Bradley Manning PFC

One question only. How does a Private First Class get access to that much classified information?

Officers think up policy.
NCOs enact that policy through orders.
Privates follow those orders.

Same reason the butler knows everything going on in the house. Someone has to do the work.

The more important question: How was it that a private could just walk out the door with that much information.

Easy-peasy. Walk out with it like you own it.

In particular, burn it onto a CD marked “Lady Gaga” and no one bats an eye.

I would think using a stick would be a lot smarter than using a CD.

That’s brilliant! Play some Lady Gaga for a couple weeks, then ‘download’ ‘her’ ‘new album’ and you’re set.

Edit- a stick would get checked. A CD, not so much. “It’s the new Lady Gaga, you want to listen?!?” “No, move along.”

It would have been better for security reasons for the systems there not to have CD burners.

The point of having all that data is to do stuff with it, usability and security are mutually exclusive.


So why bother with all of this classifying business anyway?

Whenever the Pentagon or the CIA hires a new janitor or a new mail clerk, just give him the damned password for everything.

Manning, Snowden… private, private contractor… nobody important, but full access to everything.

It goes like this:
(a) ignore the rules - shoot civilians, download US citizens’ data, whatever.
(b) classify everything so nothing embarassing gets out - but now you can’t tell the “really needs to be classified” from the “caught in the general classify-everything sweep”
© have no serious controls over who gets to see what classified material.

I remember an article in a photography magazine in the 70’s; some journalist wanted to make a point about a security hole. he took a honkin’ big telephoto into the journalist gallery during some big summit. Nobody blinked; the guards probably didn’t have a clue. He shot some pictures over Kissinger’s shoulder of a document stamped “Top Secret” - quite legible, it was simple a summary of the day’s news.

Classify everything.

As a factual matter, you are wrong when you say Manning had full access to everything. The documents Manning stole were from a computer system limited to “Secret” data, not Top Secret or higher.

Manning’s wiki page:

Bolding mine.

Since this not really a simple question, let’s move it over to GD.

General Questions Moderator

I’m sure there are civilians with that access. NSA, for instance, is mostly civilians.

Chief Inspector: “How does an idiot become a policeman, answer me that!”
Inspector Clouseau: “It is sehmple, he applahys lahyk ahyverone else…”