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Video: Bradley Manning subject of new PBS WikiLeaks doc

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    >> on may 26, 2010 , bradley manning was arrested. it was posted on facebook .

    >> we got confirmation that manning had been arrested. when manning called his aunt from jail.

    >> and asked her to update his facebook page with a message.

    >> it would be his final facebook entry.

    >> i just couldn't believe it. didn't seem true. i guess part of me probably believed that this would -- that this would turn out to be not anything and well, i guess i was wrong.

    >> wow, that was a scene from pbs' new front line episode, wiki secrets. with us, front line correspondent and producer, martin smith . good to have you on the show. you take a really in depth look at bradley manning and his role in all of this. what did you find about him that led you to understand more about how this all unfolded?

    >> a lot of the attention in this had gone to julian assange. he sucked up all the oxygen in the room for a long time. when we started looking into this, we thought assange is not the whistle blower here, it's the accused whistle blower here is bradley manning . we wanted to take a look at him. what you find by talking to his friends, talking to his father, looking at his facebook page over time is this was, on the one hand, an idealistic young guy, some people would say my yeef. on the other hand, a troubled guy who was struggling with democrat distinct as a gay soldier. it alienated him. he was going through a difficult break-up with his significant other at the time that he was accused or is thought to have leaked.

    >> you were speaking earlier when we were in the commercial break about the fact that private first class bradley manning nearly did not go to iraq . what happened there?

    >> his supervisor advised that he was a risk to himself and others. he was volatile. he had been reprimanded for tossing chairs and assaulting a fellow soldier. so a supervisor advised against him going. that is still under investigation. several people are being investigated at ft. drum for the decision to send him, but yet they went ahead. the fellow they were going to send had a heart attack. there was a shortage. we were scraping the barrel to get people in and out of afghanistan and iraq , as you know. many rotations.

    >> that's right.

    >> they needed intelligence analy analysts.

    >> how does it happen that you have this very volatile, in your words, young soldier, private first class bradley manning . he today is in fort leavenworth . what happened to the chain of command and the people above him? how did he get access to all of this?

    >> that's an excellent question. we found the pentagon not so willing to talk about this. we tried very hard to get to the bottom of that. what we found in that is there are systems, there are software programs, in london, they have to say that you're actually there. these systems were in existence for 15 years. they weren't activated. unusual downloading activity, half a million documents wasn't detected.

    >> this wasn't as you explained some kind of a mission impossible where he repelled in and didn't touch the sensors and got the information. he sat down at a desk. gets a cd or whatever it was, sucked every secret out of a computer. it didn't take him very long.

    >> he had a lady gaga writable cd. he pretended allegedly, in his chat that is at the center of the charges against him, that he engaged with a hacker several days before his arrest. he talks about putting a lady gaga disk into his computer and downloading -- pretending to listen to music. downloading documents.

    >> how long did if stake him to get all this information?

    >> we don't know exactly how long it took him. he said that it was extremely vulnerable, that it was laying right out there. what we know from talking to the pentagon is that they were hard on the outside, but soft on the inside. they weren't set up for insider threats. they say that we set up these forward operating bases like he was on, to get up and running quickly, and didn't install the kind of software detection, down loading detection kind of programs that they could have, because they wanted to get up and running. it's like a bank that would set up a bunch of branches around without a lot of security.

    >> pat buchanan is in washington. pat?

    >> there's been a dispute about how much damage has been done to american diplomacy about all these secrets and diplomatic exchang exchanges and all these things. what is your take on the damage assessment on what has been done through wikileaks.

    >> from talking to people in the state department , particularly, because it was the diplomatic cables that were the real mother lode . there's john anything reuponty, director of national intelligence says this was not an atom bomb , but it's very serious. it was, as he called it, a major irritant. it certainly was an embarrassment to a lot of people. a lot of people overseas in other countries lost their jobs because of some of those embarrassments. i think on the other hand, we saw american diplomats doing their job. most of them doing that job well. so i think we learned a lot from this. it should be pointed out that bradley manning wasn't into a cia database. he wasn't looking at the highest level of secrecy there was. he did have a top level security clearance . he was looking at two classified serveeres and there was a lot of information there. some of it did potentially put people's lives at risk.

    >> the question is, how does a guy who is so troubled that even when you're desperate to get men and women over to iraq and afghanistan, you have officers at home saying don't send this guy, he's volatile, and we just don't think things will end well in iraq , how do you end up sending that guy, giving him security clearance and the ability to get all of these documents? it's stunning.

    >> it's shocking, but on the other hand, things go wrong and in big systems like we're talking about, something gets by. that's what happened here. on the other hand, bradley manning was very smart. i've talked to his teachers. i've talked to his friends from early on. he was always a very smart kid. he always was very adept. but he had begun to mix with a group of computer science students and hackers around just before he was deployed. how he got a security clearance in the first place, all these are open questions , but like stuff happens.

    >> all right. front lines wikisecrets airs tonights.

    >> coming up, president obama pledges "every ounce of federal assistance

Photos: Wikileaks

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  1. (Mike Keefe / The Denver Post, Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Mike Keefe / The Denver Post, Politicalcartoons.com
    Above: Slideshow (7) Wikileaks
  2. Taylor Jones / El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico, Politicalcartoons.com
    Slideshow (8) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
  3. Mike Keefe / The Denver Post, Politicalcartoons.com
    Slideshow (7) Wikileaks

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