Wired reports that an Army intelligence analyst working in Iraq was arrested two weeks ago for allegedly passing classified information to the whistleblowing website Wikileaks.org, including the 2007 video of a military helicopter firing on a group of unarmed civilians in Baghdad. The analyst has also allegedly given Wikileaks a video of another notorious air strike, 260,000 classified US diplomatic cables, and a document that classified Wikileaks as a security threat to the military.
This news comes in the wake of a New Yorker profile of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and a rundown of extraordinary lengths gone to by the organization to post high profile, and sensitive, information online. That article mentions an award bestowed to Wikileaks from Amnesty International for the site's work to expose corruption in Kenya, and calls the 2007 air strike video released by Wikileaks "a striking artifact—an unmediated representation of the ambiguities and cruelties of modern warfare."
Bradley Manning, who allegedly released that video, was arrested after contacting a former hacker. The hacker, in turn, told the Army about Manning's activities, saying he reported Manning, despite donating money to Wikileaks in the past, because he believed a leak of the classified diplomatic cables were genuinely dangerous to national security. He said to Wired: “I wouldn’t have done this if lives weren’t in danger.“
Manning told the former hacker that he felt compelled to share the classified information with Wikileaks because he saw “incredible things, awful things … that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC.”
Manning also asked a friend in the US to keep him informed about the reaction to the airstrike video after it was released. Wired reports:
“He would message me, Are people talking about it?… Are the media saying anything? That was one of his major concerns, that once he had done this, was it really going to make a difference?… He didn’t want to do this just to cause a stir. … He wanted people held accountable and wanted to see this didn’t happen again.”
In a statement to NPR this morning, the military confirmed that they were conducting an investigation into Manning, who is "currently confined in Kuwait."
"If Brad Manning, 22, is the “Collateral Murder” & Garani massacre whistleblower then, without doubt, he’s a national hero."
--------------------Beth Adelson is a Communications Fellow for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower advocacy organization.