In the spring of 2010, Army intelligence analyst Private First Class Bradley E. Manning purportedly handed over the largest cache ever of classified documents to the internet activist and hacker, Julian Assange. Private Manning allegedly leaked the trove hoping to incite “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.” In WikiSecrets, FRONTLINE follows the trail of both Manning and Assange to uncover the truth behind the leaks. Veteran Correspondent Martin Smith also talks to the major players in the case and explores the issues at stake–from free speech to cyber security, and reports on the U.S. government’s struggle to protect national security information and the dilemma posed by the need to increase information-sharing in a post 9-11 world.
Archive for May, 2011
It’s the biggest intelligence breach in U.S. history—the leaking of more than half-a-million classified documents on the WikiLeaks website in the spring of 2010. Behind it all, stand two very different men: Julian Assange, the Internet activist and hacker who published the documents, and an Army intelligence analyst named Bradley E. Manning, who’s currently charged with handing them over. Private Manning allegedly leaked the secret cables—along with a controversial video—in the hope of inciting “worldwide discussion, debates and reforms.” Assange’s stated mission has been to force the U.S. and other governments into maximum transparency through his whistle-blowing website. Through in-depth interviews with Manning’s father, Assange, and others close to the case, veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith tells the full story behind the leaks. He also reports on the U.S. government’s struggle to protect national security information in a post 9/11 world.
A profile of the early years of the young soldier now accused of leaking more than half a million classified U.S. government documents.
FRONTLINE crosses the border into Pakistan, where correspondents Stephen Grey and Martin Smith go inside The Secret War against the militants. They uncover new details of a CIA “private army” of militiamen launching kill raids against al Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan. They also find new evidence of covert support for elements of the Taliban by the Pakistani military and its intelligence service, the ISI. At a safe-house not far from where bin Laden was killed, they make contact with one mid-level Taliban commander who tells FRONTLINE, “If they really wanted to, [the Pakistanis] could arrest us all in an hour.”