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Inside the Life and Mind of Bradley Manning

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, August 9 2010

Here's a thought-provoking twist. Laying at the heart of the case of Bradley Manning, the Army specialist accused of leaking military documents to Wikileaks, may be Don't Ask Don't Tell, reports the New York Times' Ginger Thompson:

But it was around two years ago, when Pfc. Bradley Manning came here to visit a man he had fallen in love with, that he finally seemed to have found a place where he fit in, part of a social circle that included politically motivated computer hackers and his boyfriend, a self-described drag queen. So when his military career seemed headed nowhere good, Private Manning, 22, turned increasingly to those friends for moral support.

And now some of those friends say they wonder whether his desperation for acceptance -- or delusions of grandeur -- may have led him to disclose the largest trove of government secrets since the Pentagon Papers.

“I would always try to make clear to Brad that he had a promising future ahead of him,” said Daniel J. Clark, one of those Cambridge friends. “But when you’re young and you’re in his situation, it’s hard to tell yourself things are going to get better, especially in Brad’s case, because in his past, things didn’t always get better.”

Manning's growing frustrations with the limitations of Army life, suggests Thompson, might have found a ready outlet in Julian Assange's online creation, a space dedicated to the idea that the idea that the truth is the key to an honest life and a just universe. Give it a read.