Prof. Glazier publishes op-ed on Bradley Manning's acquittal

Professor David Glazier gives commentary on the acquittal of United States Army solider Bradley Manning on CQ Roll Call.

Excerpt from the story, "Manning not Guilty of Aiding the Enemy but Larger Issues Loom":

Bradley Manning’s acquittal on the charge of “aiding the enemy” signals a welcome bit of rationality in an otherwise misfocused three-year executive branch endeavor that ultimately fails to address the real national security challenges revealed by this case. Conviction on that charge of an individual lacking specific intent to actually aid an enemy would have established dangerous precedent. Under the literal language of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (and historical practice pre-dating the Constitution) it can be applied by a court-martial to “any person,” not just those otherwise subject to military justice. Even more important, in my opinion, is the fact that Manning’s trial distracts us from the real national security issues raised by this incident.

I do not dispute the government’s right to prosecute Manning for leaking validly classified information. If the government is to be able to keep truly sensitive intelligence information from disclosure, it necessarily follows that it must be able to hold those who violate their obligation not to disclose such information accountable. Manning might have reasonably believed that a few of the materials he disclosed reflected efforts to cover up legal violations, in which case he should have pursued classification review within the system rather than unilaterally leaking them. But the same cannot be said of the roughly 700,000 State Department cables and war reports that he could not possibly have even had time to read, let alone have had the ability to judge the potential harm from their disclosure. So there is no basis to doubt that Manning can fairly be punished for revealing this data. But if we really care about our national security, we should ultimately be much more concerned about the systemic issues revealed by this case than the punishment of one misguided individual.