A reader writes:
Please read the Wired report you linked to. The classified video of gunships is a distraction: Manning also leaked some 260,000 classified Diplomatic Communications - so much that even a supporter of Wikileaks and a former hacker turned him in to the Army. That's the story. That kind of leakage - damaging, deadly even - is not to be dismissed at all. Very likely treason.
You simply cannot have analysts who take it upon themselves to decide that videos or documents are being improperly classified and fix it themselves. This is why people like Jonathan Pollard are deservedly behind bars for years to come. This young soldier may have acted morally in your eyes, but his conduct was quite simply illegal, unprofessional, and in violation of all his training and the promises he voluntarily gave to safeguard the nation's secrets.
No one forces you to apply for a security clearance. In return for classified access, you take an oath, which has both moral and legal force. You agree not to disclose the information you are entrusted with. If you don't believe that you can honor this trust, for what ever reason, you have no business swearing the oath. The United States trusted this young man to honor his oath and not disclose this material. He violated this trust.
Daniel Ellsberg understood the weight of the oath and expected to go to jail when he leaked the Pentagon Papers. I don't agree with what Ellberg did, but at least he believed strongly enough in what he was doing to knowingly risk jail. The young man who leaked the information to Wikileaks clearly did not take his promise seriously.