Bradley Manning Threatened to Stab His Stepmother

A domestic fight with an 18-year-old Bradley Manning—the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks—led his stepmother to frantically call 911 claiming he threatened her with a knife, according to a Frontline investigation.

The fight occurred in 2006, when Manning was living with his father and stepmother in Oklahoma City. According to a recording of the call obtained by Frontline, Manning had been arguing with his stepmother about his lack of a job when he brandished a knife: "My husband's 18-year-old son is out of control and just threatened me with a knife. And his father has just had surgery and he is down on the floor… Get away from him! You, get away from him! Get away from him!" The call is below.

The call was released by Frontline, along with a 10-minute video featuring interviews with Manning's father and a childhood friend, as part of an ongoing investigation into the Wikileaker's early years. A full episode will air in May.

Manning was escorted out of his house by police officers after the 911 call, but was not arrested or charged. The next day, he moved out of his father's house permanently. He spent the next year bouncing around the nation from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Chicago to Maryland, working at a Guitar Center, Starbucks, and Abercrombie & Fitch along the way. In 2007, at the urging of his father, he enlisted in the Army.

The Frontline teaser (a clip is on the right) presents Manning as a violent, hot-tempered figure who was hard to get along with, and seems to suggest that his private insurrection should have been anticipated: "We now know that the structured life of the military didn't quell his outbursts. How he was cited for abusive actions and assaulting a fellow soldier. How his personal life fell apart after his deployment to Iraq. And how, through it all, while he continued to have access to hundreds of thousands of sensitive military and diplomatic documents, the Army let him hold on to his Top Secret clearance."