Is Army Private First Class Bradley Manning a whistleblower or a criminal for releasing thousands of secret State Department documents? CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald debate the topic Tuesday night on CNN.
Manning was found guilty in a military court-martial of numerous charges for transferring hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, but was acquitted of the most serious charge against him: aiding the enemy.
Toobin described the verdict as “good,” claiming the charge of aiding the enemy was excessive but agreeing with the other charges against Manning. Greenwald, on the other hand, said Manning only faced prosecution because he was a relatively poor and politically unimportant person. He noted that Bob Woodward had published top secret information without ever fearing charges against him.
But Toobin insisted that Woodword selectively releasing information was completely different than Manning releasing 700,000 secret State Department documents.
Greenwald said it was the job of journalists to inform the public what the government was doing. He denied the documents leaked by Manning put anyone in harms way. Greenwald compared Manning to those who leaked information about the Vietnam war and the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.
“This is how investigative journalism works, Jeff,” he continued. “People inside the government with a conscience come forward when they find out things that they’re government is doing are wrong and they disclose it to the world through media outlets and journalism. If you think that’s criminal, you’re essentially calling for the end of investigative journalism.”
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by CNN, below: