NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Reportedly Inspired By Bradley Manning

manning-snowdenNational Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and Iraq war crime whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning seem to have a great deal in common and according to journalist Glenn Greenwald, Snowden was actually inspired by PFC Manning.

Both Manning and Snowden are slightly cute, vaguely nerdy white dudes who wear glasses; both find themselves on the wrong side of the law after revealing secrets that the powers that be would rather all of us not know; and both are veritable lightning rods for people on both sides of the aisle who call them whistleblowers, heroes, or traitors. Manning, of course, is gay; We don’t know about Snowden.

Here at Queerty, we’ve covered the Manning case quite a bit, but for the Snowden neophytes, here’s what you need to know: An employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton at the NSA, Snowden met with journalists from The Guardian, including Greenwald, who published bombshell stories detailing the U.S. Government’s strong-arm tactics to force Verizon to hand over phone records of private citizens, as well as achieving direct access from the NSA to personal information from the Facebook and Google accounts of private citizens.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. A handy timeline from The Guardian itself gives the dates of the meetings between Snowden and their journalists, and the first meeting and the first published date of the Guardian exclusive story are within the first few days of June, at the same time the trial of one Private First Class Bradley Manning was to begin, ending the biggest wave of mainstream media attention the Manning trial has ever received to date. PFC Manning is not a mainstream media superstar like Snowden is becoming. The story is too messy, and is fraught with minefields like war crimes, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

A common criticism leveled at people like PFC Manning and Edward Snowden is that, in our reality television/YouTube/24 hour news cycle/reality obsessed generation, these are people who sold out their country for fame. While conversations on record prove that this could’ve been a very real motivation for PFC Manning, Snowden insists that it wasn’t his.

“I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing,” he says in a profile in The Guardian. Indeed, the profile reveals a man who is almost pathologically obsessed with his own privacy as a result of his time at the NSA and his recent actions, and one who has little desire for fame or notoriety.

In Greenwald’s profile, the former NSA employee calls Manning “a classic whistleblower” who “was inspired by the public good.” Greenwald has himself referred to Manning as a hero, and in a Skyped talk to the Socialism 2013 conference over the weekend, the journalist said that Snowden cited Manning and Mohamed Bouazizi — a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire in protest of government harassment — as his role models.

Although PFC Manning is nowhere near as divisive a figure as Snowden is now, it’s impossible to deny the connection between the two. Both men are at the center of two of the biggest whistleblowing scandals in recent memory. Whether one inspired the other or not, both will inspire heated conversation and opinions for years to come.

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  • Dakotahgeo

    For some odd reason, I don’t think this is going to stop with Manning or Snowden. The US unintelligence Agency has too many ‘secrets’ and have already painted themselves into a corner and half way up the wall. Thanks to them, we have two new heroes in the USA. It would behoove them (CIA, FBI, et al) to clean up their act! ESPECially with our Allies, for God’s sake! Ummm ummm!

  • toyotabedzrock

    Bradley Manning was not interested in Fame. He did not intend to be fingered as the leaker, but he did need someone to confide in.

  • 2eo

    Anyone inspired to do the right thing is a hero, exposing the lies and subterfuge our governments are carrying out against their own people is something that should get a medal of honour.

    There is nothing more admirable than having an actual conscience and wanting to expose corruption.

    Both Manning and Snowden are heroes, unquestionably.

  • John Doe

    Considering that many of our own lawmakers are ignoring or minimizing the seriousness of these 4th Amendment violations upon millions of Americans (that have in NO way been suspected of crimes) we can only hope that the international pressure from our European allies causes Washington DC to re-examine their spying methods and philosophy. Already European leaders have ordered searches of their own embassies – in search of spying devices planted by the USA. And, these are our closest allies. Well, if we wanted to improve diplomatic relationships post GWB, we have surely not succeeded.

  • jeff4justice

    I wish there were more LGBT people of character like Manning and Greenwald. Instead the LGBT media and mega groups will continue on with their sycophantic worship of Democrats despite how all their wrong doing.

    LGBT media proved in last year’s election it will deliberately omit coverage of superior alternative party candidates just like major media.

  • Harley

    If any of our illustrious congressmen and women had actually READ the Patriot act when it was first passed under the smoldering ashes of the Twin Towers, or read it in one of many re-authorizations of the act, they would have seen this coming. I remember on September 12, 2001 people were asking if you want to give up liberty for security, most people were voting on security. This is what sacrifice of liberty looks like. This isn’t just Obama, or Bush, but us. We often get what we ask for, even if it was a bitter pill to take. Phase one would be to de-authorize the patriot act. Next would be to raise the bar for security clearance. I’m still an American citizen first and I do believe in our form of government, even if it has the capacity to do the wrong thing at times. Eventually we as citizens recognize when wrongs are made and gets corrected (think DOMA and Prop 8). Or the SCUTUS will correct it for us. The scandal will pass, careers will be ruined, but the spying will continue because that is what governments throughout the world are good at. It’s human nature.

  • Fawkes

    @jeff4justice: I couldn’t agree more. It makes me sick to see how so many LGBT people are really just gay for government, when in reality the LGBT community has as many historical reasons to fear government as just about any other group.

  • jeff4justice

    @Fawkes: Amen. Can’t wait until this power is in the hands of the religious right.

  • Huston Piner

    We all need to contact our Representatives, Senators and the President to register our strong objection to the infringements. Today it’s this group, tomorrow, it’s that person, the next day who knows? Unless the politicians understand that this is not some passing reaction on the part of the public, or just one segment of the public, they will wait for it to blow over and keep at it. The Democrats especially need to know that the LGBTQ community does not support nad will not stand for these programs to continue.

  • TeranceH

    The out of control abuse of surveillance power cannot be investigated without the persons being investigated knowing. So you cannot get ahead of them, … and they never get prosecuted. They live to terrorize another day.

    My 8 years of terror are documented. 8 years. 18 judges. ONE TERRORISTIC DIVORCE. {Google it}

  • 2eo

    @TeranceH: If your story is true, then I propose murdering your Ex-wife and doing it in Europe.

  • jeff4justice

    @Huston Piner: They won’t listen. They just keep lying. I am not wasting votes on the 2-party system charade.

  • andy0529

    Once again I call B.S. on both, both sought revenge for call out as bullshit artist. There will never be a woman or black or brown Snowden or Manning because they never would have given the chance with such lack luster qualifications and outrageous behavior. A black PFC striking a white female NCO or a black male with a G.E.D. having a job that requires MS in computer because he’s a great Xbox live player …..not going to happen.

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