Pfc. Bradley Manning, 22, has already been charged with leaking that footage, but now it appears he has been arrested on charges that he leaked 150,000 highly classified diplomatic cables.
The US military is worried that if the cables are made public, it could reveal the inner workings of US embassies.
It is not clear what was in the cables that the US government wants to hush-up. The Army can prove that Manning sent at least 50 of the cables to someone who should not have received them.
It seems the army fears that the egos of its diplomats are even more important than the lives of 12 Iraqi non-combatants and Reuters journalists who were killed in a helicopter turkey shoot while they chatted around a car.
The charges cited only one cable by name, “Reykjavik 13,” which appeared to be one made public by Wikileaks.org, a whistle-blowing website devoted to disclosing the secrets of governments and corporations.
In the disclosed cable we can see the US deputy chief of mission, Sam Watson, detailed private discussions he held with Iceland’s leaders over a referendum on whether to repay losses from a bank failure. Apparently Watson thought that Iceland could default in 2011.
But that was not what sailed up the nose of the Army. The cable does reveal a complaint over the “alleged use of Icelandic airspace by CIA-operated planes” by the Icelandic ambassador to the US, Albert Jonsson. Jonsson was described as “prickly but pragmatic”.
Manning now faces an Article 32 investigation, the military’s equivalent of a civilian grand jury, into charges that he mishandled classified information “with reason to believe the information could cause injury to the US.”
Officially he has been charged with four counts of violating Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for disobeying an order or regulation and eight counts of violating Article 134, a general charge for misconduct, which in this case involved breaking federal laws against disclosing classified information.
One senior commander told Associated Press: “It appeared Manning had an agenda” for the leaks.
This does not appear to have been spying, or terrorism, just simply because he was miffed with the army about the way he had been treated.