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.
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Mental health specialist recommended WikiLeaks suspect not be deployed to Iraq
A source familiar with Manning's mental health records indicated that the stress that led the soldier to seek help was caused primarily by a faltering personal relationship.
At Fort Drum, Manning balled up his fists and screamed at higher-ranking soldiers in his unit, said the official familiar with the Army inquiry. In Iraq, a master sergeant who supervised Manning was so concerned about the private's mental health that he disabled Manning's weapon in December 2009, the private's attorney, David E. Coombs, previously said. Also in Iraq, in May 2010, Manning was demoted a rank for assaulting a fellow soldier, the Army said.
If the concerns in the report are accurate, "this clearly demonstrates the failure of the Army to take care of the soldier," Coombs said.
The master sergeant charged with overseeing Manning's day-to-day activities kept extensive records of the private's alleged outbursts and shortcomings as a soldier, but did not discipline him properly or compel him to get help, said the military official familiar with the non-criminal Army investigation. "He wrote memos and kept records, but that is no replacement for positive leadership," the official said.
The investigation, some aspects of which were previously reported by McClatchy Newspapers, also concludes that Manning's company commander should have taken more decisive action following the soldier's disciplinary issues at Fort Drum and in Iraq. It is not clear whether the final version of the report will recommend disciplinary action against Manning's immediate commanders or the sergeants who oversaw him on a daily basis.
The Army investigation faulted Manning's immediate supervisors for running a lax Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility, or SCIF, an area that holds computers capable of accessing the classified Internet system used by the Pentagon and State Department. Soldiers were allowed to bring compact discs into the area to listen to music, military officials said. Manning allegedly used such discs to download classified information, they said.
The faulty security at the classified facility in Baghdad is likely to be raised by the defense in a prospective court-martial. If proper security procedures had been in place, the acts Manning is accused of committing would have been impossible, the second official said.
Manning attested to the lax security in online chats that he reportedly had with Adrian Lamo, a former computer hacker in whom Manning allegedly confided last May.
At one point, Lamo asked Manning why the server that contained classified material was not secure, according to a copy of the chat logs Lamo shared with Wired.com.
Manning replied: "You had people working 14 hours a day . . . every single day . . . no weekends . . . no recreation . . . people stopped caring after 3 weeks . . . there was no physical security."
He added: "Weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis . . . a perfect storm."
Manning is confined in a Marine detention facility at Quantico, Va., awaiting a possible trial.