Bradley Manning's mass disclosures to WikiLeaks 'triggered an intense reaction' inside the Obama administration to squelch future leaks to journalists – and to hunt down leakers, experts say. That reaction, in turn, is stirring debate about the right balance between secrecy and transparency.
The Obama administration’s zealous prosecution of those who leak classified information to news media is triggering a hot debate in America over where to draw the line between tight-lipped national security and the need for government transparency in a free society.
The high-profile court martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning over the WikiLeaks episode, followed by US efforts to bring Edward Snowden back to the US after his revelations about domestic surveillance programs, are the latest catalysts for discussions now raging – from the halls of Congress to oped pages to dinner tables across the country.
At the center of it all is the Espionage Act, a 1917 law drafted to protect national defense information in time of war. On one side are those who see leakers such as Manning and Mr. Snowden as spies and traitors; on the other are those who see their decisions to reveal US secrets as a measure of public service, akin more to whistle-blowing or even true patriotism.
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