Bradley Manning’s Facebook Page Reconstructed by PBS Frontline


In advance of tonight’s documentary WikiSecrets, the PBS show Frontline has released an exhaustive recreation of Bradley Manning’s Facebook page, in an attempt to illuminate the mysterious figure currently incarcerated for leaking government secrets to Julian Assange’s pro-transparency organization. Manning, an Army private, was open online about his homosexuality despite “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and was not shy about sharing his political beliefs either. Welcome to the future, with Facebook as a window to the soul.

In addition to posts about gay rights and his deployment location, Manning’s Facebook offers a startlingly frank glimpse into his personal life, specifically his up-and-down relationship with a man named Tyler Watkins.

Though on one hand the gossipy nature of displaying years of Manning’s Facebook feed feels invasive, it also provides educational tidbits about a man who may have given up his life to share secrets, though they were the government’s, not his own. But reading the feed, he also seems keenly aware of his own openness.

After one particularly candid status update by Manning — “Bradley Manning is utterly lost and confused over Tyler’s relationship status” — a blurred commenter writes [sic], “Not this is any of my business, but you want to keep such a sensitive topic such as this off Facebook.”

Manning, perhaps unknowingly giving away too much about his own views on (personal, but possibly also political) transparency, shoots back just a minute later, “why? so it can continue to foster itself?” followed right away by “i have nothing to hide…”

See the rest of the feed here.