Matthew Shaer wrote about the transgender soldier whose 2010 disclosure of thousands of classified documents ushered in the age of leaks.
As a New Yorker in 2017, I find nothing remarkable about a transgender person negotiating such a dramatic life change. It is Chelsea Manning’s criminal conviction while considering sex conversion that makes her unique. P.F.C. Manning leaked some 730,000 classified cables and reports while in uniform and clearly was unfamiliar with their content. When Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, it was to share with the American public specific information to which he thought us entitled. Manning seemed less concerned about content than a general philosophy of data security. Surely, the classification of ‘‘secure’’ information is out of control, but some data still needs to be secure. I wonder how this highly intelligent individual did not realize this and came to the conclusion to violate the law. Matthew Katz, Roosevelt Island, N.Y.
Before the progressive left reflexively defends Manning, they should reflect on another unintended consequence of WikiLeaks’ activities: the Trump presidency. She could have finished her tour, separated from the service and then engaged in the free speech that every American can exercise to publicize her insights about the futility of the ongoing Afghan and Iraq wars. Instead, she seems absolutely guilty of what she was convicted of doing. Ross Goldbaum, North Carolina, on nytimes.com
Manning’s contributions to our society will only be truly understood in hindsight. Her bravery and endurance may never be celebrated in our lifetime, or hers. May she forge a path that brings her peace and a legacy that advocates for the values of free speech and thought that defined American society for so long and are definitively under siege in the current political climate. Now more than ever we need to freshly analyze our world. Heather Crothall, Seattle, on nytimes.com