Pfc. Bradley Manning continues to be a news item as the story of his uploading classified U.S. military documents in 2010 to WikiLeaks is made public in court three years later. What a tragic waste of work hours and energy all of it — his actions, the investigation, the court time and media attention — has been.
If public records and public documents about government activity were more central to our knowledge about government operations and less like a privilege at peaking behind the scenes then we wouldn’t need WikiLeaks or the likes of Manning. Not all secrets need to be revealed, but so much of what we learn through WikiLeaks needn’t be a surprise when governments are open-handed on their own about what is being done.