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Daniel Ellsberg: ‘Noble?’

A brilliant student and decorated soldier, Ellsberg completed a PhD in economics at Harvard before going to work for the Pentagon. He leaked confidential documents to anti-Vietnam War senators and eventually the New York Times. The fallout from the case was wide-reaching, showing from early on in the Vietnam War that the US government knew it was unlikely to be won. 

When addressing why he spoke out, Ellsberg referenced a speech made by draft resister Randy Kehler: “It was the example he was setting with his life. How his words in general showed that he was a stellar American, and that he was going to jail as a very deliberate choice – because he thought it was the right thing to do.” 


Deep throat: ‘Bitter?’

The identity of ‘Deep Throat’ was a mystery that inspired speculation for over three decades – who was the FBI informer whose leak to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein forced Richard Nixon to resign the presidency in a scandal known as Watergate? In 2005, the FBI’s former associate director Mark Felt was revealed as Deep Throat. However, his motivation remains largely a mystery. 

Woodward suggested in his book, The Secret Man, that Felt was angered when Nixon appointed former naval officer and lawyer Patrick Gray to FBI head instead of him, a 30-year veteran. Biographer Max Holland said of Felt: “If there was one thing Mark Felt was not, it was a truth teller.”


Bradley Manning: ‘Vulnerable?’

The source behind diplomatic cables published by Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, 25-year-old former private Bradley Manning faces life imprisonment charged with offences including aiding the enemy. 

A glimpse into Manning’s mind came in his instant message conversation with former hacker Adrian Lamo, during the period in which Manning was leaking information. Manning said he struggled to fit in with the army and admitted his role in the WikiLeaks scandal.

Forthcoming documentary We Steal Secrets also suggests Manning was a vulnerable individual battling with gender identity disorder. “The only safe place I seem to have is this satellite internet connection,” Manning told Lamo. Lamo went to the FBI and Manning was arrested.

 

Photos: Getty; YouTube


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