Arment: Army’s operational security breach located

Jason Ryan Arment

“If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day, 7 days a week for 8-plus months, what would you do?”

That’s a fun question, isn’t it? It’s one that isn’t academic for one Army intelligence analyst Spc. Bradley Manning, who asked Wired the same question in an interview.

What would I do if I had been in his place in Iraq as an intelligence analyst? Being a military man myself, I’d probably take the job very seriously. Even though I’d see things I didn’t like going on everyday, I would stay the course, get the job done and if it really upset me that much I’d wait until I had finished my duties and then try to get the public’s attention about how there needs to be a change in the overseas paradigm.

If for some reason I lost my mind — which has been known to occur, as I get cranky in combat zones — and decided it would be a good idea to do something illegal, like leak documents that were classified, I definitely wouldn’t talk about it.

Because if anyone found out, the government would be more than a bit perturbed, and would probably ruin my life completely. The U.S. war machine is an institution after all, and like all institutions, it will protect itself by making an example of turncoats.

I am not Manning. He did about the opposite of what I would have done.

Wired reported, “Manning was turned in late last month by a former computer hacker with whom he spoke online. In the course of their chats, Manning took credit for leaking a headline: making video of a helicopter attack that Wikileaks posted online in April. The video showed a deadly 2007 U.S. helicopter air strike in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several innocent civilians.”

Don’t think this guy was some kind of hero whistle-blower. If he had put forward an instance where the Rules Of Engagement had been breached and civilians had been unjustifiably murdered, or some kind of e-mail exchange that fingered top officials for conspiring to or breaking the law, it would be different.

It would be different because he would have had to have taken concise pieces of information and presented them in a way that made the average person understand what he as an intelligence analyst could readily understand.

Again, he did the exact opposite of that.

“He said he also leaked three other items to Wikileaks: a separate video showing the notorious 2009 Garani air strike in Afghanistan that Wikileaks has previously acknowledged is in its possession; a classified Army document evaluating Wikileaks as a security threat, which the site posted in March; and a previously unreported breach consisting of 260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables that Manning described as exposing ‘almost criminal political back dealings’,” according to the Wired article.

You read that right; he dumped 260,000 classified communications into unsecured hands because he didn’t like the politics that were going on in them.

Evidently Manning joined the military to be the universal moral code for how the United States does business, not to do his job as an intelligence analyst and keep his word when he signed documentation that he wouldn’t abuse his security clearance by divulging government secrets.

If he observed something illegal taking place, he should have reported it to the inspector general. The inspector general investigates reported discrepancies by military personnel, and he could have done so anonymously.

Manning broke his word, plain and simple. He gave an oath to never betray his country when he was sworn in. But with his actions, he showed it was more important to satisfy his agenda of renegade justice than to be true to his word.

What are we left with if we don’t have our word as bond? Are we just left with someone’s intentions when they make a promise? The whole purpose of a promise is to ensure someone will do what they say later, no matter what they feel like.