Carola Mamberto As Producer
Release: May 24, 2011
Its the biggest intelligence breach in U.S. history -- the leaking of more than a half million classified documents on the WikiLeaks website throughout 2010. At the center of the controversy stands Bradley E. Manning the Army intelligence analyst whos charged with handing them over.Who is Bradley Manning and what does his story tell us about how and why the secret cache of documents may have been leaked? In WikiSecrets FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith gains exclusive access to those closest to Manning -- including his father close friends and his Army bunkmate -- and uncovers video of Manning taken around the time of the alleged handover of classified information.Smith also examines the events surrounding the publication of the leaked documents interviewing key players like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Assanges former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg and Adrian Lamo a well-known figure in the cyber underground who eventually turned Manning over to the authorities and is now living in an undisclosed location over fears for his safety."I got the sense that Bradley was very depressed" Lamo tells FRONTLINE of his impressions of Manning after the Army private sought him out in May 2010. During an online chat with Lamo that stretched over four days Manning wrote: "Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available in searchable format to the public."As the film tracks Manning from his deployment to Iraq through his arrest and imprisonment several key questions emerge -- among them the shocking ease with which Manning browsed and downloaded so much classified information from Pentagon servers despite the widely available systems developed to prevent exactly this. The case presents an important cautionary note to the theory that lower-level analysts like Manning should have access to such a wide range of intelligence: "9/11 surfaced the fact that there was less than adequate sharing of information across the government" says former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. "We went from a need-to-know philosophy to a need-to-share." Former State Department official Larry Wilkerson says the government may have shared the information too widely: "Bradley Manning does not need to know what the secretary of defense said to his counterpart in Paris."WikiSecrets also examines the relationship between Manning and Julian Assange the founder of WikilLeaks. In public statements and in his interview with FRONTLINE Assange has denied any direct contact with Manning or any WikiLeaks source. But hacker Lamo says that Manning indicated otherwise in their online chat: "He mentioned Julian Assange in the context Julian was the individual at WikiLeaks who he had initially establish contact with."Wired.coms Kim Zetter tells FRONTLINE of an email she received from Assange not long after the story broke. "He contacted me and he wanted the chat logs" she said. "He said that he needed it in order to prepare Mannings defense. ... I can only speculate but I think that he was concerned about what was in the chat logs about himself.""We dont really know whether Manning approached WikiLeaks or people around WikiLeaks or if it was the other way around" says Eric Schmitt the New York Times reporter first assigned by the paper to vet the leaked material. "But my theory is whichever way it is theres an intermediary. ... So somewhere in this mix you have Manning with access to this information youve got WikiLeaks and Julian Assange with the desire to get it and youve got a helpful intermediary. And somewhere in between here theres a transfer I believe takes place."Was Julian Assange prepared to publish some of the leaked documents without adequately redacting the names of people who could have been harmed by the disclosures? "Julian was very reluctant to delete those names to redact them." David Leigh of the Guardian newspaper tells FRONTLINE of meetings he attended with Assange in the run-up to publication of the war logs. "And we said: Julian weve got to do something about these redactions. We really have got to. And he said: These people were collaborators informants. They deserve to die. And a silence fell around the table."Assange maintains WikiLeaks employed a thorough "harm-minimization process" but insiders within the organization said the redactions were carried out in haste just prior to publication.Currently Manning remains jailed in the Army brig in Fort Leavenworth Kan. awaiting his first pretrial hearing this summer and Assange lives under police watch in a home northeast of London. He tells FRONTLINE that the work of WikiLeaks continues: "History is on our side. ... When you expose powerful organizations there will be ad hominem attacks. Yes in my personal case theyve been rather hard. But its not an unusual circumstance. ... WikiLeaks is continuing to step up its publishing speed ... and it does good. We can see the effects all around us." Watch Movies Online for Free on 10StarMovies.