IoS exclusive

Exclusive: Bradley Manning was 'danger to himself and others'

Defence papers tell of alleged US whistleblower's stress, poor leadership by superiors, and serious security lapses

Bradley Manning, the abandoned man of the WikiLeaks saga, may have been kept mostly in solitary confinement and incommunicado since he was arrested, but he is about to make his presence felt. Startling claims by army personnel about both his mental state, and lax security at the US base from which he is alleged to have leaked a huge tranche of classified US cables, are contained in a document prepared by his defence team.

It quotes several officers saying that the army intelligence analyst, who has a Welsh mother, was so disturbed, immature and unsuited to military life that either he should never have been deployed to Iraq or that he should have been deemed unfit for service once he was there. At one point during his time in Iraq, according to the report, an officer "found Manning curled in the foetal position in the brigade conference room, rocking himself back and forth". The 20-page dossier, itemising potential witnesses at the arraignment hearings, which continued yesterday at Fort Meade, Maryland, also contains a summary of testimony that claims security at Pte Manning's base in Iraq was so lax that soldiers would buy films, music and games from a local market and install them on army computers.

It was from this base – where passwords to army computers were reportedly written on Post-it notes stuck on laptops – that Pte Manning is alleged by US officials to have captured and sent to WikiLeaks the classified information. If the defence claims are true, then the army could be accused of contributory negligence.

They also seem to have missed repeated warning signs that Pte Manning – gay, confused about his gender identity, and apparently subject to some bullying – was a deeply troubled individual. Neither, until too late, did it act on assessments of him when they were made. Other comments from potential witnesses (all of whose names are redacted) include that Pte Manning's "mental and emotional issues were more than enough to put others at risk... his condition made him unfit for service as an intelligence analyst", and the statement that "Manning should not have been deployed".

Pte Manning, a one-time intelligence analyst stationed in Baghdad, is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive items, including Iraq and Afghanistan war logs. The leaked items also involved State Department cables and a classified military video of a 2007 American helicopter attack in Iraq that killed 11 men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The US said the leaks threatened valuable military and diplomatic sources, while WikiLeaks was feted, until sex allegations were made against its founder, Julian Assange, which led to protracted extradition proceedings and continuing appeals. Mr Assange has been staying in a supporter's country mansion, while Pte Manning has spent much of the past 17 months in a cell.

According to the defence document, one witness "will testify that he recommended Manning should not deploy". And on 24 December 2009 – months before Pte Manning was arrested in May 2010, but a month after he first contacted WikiLeaks – a psychologist examined him. He found him "under considerable stress... [he] did not appear to have any social support system and seemed hypersensitive to any criticism". The defence document said the psychologist "determined Manning was potentially dangerous to himself and others and recommended removal of his weapon or removal of the bolt from his weapon". Two months later, the material Pte Manning is accused of leaking first appeared on WikiLeaks. It was not until 28 May 2010 that a psychiatrist recommended his security clearance be rescinded.

Other evidence from army specialists is that Pte Manning, while having good computer skills, "seemed to act immature" and "was not receptive to commands", and that there was a "lack of leadership" on his night shift. An officer with Pte Manning's unit will testify that when he raised the matter of soldiers having unauthorised material on their army computers, "nothing was done".

Other personnel, whose claims are not part of the defence document, have previously said that poor security meant many of the 300 stationed on Pte Manning's base could breeze in and out of the computer room.

In a bizarre detail reported on a chat log published by Wired magazine, Pte Manning made out he was miming to a Lady Gaga track while downloading US cables.

His local commander will testify that it was not until Pte Manning allegedly assaulted another soldier that he was made aware of his psychological problems. Another officer will testify that, having learned of the full facts, he believes Pte Manning should not have been deployed to Iraq. There is also potential testimony that, although Pte Manning was "a very good intelligence analyst", he "should have been removed from his position early on in the deployment".

Yesterday, on his 24th birthday, Bradley Manning was back in a military courtroom to hear prosecutors begin presenting their case. The hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence to bring him to trial.

The Wikileaks pair: A tale of two whistle-blowers

Bradley Manning

Born Crescent, Oklahoma, to ex-Navy father and Welsh mother on 17 December 1987. Moved to Wales with his mother aged 13, only to return to the US three years later.

Occupation US army intelligence analyst. Demoted from specialist to private after assaulting female officer.

Claim to fame Accused of biggest leak of state secrets in US history, including footage of an Apache helicopter killing 12 Iraqi civilians, and thousands of US diplomatic cables.

Current address Initially, after his arrest in May 2010, he was kept in solitary confinement and forced to sleep naked in a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. After an international outcry, he was moved to a "medium-security facility" at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Charged with He is alleged to have transferred more than 250,000 embassy cables and 470,000 confidential military records to WikiLeaks. He faces 22 charges of obtaining and distributing government secrets, and, if convicted, could be sentenced to as much as 52 years in prison.

Julian Assange

Born 1971 in Townsville, Australia. Led a nomadic childhood as his parents owned a touring theatre, later moving to the UK.

Occupation Founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, co-author of bestseller Underground. Convicted computer hacker.

Claim to fame In 2010, WikiLeaks published 2007 video footage of an American helicopter shooting Iraqi civilians. He made front-page news again in 2010, defending the release of thousands of classified documents on the Afghan and Iraq wars, plus a huge amount of US diplomatic cables.

Current address UK. Has been living at Ellingham Hall, Norfolk, the home of his friend and supporter Vaughan Smith, owner of the Frontline Club for journalists. Reported on Friday to have moved base. However, as a requirement of his bail conditions, he has had to sign in at nearby Bungay police station every day.

Legal case In 2010, an international arrest warrant was issued by the Swedish authorities after two women made allegations of rape and sexual molestation. Extradition proceedings followed which will culminate in his final appeal on 1 February 2012.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick