Bradley Manning’s former supervisor said she felt the Army private should never have been allowed to deploy to Iraq because of erratic behavior that led her to conclude he was “a threat to himself and to others .” The testimony raised questions about why Manning’s superior officers allowed him to deploy and continue to have access to classified materials.
In May 2010, Manning punched Jihrleah Showman, a former Army specialist, during a violent outburst in Iraq, which led to his being demoted from a specialist to a private.
Testifying on the fifth day of the pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Md., that will determine whether Manning should face a court martial, Showman described multiple incidents during which Manning would scream and flail his arms. In one case he flipped over a table and attempted to grab an unattended M-4 rifle he had spotted.
Showman said she was Manning’s direct supervisor at Fort Drum, N.Y., where both were serving as intelligence analysts with the 2nd brigade, 10th Mountain Division. The brigade deployed to Baghdad in October 2009.
She recounted an incident at Fort Drum in September 2009, when Manning failed to show up for the unit’s daily morning exercise. Upon entering his room she found him unresponsive to her questions. “He was very quiet, didn’t really respond to anything I was saying,” Showman said. “I believe that I asked him, you know, how he had slept, why he wasn’t at formation, was it an alarm situation, or he just had no desire to come to formation.”
Later, as they headed toward the exercise formation, they walked near Master Sergeant Paul Adkins, the unit’s senior ranking non-commissioned officer. She said at that point Manning began to act aggressively, “screaming at the top of his lungs, waving his hands, with saliva coming out of his mouth.”
She recalls Manning telling them that “he couldn’t take messing up, he didn’t like messing up.”
Showman said she recommended to Adkins that Manning receive an Article 15 non-judicial punishment to deal with a minor infraction, because he “was a threat to himself” and a “threat to others” and had disrespected his superiors. However, to her knowledge, superior officers took no action.
In another incident prior to deploying to Iraq, she remembered seeing Manning freeze when a lieutenant asked him a question. When Showman and Adkins later met with Manning to see what might be wrong, he revealed that he “constantly felt paranoid” and “felt people were listening to his conversations, felt he could not trust anyone in the unit or around him.”
Manning told them he did not want to hurt himself, but he felt people were “watching his every move.” When Showman asked if he was hearing voices in his head, he told her no.
Showman said she was “furious” when she saw Manning’s name on a deployment roster. She felt that Adkins did not “counsel” soldiers up to standards. Adkins has since been reduced in rank and when called to testify on Sunday invoked his rights to protect himself from self-incrimination.
During the unit’s deployment in December 2009, Showman witnessed a counseling session between Manning and Sergeant Daniel Padgett in which Manning became violent. She said Manning stood up, flipped a table and then went toward Padgett. Showman said Manning appeared to look around the room and spotted an M4 carbine in the corner. Convinced that he was going toward the M4, Padgett grabbed him from behind in a lock-hold and dragged him to a chair.
Again, Manning did not receive an Article 15 punishment, even after Showman said he had “no business” working in the secure room where they had access to classified information. During weekend testimony, Captain Steven Lim, the brigade’s intelligence officer, testified that had he known the full details of this incident he would have ended Manning’s access to the room.
The most violent incident occurred in May 2010 when Showman found Manning lying in a fetal position. She warned the night supervisor, “Be ready for something to happen again.” Later that night, Showman said Manning punched her in an “unprovoked” attack.
“He was removed because he attacked,” Showman said. “He had punched me in the face, unprovoked, and displayed an uncontrollable behavior that was deemed untrustworthy at the time.” This time Manning did receive an Article 15 and was transferred out of the unit.
She said Manning shared information with her about problems he was having and that he was scared what behavioral health specialists would find if he told the truth and that they would remove him from the Army.
Government prosecutors completed their witness list by calling Adrian Lamo, the hacker who reported to federal authorities Manning’s boasts of having leaked classified information.