive dump of data. Considering Manning’s personal history, a life of rejection and questionable mental stability, it is likely that his decision to leak the information to WikiLeaks was more a result of his own psychological issues. As someone who sought peace and acceptance throughout his life, perhaps he felt as if he could relate to the persecution of the Iraqi people by the U.S. military. By exposing the U.S.’s wrongdoing, perhaps he would bring the Iraqi people peace, and inevitably, himself in the process.

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