by Staff Writers
Fort Meade (AFP) Maryland (AFP) Dec 20, 2011
A former supervisor of US Army Private Bradley Manning, accused of spilling US secrets to WikiLeaks, said Tuesday she had repeatedly recommended that he not be deployed to Iraq.
Former army specialist Jihrleah Showman, testifying at a hearing being held to determine whether Manning should face a court-martial, also recounted a clash with the intelligence analyst in which he allegedly punched her in the face.
Showman's testimony came on the fifth day of the hearing being held at Fort Meade, a sprawling army base outside of Washington that houses the super secret National Security Agency.
Manning is accused of giving WikiLeaks a trove of US military reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, classified State Department cables, Guantanamo detainee assessments and videos of US air strikes in what has been called one of the most serious intelligence breaches in US history.
Army investigators told the hearing Monday that contact information for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, military reports, cables and other classified material had been found on computers and storage devices used by Manning.
Showman, who left the army in June and was testifying by telephone, said she deployed to Iraq with Manning in November 2009 and was his team leader in the military intelligence unit where they worked together near Baghdad.
Showman, under cross-examination by defense attorney David Coombs, said she had told the master sergeant and others in their unit before they left for Iraq that she believed Manning should not accompany them.
She recounted several emotional outbursts involving Manning and said she had recommended that he receive behavioral health treatment, that his access to classified information be revoked and that he not be deployed to Iraq.
"I was trying to determine if he had -- not that I'm a medical professional -- if he had some psychotic issues," Showman said.
"You felt he had a very elevated level of paranoia?" Coombs asked.
"Correct," Showman said.
Asked if she had any idea whether Manning's "paranoia" was due to "gender identity disorder," Showman said "there was no indication of that."
Defense attorneys have suggested that Manning struggled with gender issues and emotional problems but his superiors failed to provide counseling, take disciplinary action or revoke his security clearance.
His defense attorneys have also indicated that Manning, who is gay, had difficulty serving in a US military that was operating under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy towards homosexuals which has since been repealed.
Showman, asked if any of her recommendations regarding Manning were acted upon by her superiors, said "not to my knowledge."
She agreed she was "furious" when she saw Manning's name on the list of soldiers being sent to Iraq.
Prosecutors also asked Showman about a fight with Manning some three weeks before his late May 2010 arrest, an incident which led to his removal from their workspace at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq.
"He was removed because he attacked, he punched me in the face, unprovoked, and displayed an uncontrollable behavior that was deemed untrustworthy at the time," she said.
In an earlier incident with another colleague, she said Manning had to be restrained when he appeared to be reaching for an M4 carbine after tipping over a table, causing damage to a computer.
Wearing a green camouflage uniform of the 10th Mountain Division and black-rimmed glasses, Manning listened intently to Showman's speakerphone testimony, leaning over at one point to whisper to one of his attorneys.
Manning, who turned 24 on Saturday, could face life in prison if convicted of "aiding the enemy," the most serious of the 22 charges he is facing.
Testimony in the case is expected to wrap up in the next day or two and the investigating officer may take several weeks before deciding whether or not to proceed with a court-martial.
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Investigators link WikiLeaks suspect to Assange
Fort Meade (AFP) Maryland (AFP) Dec 19, 2011
US Army investigators presented evidence for the first time Monday directly linking the US soldier accused of spilling secrets to WikiLeaks to the founder of the site, Julian Assange. Testifying at a hearing to determine if US Army Private Bradley Manning should face a court-martial, the investigators said contact information for Assange was found on a computer hard drive belonging to Mannin ... read more
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