By Jim Bennett
Daily Review Atlas
Posted Aug 11, 2010 @ 03:10 PM
Coming as they have on the heels of the bloodiest month ever for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the latest revelations in the WikiLeaks scandal are about as welcome as a voice mail from Mel Gibson.
Private First Class Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, is the Pentagon’s main “person of interest” in the release over 92,000 secret military documents to the Wikileaks website. In terms of scope and severity, it’s potentially the worst compromise of national security ever.
I have a personal interest in the story. I was once an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. Every morning I reported for duty inside a large, boxy, windowless building that would have been unremarkable were it not surrounded by a tall fence topped with coils of concertina wire. It was called the “SCIF” (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) but it looked more like an “MSRC” (Maximum Security Racquetball Court).
I liked the gig; I was one of a select few with access to a place that had everybody guessing. I couldn’t count the number of times that I was asked,
“What’s inside your building?”
I quickly grew tired of repeating the old “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you,” catch phrase, so I invented a few of my own:
“We’ve got the USS Eldridge in there; we’re starting up the Philadelphia Experiment again.”
“There’s a perfectly preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex encased in a glacier in the basement. And get this: He has a UFO in his mouth.”
“Let’s just say they’re searching on the wrong coast for the remains of a certain missing Teamsters president.”
Truth be told, the SCIF was simply teeming with highly classified military message traffic. One had to have top secret clearance to work there, and that meant everyone was subjected to a background investigation so thorough that it had to be conducted by a board-certified Gastroenterologist. Each of us also had to sign non-disclosure agreements and undergo operational security training.
It’s safe to assume that PFC Manning underwent an equally rigorous vetting before he was awarded his clearance. So, if he is guilty, why did he do it?
According to some of his own statements, he felt marginalized by the Army because he’s a homosexual. Maybe his recruiter employed manipulative persuasion tactics to get him to enlist, like continually using the adjective
“FAB-ulous!” to describe military life, or perhaps the deejay at the enlisted club wouldn’t play anything by the Pet Shop Boys. Whatever the case, breaking confidentiality agreements, violating orders and putting lives at risk is not exactly going to send him rocketing through the glass ceiling.
Let’s call this what it is, shall we?
If this man did these things, this is an act of treason in wartime. So why are journalists, even Fox News, referring to Manning as a “whistleblower?” That term conjures images of a lone crusader exposing corruption. But what exactly has this leak exposed?
The Washington Post reports that, among other things, this security breach divulged the names and locations of one American intelligence operative and at least a hundred Afghan informants and their families.
Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told England’s Channel 4 that the the insurgents are pleased to have the information on the website.
“We will investigate through our own secret service whether the people mentioned are really spies working for the U.S.,” Mujahid said. “If they are U.S. spies, then we know how to punish them.”
They aren’t wasting any time: Newsweek Magazine reports that “death threats began arriving at the homes of key tribal elders in southern Afghanistan” four days after the documents were posted on Wikileaks. Khalifa Abdullah, a tribal elder in Monar village, has already been executed by Taliban gunmen.
Needless to say, Afghan locals are going to be a lot less eager to cooperate now that it appears the U.S. can’t protect the identity of informants.
If Manning is behind this leak, he has placed a gift at the Taliban’s feet; someone should have shared with this soldier how his beneficiaries feel about homosexuals.
In February 1998, for example, two men in Kandahar were convicted of sodomy by the then-ruling Taliban. They were forced to stand in front of a wall; it was toppled over onto them by a tank to crush them to death.
It’s a crazy world when a homosexual wants to help the Taliban.
Why, the next thing you know, the mayor of New York City might support the building of a mosque next to Ground Zero or something.
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