The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin sparred Tuesday night in an intense on-air debate that touched on the Bradley Manning trial and, more broadly, government leaks.
Toobin admitted that he found the aiding the enemy charge that was brought against Manning to be over-the-top, but said the soldier who gave scores of government files to WikiLeaks still deserved jail time. Manning was acquitted of the aiding the enemy charge, but still faces a steep sentence. Greenwald, meanwhile, levied a staunch defense of Manning, saying he finds it “bizarre” and “baffling” that any journalist would support the prosecution of the leaker.
“And the thing that I find most bizarre is that anybody who would go into the field of journalism or call themselves a journalist who would call for the prosecution and imprisonment for decades of a source like Bradley Manning, who as I said didn’t publish anything top secret the way that most sources for large media outlets in America do all the time, it’s baffling,” Greenwald said during an appearance on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” “What Bradley Manning did is the job of journalists, which is to bring transparency to what the government is doing.”
Toobin said that he trusts the government officials overseeing the files that were published by WikiLeaks more than he does Manning.
“But it’s not up to Bradley Manning to make the decision to disclose this,” Toobin said. “These are people, the people who wrote those cables have devoted their lives to trying to make the world a better place, particularly Foreign Service Officers. You know, maybe you disagree about that, Glenn, but I admire the Foreign Service a great deal and I trust their judgment about what’s a secret a lot more than I do Bradley Manning.”
Greenwald then got fired up, suggesting that Toobin was arguing “for the end of investigative journalism.” Toobin, however, argued that Manning was indiscriminate released hundreds of cables.