Ironically, 9/11 led indirectly to Wikileaks. Concerned that America's defense information collectors weren't sharing what they knew with each other, were indeed stuck in "separate silos," there was a strong move to set up online sharing of military and diplomatic information through the huge Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, or SIPRNet. As the (UK) Guardian reports, nearly all US missions are linked into this system, nearly all State Department employees, and many military personnel, representing an astonishing THREE MILLION PEOPLE. The law of averages could have predicted that at least a fraction of those three million people would break security.
Reassuringly, "Top Secret" and above foreign intelligence documents cannot be accessed from SIPRNet.
It does appear that 22-year-old PFC Bradley Manning was reckless in giving a slew of documents -- 260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables -- which he says reveal "almost criminal political back dealings" to Wikileaks. The documents contain “incredible things, awful things … that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC,” he wrote, according to Wired. "“Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed,” Manning wrote. “It’s open diplomacy. World-wide anarchy in CSV format. It’s Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth. It’s beautiful, and horrifying.”
He was turned in to the authorities by former hacker Adrian Lamo, who was worried that US national security had been threatened.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange asserts that cables are being redacted "carefully" — hence the slow rollout. He has also repeatedly asked the US government to suggest redactions involving persons whose lives might be in danger. At least officially, the government says it has refused to cooperate with him.
In an ironic symbol of the age, the first news that Manning had been arrested came from his Facebook status update: "“Some of you may have heard that I have been arrested for disclosure of classified information to unauthorized persons. See CollateralMurder.com.”