Chelsea Manning: Traitor or Freedom Fighter?

Samuel Kim, Staff Writer

Some say that Chelsea Manning (formerly known as First Class Private Bradley Manning) is a freedom fighter. They say she released the horrible atrocities in the Baghdad airstrike and other known failures of the the government. Some even credit the former soldier for spurring the work of well-known leakers, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. To many in the cyber community, Manning is looked at as a hero. However, in the opinion of U.S. officials, including President Trump, Private Manning is a traitor, a disgrace to the military.

To that end, those who opposed Chelsea Manning are right. She disclosed the largest amount of classified information in United States’ history. The private was charged with disobeying orders and aiding the enemy. The dangers associated with disclosing sensitive information include the fact that terrorists can get a hold on such intelligence and strike. Furthermore, hostile nations can also take advantage of such leaks to humiliate the United States. On the other hand, such leaks can help the media hold the U.S. accountable. Such accountability is necessary in a country with a citizen-soldier army. Thus, an argument can be made on both sides.

When former president Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, Trump responded by calling it a mistake. When Manning called Obama’s action a “fatal flaw,” Trump called Manning an “ungrateful traitor.” Regardless of what one thought of Private Manning’s actions, one thing was certain: the leaks the former private made were instrumental for organizations, like WikiLeaks.