state secrets

Is Wikileaks’ Air Strike Alleged Leaker Bradley Manning Transgender?

Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence specialist accused of providing to Wikileaks classified files (including that brutal air strike video), might be one of us: Published chat transcripts between Manning and the hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned Manning in to authorities, reveal the soldier might identify as transgender.

In publishing the chat transcripts, Boing Boing‘s Xeni Jardin appears to have unknowingly outed Manning — and put him at risk of discharge under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Well, if leaking classified files doesn’t get him discharged first.

From the instant messages:

1:11:54 PM) bradass87: and… its important that it gets out… i feel, for some bizarre reason
(1:12:02 PM) bradass87: it might actually change something
(1:13:10 PM) bradass87: i just… dont wish to be a part of it… at least not now… im not ready… i wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me… plastered all over the world press… as boy…
(1:14:11 PM) bradass87: i’ve totally lost my mind… i make no sense… the CPU is not made for this motherboard…
(1:14:42 PM) bradass87: s/as boy/as a boy
(1:30:32 PM) bradass87: >sigh

Writes Jardin: “When I read the ‘somewhat less redacted’ Lamo/Manning logs before publishing them on Boing Boing, I thought the use of the word ‘transition’ meant transitioning from military to civilian life — nothing more. Manning said he was about to be discharged from the military. The ‘as a boy’ line struck me as odd, but the notion that any of this had anything to do with transgenderism never entered my mind. But now, that passage suggested that the Boing Boing commenter and the person on Twitter might be on to something. The phrases that seemed to support the commenters’ theory that Manning was pre-transition transgender were redacted from Boing Boing. A note that a redaction had taken place was added to the post.”

The chat records themselves are pretty ambiguous to the casual observer, but they certainly suggest Manning is discussing more than geekology on a second read. As Manning himself writes, “It’s such an awkward place to be in, emotionally and psychologically.”