The international clamor and juicy gossip surrounding the WikiLeaks fiasco are obscuring critical facts. Sweep away the smoke to see the Big Picture:
FIRST, the Obama administration did nothing to stop this disaster when it had a chance. The almost-certain leaker, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, was hostile to the military as far back as January. That month, he wrote on his Facebook page, "Bradley Manning didn't want this fight. Too much to lose, too fast," according to London's Daily Telegraph.
It reports that in May, serving at a base near Baghdad, he changed his status to "Bradley Manning is now left with the sinking feeling that he doesn't have anything left."
Five days later, Manning, openly gay and half-British, wrote that he was "livid" after being "lectured by ex-boyfriend." He was arrested that month for leaking a video of a helicopter attack, and is still being held. By then, he already had downloaded 250,000 documents and given them to WikiLeaks, an anti-American site based in Iceland.
The first batch, released in July, detailed U.S. battle reports in Afghanistan and included the names of informants.
Manning is no whistleblower. He is a traitor and should be charged with treason. He betrayed his nation in a time of war.
SECOND, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was derelict in not trying to stop the release. It was not until Saturday, when it was well-known the documents were about to be published, that a State Department lawyer wrote to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and told him to stop. That's pathetically little and late.
Clinton now calls the release "illegal" and says publication "puts people's lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines our efforts to work with other countries."
Granted -- so why didn't she move hell and high water to block it? Her failure to act is a major black mark against her.
THIRD, nobody in government, except Manning, has been held responsible. That must change. How can it be that a lowly, twisted private could get access to so much confidential communication and download it with nobody knowing?
One sleuth we can't count on is Attorney General Eric Holder. He talked tough about a probe, then left for Switzerland to lobby for bringing the 2022 World Cup soccer games to the United States.
Maybe he'll run into Assange on this outrageous junket.
FOURTH, The New York Times, the only American paper to get the documents, should not have published them.
The Times says it got them from The Guardian, a left-wing British paper, and denies it is "partnering" with WikiLeaks. That's a distinction without a difference.
"We have edited out any information that could identify confidential sources -- including informants, dissidents, academics and human-rights activists -- or otherwise compromise national security," Times executive editor Bill Keller told readers.
Yet Keller admitted the Times told WikiLeaks what it was withholding. That reflects an undeserved trust that WikiLeaks will not flag that information for our enemies.
The Times also forfeits its claim to being a neutral observer. It can't very well say the documents aren't newsworthy after devoting pages to them. Nor can it criticize the White House for failing to safeguard them, after being the instrument of their release.
FIFTH, why is President Obama hiding?
The White House press secretary said only that Obama was "not happy" with the release. The president, meanwhile, is trying to look busy, busy on other things. Monday, he announced his plan to freeze federal wages, and yesterday, he gave a short speech after meeting with GOP leaders.
He took no questions and never mentioned the largest security breach in American history.
Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here.