The Manning Effect

As Bradley Manning’s trial begins at Fort Meade, Eli Lake credits him with changing the face of the war on terrorism:

Some commentators have credited Manning’s leak with providing a spark for the revolutions that toppled the governments of Egypt and Tunisia and triggered uprisings in Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen, collectively known as the Arab Spring. Files leaked by Manning disclosed a secret relationship between the U.S. government and President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, to allow drone strikes inside the country where the United States was not in a declared war. Another cable detailed the private investments and holdings of the Tunisian ruling family. …

“WikiLeaks was an enormous wakeup call for the government,” said Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the University of Maryland’s college of journalism. In the past, she said, reporters from the mainstream media who obtained classified information would negotiate the details they would publish with senior government officials. Manning, she said, “uploads it to an anonymous site and it goes around the world almost instantly. They see that and say, ‘Oh my God, we are screwed.’”

Susan Armitage describes the difficulties of covering the Manning trial:

While the trial is open to the public, journalists covering the pretrial hearings have been frustrated by the military judge’s refusal to release court documents, including the written rulings and a transcript of the proceedings. Through a crowdfunding campaign, Freedom of the Press Foundation raised nearly $60,000 to hire professional court stenographers to create a public transcript, but the stenographers were denied press passes, the foundation announced Saturday.