By lex, on June 7th, 2010
A 22-year old army intelligence specialist has been arrested in Baghdad for leaking highly classified material to a former hacker, according to Wired:
Federal officials have arrested an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks, Wired.com has learned.
SPC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, 40 miles east of Baghdad, where he was arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. A family member says he’s being held in custody in Kuwait, and has not been formally charged…
What seemed to excite him most in his chats was his supposed leaking of the embassy cables. He anticipated returning to the states after his early discharge, and watching from the sidelines as his action bared the secret history of U.S. diplomacy around the world.
“Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed,” Manning wrote. “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.”
What’s horrifying is that a 22-year old anarchist – not quite yet a Daniel Ellsberg – found himself entrusted with the nation’s most precious secrets, the revelation of which stood to do “exceptionally grave harm” to the land that gave him birth. What’s also horrifying is the chaotic nature of physical security safely removed from the actual chaos of war.
What’s horrifying to contemplate, if you’re his family, is the time he’s going to spend making little rocks out of big ones for arrogating to himself the right to sway the fates of nations. What’s horrifying is that he clearly thought that he might get away with it. Because very few of the criminally insane – those who either can’t tell the difference between right and wrong or are unable to control themselves – seem to execute their crimes in plain sight of the constabulary.
He did it for the thrill, because it made him feel important. And he did it because he thought he wouldn’t get caught. It might have been thrilling, but it made him less important than stupidly tragic – a cyber age vandal with a security clearance and a bone to pick.
The kid’s going away.