Like the 1971 Pentagon Papers case before it, the so-called Wikileaks case is seen by US government officials as devastating to US national security interests, in which the lives of US officials and its informants abroad have been put into danger. Critics of the US see the Wikileaks case, conversely, as a chance to see the truth about alleged US misdeeds during the past decade since Sept. 11, 2001, a time during which the Bush and Obama administrations set aside longtime US laws against torture and indefinite detention.
As the Monitor has reported, Wikileaks’s release of diplomatic cables, starting just over a year ago, has not only been an embarrassment for US diplomats and policymakers, but also many of the foreign leaders and informants whom American diplomats are negotiating with, meeting, and attempting to influence. Efforts have been made by Wikileaks editors and by news organizations such as The New York Times and the Guardian to blot out the names of informants, in order to protect them from reprisals, but in some cases prominent journalists and opposition figures have been exposed and forced to flee into exile.
The government has called 20 witnesses in the Manning case, most of them fellow soldiers in Manning’s unit and computer experts. Prosecutors believe they can prove that Manning leaked the documents to Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange, and that he knew what he was doing was against the law.