Wired has an excellent profile of the Wikileaks mole, one that's worth a read in its entirety. Here's a brief background:
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.
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.
You might remember that the short video, one in which an Army Apache crew guns down several militants on a Baghdad street, caused quite a fuss -- particularly in the more breathless corners of the blogosphere and mainstream media -- despite the fact that the crew was exonerated nearly two years before Manning was able to inundate cyberspace with classified data. In response, the Pentagon was forced spend untold resources playing defense on the PR front, while launching an investigation into both the identity of the leaker and the scope of the leak itself (as Wired reports, it was considerable).
Some on the left played this guy up as a whistleblower, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the Apache video leak. But that's a serious mischaracterization. The very term whistleblower implies some sort of underlying noble intent, such as exposing flaws in a product, job safety, or serious legal violations on the part of a corporation or government office. And it implies that the whistleblower held the courage to report said transgression.
Manning was none of the above. All evidence points to him being a substandard soldier with an ax to grind, someone either too dumb or too apathetic to understand the gravity of releasing such a massive cache of military secrets. Anointing him as some sort of heroic crusader, fighting an unjust conflict from the inside , is factually erroneous, intellectually dishonest, and deeply offensive to those who wear the uniform. Pending the results of the investigation, the only title Manning has earned will be that of a common criminal.