If Something Seems Wrong, It Is Wrong

I remember this line well—advice from the in-house counsel of Bankers Trust Company, NY, a bank where I worked for many years. This guy gave a series of lectures on compliance to bank officers. Each of us had to attend at least once and on a trip to New York, I attended one of his briefings.

At the end of his talk he said, “if you remember anything I said, remember this, ‘if something seems wrong, it is wrong.’”

This brings me to the case of Bradley Manning. According to the Washington Post, Private First Class Manning, “is accused of violating military computer security and leaking classified information to the insurgent Web site WikiLeaks.” [My italics.] This leaked information includes, we are told, more than 250,000 classified cables from American diplomats.

As we used to say in the 70s, I’m trying to get my head around this. So the US Government and the US military claim Bradley Manning broke into the secret computer system of the US Department of State and copied over 250,000 classified diplomatic cables and gave them to Wiki leaks. (The military, by the way, just can’t seem to stop mentioning that Bradley Manning is a homosexual. Being a gay guy, I find this both insulting and bizarre because the inference is somehow Manning being gay has predisposed him to commit treason against the US.)

I would think Manning must be a four star general to have that level of access. No. He’s a private first class, the second lowest rank in the US Army. According to the US military section of about.com, there are 56,757 privates first class in the US Army, comprising 14.1% of the total man/woman power of the Army. Somehow, one of those privates first class, without anyone noticing, broke into one of the secure networks of the US Department of State, a completely separate cabinet department of the US Government, and copied 250,000 classified messages. Not only did the US Army not know this had happened but neither had the US State Department.

In the military, you just can’t do whatever the hell you want. You have a job to do. Someone supervises you. There is a corporal (or various grades of specialists) and then various grades of sergeant then the company grade officers such as lieutenants and captains. Yet Bradley Manning supposedly caused all this mayhem and not one of the supervisory personnel above him noticed anything? Nothing? If not, what the hell are we paying them for and why are they still in the army?

If Manning actually did this, are we supposed to believe he did it all by himself? I find that difficult to believe since it implies that of the 56,757 privates first class in the US Army that he alone figured out how to break into not only the secret US Army computer system but also managed to break into the secret computer system of a completely separate department of the government? And no one saw him or noticed anything out of the ordinary?

This doesn’t sound right. In fact, it seems wrong. And if something seems wrong, it is wrong.

[Sources: Washington Post and About.com.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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