Witnesses describe lax oversight for analyst in WikiLeaks case

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, left, steps out of a security vehicle outside of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on Wednesday, for a hearing on whether  he should face court-martial for leaking documents to WikiLeaks.

Associated Press

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, left, steps out of a security vehicle outside of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on Wednesday, for a hearing on whether he should face court-martial for leaking documents to WikiLeaks.

BALTIMORE — Two witnesses for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning described a chaotic work environment with lax supervision as the defense presented its case Wednesday for the former security analyst charged with turning over classified documents to the website WikiLeaks.

Both witnesses worked with Manning in Iraq. They testified to an office environment where officers working with classified information listened to music, watched movies and played computer games in the secured areas.

The lawyers defending Manning rested their case after calling the two witnesses. The parties agreed to reconvene this morning for closing arguments.

It was the fifth day of testimony in a preliminary hearing to determine whether Manning should face a court-martial for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy website. He is charged with aiding the enemy and violating the Espionage Act.

The defense has not seriously challenged the evidence showing that Manning had access to the classified documents and had the ability to upload them to WikiLeaks. Instead the lawyers have sought to portray Manning as a deeply conflicted soldier struggling with gender identity in an understaffed, poorly supervised and stressful base south of Baghdad.

Sgt. Daniel Padgett, who worked with Manning in their "sensitive compartmental information facility" in Iraq, said there was no clear chain of command. "There could have been more oversight," Padgett said.

Next up was Capt. Barclay Keay, who was in charge of both Manning and Padgett in Iraq in fall 2009. Keay explained that the post was his first as an intelligence supervisor, and he was surprised by the loose environment.

"I thought it was kind of odd," Keay said.

Witnesses describe lax oversight for analyst in WikiLeaks case 12/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 10:50pm]

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