Correction to This Article
This article about an Army investigation into the leaking of classified material to the Web site WikiLeaks incorrectly stated that a mental health specialist had recommended against deploying to Iraq the private who was later accused of leaking the files. In its reporting, The Washington Post relied on a military official who had read the Army's investigative findings into the case of Pfc. Bradley E. Manning but who inaccurately recalled some of its contents. After publication of the story, portions of the investigative report were read to The Post. The excerpts indicate that there was no formal recommendation from a mental health specialist that Manning not be deployed. Manning's immediate supervisor, an Army master sergeant, required him to seek mental health counseling after he displayed signs of instability. The master sergeant and an Army major then discussed whether to deploy Manning based on concerns that he was a risk to himself and others. The master sergeant and the unit's commander, a captain, decided to send him to Iraq because the unit was short of intelligence personnel, because Manning's behavior had started to improve, and because he seemed receptive to therapy.

Mental health specialist recommended WikiLeaks suspect not be deployed to Iraq

The U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks offer unvarnished insights into the personal proclivities of world leaders.
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 2, 2011; 12:47 AM

A mental health specialist recommended that the Army private accused of leaking classified material to the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks not be deployed to Iraq, but his immediate commanders sent him anyway, according to a military official familiar with a new Army investigation.

The recommendation by the specialist at Fort Drum, N.Y., did not disqualify Pfc. Bradley E. Manning from being sent to Iraq. The final decision on whether a soldier is fit to go to a war zone rests with his immediate commanders.

But an Army investigation has concluded that the commanders' decision not to heed the specialist's advice and their failure to properly discipline Manning may have contributed to one of the most high-profile classified military network breaches in decades, the military official said.

Manning, 23, an intelligence analyst, has been accused of downloading classified State Department and Pentagon files onto his personal computer. Last summer, he was charged with transmitting classified material to an unauthorized person.

The Army investigation, which is separate from an ongoing criminal inquiry, found that Manning's immediate supervisors did not follow procedures for overseeing the secure area where the classified information was kept, greatly increasing the risk of a security breach, the official said.

The investigation, which was conducted by Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the senior Army commander at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., was ordered by top Pentagon officials to determine how the breach occurred and whether broader institutional failings allowed Manning to allegedly download the documents.

Caslen is expected to relay his findings to the Army secretary this week and to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in mid-February, military officials said.

"There were serious leadership failures within the unit chain of command and gross negligence in the supervision of Pfc. Manning in Iraq," said a second official who is familiar with the Army probe.

The defense officials were not authorized to speak about the inquiries. An Army spokesman declined to comment on the criminal investigation of Manning or on Caslen's investigation of how the leak took place.

Manning lived in Potomac before joining the Army in 2007. The military was facing a shortage of intelligence analysts in Iraq when he was deployed there in 2009.

The internal Army investigation did not fault Manning's recruitment to the Army or the initial decision to grant him a security clearance, said the official familiar with the probe.

"Something happened in his personal life after he joined the Army," the official said.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2011 The Washington Post Company