Bradley Manning told a military court that he'd tried to contact the New York Times with the host of diplomatic cables that ended up hitting WikiLeaks. Things might have been different if he'd succeeded, speculates Bill Keller in the Times. Private Manning might have benefited: "I suspect the fact that Manning chose the anti-establishment WikiLeaks as his collaborator made the government more eager to add on that dubious charge of 'aiding the enemy,'" Keller writes.
What's more, had the Times gotten the goods first, WikiLeaks wouldn't have been able to publish the unedited collection of cables—a move that put activists and informants named in the documents at risk. "In fact, you might not have heard of WikiLeaks," Keller notes. And if the world had gotten to know Manning via the Times, we might have a better sense of him. "Lionized by WikiLeaks and his fan base as a whistle-blower and martyr, cast by his prosecutors as a villainous traitor, he has become dueling caricatures." Click for Keller's full column.