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Army is pressed on why it kept trusting Manning

FORT MEADE, Md. — A military hearing for the Army private charged with spilling a mountain of secrets to WikiLeaks focused Sunday on why Pfc. Bradley Manning remained entrusted with highly sensitive information after showing hostile behavior to those around him. A supervisor who might have shed light on that question refused to testify.

On the third day of the hearing to determine whether Manning will be court-martialed on 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, his defense sought to build on its case that his supervisors in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team should have seen enough red flags to suspend or revoke his access to secret information months before the leaks.

Capt. Casey Fulton, an Army intelligence officer, testified it was impossible to supervise analysts like Manning constantly. "You have to trust that they'll safeguard the material the way that they've been taught," she said.

The defense has emphasized what it calls a failure by Manning's closest supervisor, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Adkins, to suspend the intelligence security clearance after at least two fits of rage by the private during which he overturned furniture. Adkins refused to testify Sunday, invoking his right against self-incrimination, when summoned by the government.

Other testimony revealed that Manning, serving in Iraq in 2009 and 2010, was sometimes angry and distant with others from his unit. The defense has said that Manning, who is gay, was bullied by fellow soldiers. Manning's defense team says he told Adkins he suffered from gender-identity disorder — the belief that he was born the wrong sex.

Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports and State Department cables.

Disclosures surfaced on the antisecrecy website WikiLeaks in a breach that rattled U.S. foreign relations and, according to the government, imperiled valuable military and diplomatic sources. Defense attorneys argue the leaked material did little or no damage to U.S. interests.

Manning could face life in prison if convicted.

Army is pressed on why it kept trusting Manning 12/18/11 [Last modified: Sunday, December 18, 2011 8:49pm]
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