Kevin Poulsen and Kim Zetter report for 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.
It’s really no surprise that the Army is interesting in arresting leakers, but it’s a reminder of what weak tea the notion that there can be no prosecutions of Bush administration officials because that would be “looking backwards” instead of forwards is. Investigatory agencies are always looking back, it’s just a question of what they look for. And under Barack Obama we’re basically looking at the things the permanent national security state wants looked into. An alternative investigation might focus not on who leaked classified video of a U.S. military operations, but on the question of why that sort of video should be classified. Certainly I can see why the Army might have preferred to keep it under wraps—in the eyes of many it reflected poorly on their conduct—but it hardly contained operational military secrets. In general, we expect things undertaken by America’s public servants in America’s name on America’s dime to be matters of public record. The security services have, however, largely managed to leverage the legitimate need for some level of operational secrecy into a fairly broad exemption of themselves from this basic principle.