Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning has been accused of leaking thousands of classified documents obtained during his tour in Iraq. But according to an officer, and a confidential military report, Manning was so psychologically unstable he should never have been sent to Iraq in the first place.
Interviews with friends and soliders who served with him, undertaken for a new investigative film from The Guardian — excerpts from which you can watch above — reveal Manning as an intelligent, passionate individual whose stint in the military only deepened the anger and alienation he'd struggled with since a difficult childhood in a conservative town. According to one officer, who asked to remain anonymous, Manning was obviously unfit to serve in Iraq:
"He was harassed so much that he once pissed in his sweatpants," the officer said.
"I escorted Manning a couple of times to his 'psych' evaluations after his outbursts. They never should have trapped him in and recycled him in [to Iraq]. Never. Not that mess of a child I saw with my own two eyes. No one has mentioned the army's failure here –- and the discharge unit who agreed to send him out there[.]"
According to the same officer, Manning was routinely picked on during basic training, and after violent outbursts was diagnosed with "adjustment disorder." But, apparently because the army was in need of intelligence analysts, he was shipped off to Forward Operating Base Hammer, dealing with highly classified documents in an extremely loosely-secured setting. Two months after his arrival, the bolt was taken out of his rifle because he was considered a danger; later, he punched a female officer in the face and was told he'd be discharged.
That Manning had difficulty serving isn't news (reports of his struggle as a gay man in a homophobic military surfaced a year ago) but the Guardian investigation, along with a recent Frontline report, would seem to show that Manning was more than just conflicted about his place in the army. Indeed, if his superiors knew about his apparent instability — some portion of which, to be clear, seemed to be generated by a hostile military culture — why was he given access to so much classified info. And further, why was security so loose? If Manning committed the leaks, he's guilty of a crime. But if the army is so cavalier about who sees classified information, and the settings in which it's seen, shouldn't it bear some portion of responsibility?