What drove Bradley Manning to allegedly share more than 150,000 secret documents with the world? The New York Times offers a kind of answer with a look at Manning’s troubled coming of age. Manning spent his entire youth being picked on, first for being a geek then for being gay. His father, a soldier, was rarely present. When he discovered his son was gay, he threw him out.
Manning eventually joined the army, but his sexuality made him an outcast there as well—Manning didn’t exactly “tell,” but friends say he kept a toy fairy wand in his desk in Iraq. The one place Manning found acceptance was with his boyfriend and his politically-motivated hacker friends in Cambridge, Mass. Those friends say they think Manning’s isolation, hunger for attention, and political beliefs drove him to leak the documents.