(1) Net Centric Diplomacy database
Appears to have been trivially downloadable. Manning used Wget to automate the capture of cables from this database. Manning had access to secure networks (SIPRNet) and it was this, rather than any technical expertise, that allowed him to pull all the cables.It seems as if the Net Centric Diplomacy database and its interface (presumably a web front end) lacked any functionality to inhibit automated / bulk downloads, to track or log downloads or to alert operators to suspicious or anomalous patterns of access.
Contrast this with the logging that was available in IntelLink (the SIPRnet internal search engine) that helped link incriminating keywords (Assange, Wikileaks etc) to the IP address assigned to Manning's computer. The defense cannot refute that, while they may be able to undermine the (very poorly gathered) computer forensics from Manning's computer.
(2) Microsoft Share Point server
Appears, also, to have been wide open to anyone on SIPRnet and to have permitted automated (scripted) bulk downloading of files. And, like (1), appears to have lacked any functionality to alert operators to suspicious behaviour.
Contrast this, also, with the logging that was available in IntelLink.
(3) Manning is no expert
First, he used the same password for both his operating system (presumably, his Windows username/password) as for his encryption. Second, he claims to have "zero-filled" his hard disk but had not done so. Third, he used his own computer for the IntelLink searches thereby leaving a trail of evidence.
(4) Lack of expertise seems quite widespread...
The computer environment at the FOB where Manning worked was risible. In testimony, an officer described how "soldiers would store movies and music in their shared drive on the SIPRnet. The shared drive, called the “T Drive” by soldiers, was about 11 terabytes in size, and was accessible to all users on SIPRnet who were given permission to access it, in order to store data that they could access from any classified computer." In other words, in practise, no distinction between storage for movies and music and the storage for classified materials. While the officer told soldiers not to use it for music and movies (and used to delete same as well as reporting the abuse), the practise was prevalent. And despite the 11 terabytes (that is 11 thousand Gigabytes) available for music and movies, this officer cites lack of storage as the reason that some logs (that may have contained evidence) were not maintained. This officer, Capt. Thomas Cherepko, received a "letter of admonishment" for the lax enviroment at this base.
Has the buck stopped at the Captain? I believe that points 1, 2 and 3 suggest a culture of information security so poor as to merit serious enquiry in its own right. Manning probably did break several laws in gathering and communicating the cables to WikiLeaks and, if convicted, must face the music. But the ease with which he did this ought to be cause for far more concern than we are seeing in the media. The US Army appears to be throwing Manning under a bus, but only a slap on the wrist for Cherepko. That is unjust. Lets see how this unfolds...