William & Mary Law Review


In the public discourse, the perceived intent of those who disclose national security information without authorization plays an important role in whether they are labeled as heroes or traitors. Should it matter whether Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning leaked government information to WikiLeaks knowing that our enemies might benefit from the information? Is it relevant that Edward Snowden believed—or that a reasonable person would believe—that the topsecret government surveillance programs he revealed were illegal, or that the public value in knowing about these programs outweighed any risk of harm to national security? This Article examines whether intent—and what kind of intent— should matter in defining crimes related to the disclosure of national security information and concludes that it should, both as a matter of public policy and as a matter of constitutional law.