November 30, 2010
The Wikileaks saga continues with the latest “dumping” of over 250,000 diplomatic cables. The fallout – and its impact on the individuals caught up in these missives – will be immeasurable.
The fallout for one individual though is fairly certain: Private First Class Bradley Manning.
Pfc. Manning is the U.S. military member allegedly responsible for illegally downloading these and other classified files (onto a CD-rom disguised as a Lady Gaga album) and making them available to Wikileaks.org.
Pfc. Manning. 23, is currently detained and awaiting court martial for his role in these leaks. He stands charged with “transferring classified data” and “delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source.” He faces 52 years in jail if found guilty.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice can be found on Westlaw searching in FMIL-USCA. Search for pr(“uniform code of military justice”). A natural language search of “leaking information” in Shanor and Hogue’s National Security and Military Law in a Nutshell (NSMILLAW-NS) retrieves 17 articles. A broader plain language search through all secondary sources on WestlawNext for the phrase “leaking classified military information” results in 125 documents – including articles entitled Prosecuting the Press: Criminal Liability for the Act of Publishing and The Classified Information Protection Act: Killing the Messenger of Killing the Message?
According to the New York Times, Manning once wrote, “I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me plastered all over the world press.” Given these words, perhaps it is safe to assume he understood the life-altering implications of his alleged actions.