Bradley Manning case heads back to court
November 27th, 2012
06:18 PM ET

Bradley Manning case heads back to court

By Larry Shaughnessy

The officer who oversaw security at the military base where Bradley Manning was held for a time said on Wednesday he was not pressured by superiors to keep the Army private accused of leaking classified documents to the WikiLeaks website in a high-level lockup and under constant watch.

Marine Col. Robert Oltman said his decision to maintain maximum-security status for Manning during his eight-month confinement in Quantico in Virginia was borne out of caution.

Oltman said at a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland, for Manning that he recognized the case was high profile but told subordinates at the Marine base to "do what's right" and not "worry about somebody looking over your shoulder."

Manning's lawyers are trying to get the case thrown out - or at least any sentence reduced, if he's convicted - by claiming he was mistreated at the Quantico brig from July 2010 until he was moved to the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in April 2011.

A Navy psychiatrist testified that his regular recommendations to ease Manning's heightened confinement status after being taken off formal suicide watch within weeks of his arrival in Virginia from the Middle East were not acted upon by commanders.

"The degree of concern of his safety and security was higher than anything I'd previously seen," said Capt. William Hoctor, who has more than 20 years of experience in military and civilian corrections.

Several times during the hearing, there was testimony about Manning being forced to stand outside his cell naked during morning roll call.

Oltman testified that nudity was Manning's choice and that he had two blankets for covering up if he wanted to use them. Coombs alleged that Manning was told to drop the blankets.

A spokesman for Manning said previously that he also was prevented from exercising and had to respond every five minutes – around the clock – to loud verbal queries to ensure he was not trying to commit suicide.

Coombs tried to show that Oltman was pressured by a superior to keep Manning under maximum security status and under special watch due to intense publicity.

Oltman said he knew Manning's case had the attention of his superiors - "it was on the news, it was on CNN" - but he denied there was any pressure. Oltman said he erred on the side of caution in Manning's case because another detainee had killed himself while in custody prior to Manning's arrival.

Hoctor, who saw Manning for most of his time at the Quantico brig, testified that he believed Manning was a potential suicide risk when he arrived. That assessment was based on medical records from a psychiatrist who examined him in Kuwait.

Hoctor said he and the brig staff exercised a heightened state of vigilance regarding Mannning's behavior. But he recommended that Manning be taken off suicide watch after a week. Manning was upgraded a few weeks later to a status known as prevention of injury watch.

Hoctor then recommended a short time after that that Manning be removed from the second designation.

"He had been observed for about a week or two without exhibiting any evidence of being suicidal. We were satisfied he no longer represented a risk," Hoctor said.

But Manning's status was never again changed at Quantico, despite regular recommendations from Hoctor that commanders do so.

Manning was a good detainee in general, he said.

"He was pretty well behaved," Hoctor testified. "He actually held up better than expected."

Hoctor said that notes of Manning's medical care while at Quantico were hand-written because he was not allowed access to a computer and those notes have been missing since Manning was moved to Ft. Leavenworth.

Manning, 24, is expected to take the stand later this week to testify about his detention.

The Army intelligence analyst is accused of leaking classified military and State Department documents while serving in Iraq. Many of them wound up on the WikiLeaks website. WikiLeaks has never confirmed that Manning was the source of the information.

Counts against Manning include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, transmitting national defense information and theft of public property or records.

He could receive a sentence of up to life, if convicted on all counts at his court martial.

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Filed under: Bradley Manning • WikiLeaks
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    Because we don't need any more like him, I'd like him to learn, first-hand, the meaning of the term eunuch, preferably using a Ka-Bar.

    November 29, 2012 at 12:31 am | Reply
  48. Norman

    What Manning did, didn't put any lives at risk. Bradley Manning is a hero. You military, ex-military, and garden variety brain dead sheeple who refuse to understand this to simply "follow" the same garbage you've been fed are simply government and societal drones and a drain on humanity. The terms "consumers" and "tax payers" were coined for you. Do you really think it's all about defending and preserving "freedom" and "democracy?" I know several veterans who know otherwise.

    Now shut-up and go play with your guns, end first.

    November 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • WDAY

      Now Norman, just how do you know that he did not "put lives at risk?" You should not post comments on things you know little or nothing about!

      November 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • Bob Knippel

      Manning ought to be shot dead. My mom lives in the USA, a country he stabbed in the back. Classified information is classified for a reason. Some armchair guy like you has no clue as to what the wrong stuff in the wrong hands might cause. Try another 9/11. Maybe you'd think different if YOUR mom had been in the Twin Towers.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
      • Brian

        Classified information even if it shows evidence of WAR CRIMES being committed should remain classified? You're a joke.

        November 28, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
      • bob

        hey this is america, we kill women and children and torture people everyday. Growup.

        November 29, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • M Houston

      And you can get back to playing with your know-nothing self..

      November 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  49. AndyShep

    He is clearly guilty, he knew what he was doing was illegal, and he deserves to be punished. The sheer volume of his illegal acts make Life in Prison the only reasonable punishment.

    November 28, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
  50. Service Member

    Bradley, your ribbons are displayed in the wrong order. Please reference either your 1SG or AR 670-1 in order to determine the appropriate wear of your uniform.

    November 28, 2012 at 6:30 am | Reply
    • David Ramsden

      Your statement is unbelievable.. Here is a guy who has been torture for a year, faces life in prison and may have deep psychological problems and you are worried about the order of his ribbons. Simply unbelievable.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:58 am | Reply
  51. Carl

    The things this boy did get real men killed. Anyone who supports him is a f*&#ing idiot.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Please, tell us the name of ONE person who he got killed?

      November 28, 2012 at 12:04 am | Reply
      • Martin

        Your silly question really deserves no responce but...Wow has it not occured to you that many serious crimes do not involve death. Our enemys now know more about our business. Now that may kill people...Do you get it yet?

        November 28, 2012 at 7:39 am |
      • bob

        Dan I agree with you. The only damage done was USA embarrassed with the helicopter video of army killing civilians and that we torture people all over the world and in the USA. We lost the moral high ground years ago.

        November 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
      • Henry

        They already knew you killed children and women and fired upon the innocent. No names were released. Just egos and murders. How dont you see that what the video is showing is morally and ethically wrong. 'It wasnt my decision it was my superiors decision" is the same thing the nazi's said.

        November 29, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • John


      November 28, 2012 at 6:44 am | Reply
  52. Phil

    This guy deserves a medal for standing up to injustice.

    November 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
    • Concerned

      Thsee comments sincerely disturb me. How exactly are Bradley's actions noble? I really worry about the kind of example this sets for America's youth if his actions are glorified. It's just shameful. Wrong direction, America.

      November 28, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  53. Robert

    When you take the oath in obtaining a security clearance you agree not to divulge any classified information, period, no exceptions, not to family, wife, or anyone.......if you do you have broken that oath and must accept the is not a matter of informing the public of supposed wrong doing by the government that you have knowledge of, it is your word that you have sworn not to divulge classified information, now he must accept the punishment for this........

    November 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Reply
    • tin

      Robert, I never swore an oath when I signed non-disclosure agreements. Get your facts straight.

      November 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  54. Scott

    Bradley Manning jeopardized the lives of soldiers, ambassadors and others all to serve a personal grudge. The little twirp can rot in jail for the rest of his life as far as most of us care. There are different rules for people who sign non disclosure agreements and get access to classified material, and the biggest one of them all is you keep confidential information confidential. He violated the most important rule in the rulebook, and is getting exactly what he has coming to him.

    November 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • Henry

      Are there different rules for firing at children? or men with cameras and calling them guns? at racism? There are different rules for treating a human like a terrorist. The only thing he did for the enemy is give them one MORE reason to kill Americans. One more reason that wont change their minds on what they already know.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
  55. bob

    just another example of USA torturing its own citizens. Solitary for years, no trail, stripped naked regularly, made to stand outside cell nude. All this for almost 3 years, no trial no conviction.

    November 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Reply
    • tin

      Bob, you exaggerate often?

      November 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
      • Henry

        That was anything BUT exxageration. thats only the confirmed things they did to him in prison.

        November 29, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • GaggedinUSA

      why does our government like to strip people naked and stack them so much? like abu ghraib. who knows what happened in benghazi. seems perverted.

      November 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  56. Lynda

    I worked on a black project in the USAF and many people I knew went to Levenworth for a lot less than what this twit did. I was an E4 then promoted to E5. Its been 3 decades since then and I still wont talk about it. Doesnt matter what the grade... Someone like that would talk either way. I saw E8 go to Levenworth for opening his mouth. This twit already had one strike against him. Why was he allowed back in to a top secret job.

    November 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Reply
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    November 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Reply

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