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Co-workers: Manning, others ignored security

Dec. 18, 2011 - 06:38PM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 18, 2011 - 06:38PM  |  
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning arrives Dec. 18 at a military magistrate court facility for an Article 32 hearing at Fort Meade, Md.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning arrives Dec. 18 at a military magistrate court facility for an Article 32 hearing at Fort Meade, Md. (Saul Leob / AFP via Getty Images)
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FORT MEADE, Md. — Co-workers of Pfc. Bradley Manning, testifying in evidentiary hearings here Sunday, provided a window into the facility in Iraq where Manning and other soldiers disregarded security procedures.

Capt. Casey Fulton, Manning's former supervisor, testified Manning emailed her links to a leaked video from a 2007 airstrike in Iraq that killed unarmed men and to an edited WikiLeaks version of the video posted to YouTube with the title "Collateral Murder."

"He came up to me and said he thought it was the same video on our shared drive," Fulton said. "He sent me an email with a link to our shared drive … two links … One was the Apache video, and the other was the same video."

The disclosure came during the third day of an Article 32 hearing to determine whether Manning would face a court-martial for 22 charges, including aiding the enemy. He is accused of giving WikiLeaks a trove of government material while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010, including Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and State Department cables.

The Obama administration says the released information has threatened valuable military and diplomatic sources and strained America's relations with other governments. Manning's lawyers counter that much of the information that was classified by the Pentagon posed no risk.

Defense attorneys have focused on signs of Manning's emotional instability and the failure of his supervisors to pull his security clearance, as well as security lapses in the facility on Forward Operating Base Hammer where Manning worked.

Manning, who turned 24 on Saturday, could face a term of life in prison as a traitor. He appeared in court in an Army camouflage uniform and dark-rimmed glasses, looking attentive and conferring with his attorneys.

Fulton and other witnesses testified the facility where Manning worked retained the ability to burn classified files onto CDs because it sometimes was necessary to share them with their Iraqi counterparts.

Soldiers signed agreements and were trusted not to remove classified material or place it on their personal computers.

"You can't take something off a classified system and put it on an unclassified system, that's considered spillage," Fulton said.

Co-workers from the secure facility in Baghdad, where Manning was a junior analyst on the Shia-threat analysis team, detailed in court the long list of sensitive information accessible to the intelligence aggregation program Manning worked with on his classified computer, Distributed Common Ground System-Army.

While defense attorneys pointed to poor enforcement of security in Manning's workplace, Fulton said analysts like Manning are trusted to safeguard the classified information in their care and sign agreements pledging to do so.

"It's impossible to supervise 100 percent of the time," she said. "There are only a limited number of supervisors and there cannot be supervision all the time."

Witnesses testified that terms Manning searched on classified networks had would have had no bearing on his work. Prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fine read them off: Guantanamo procedures, Iceland, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, and AR 15-6 investigations, among others.

Some witnesses said security lapses where they worked were widespread or even ignored by key personnel in the unit, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

Capt. Thomas Chrepko, former network security manager for the brigade, said he warned the brigade executive officer that unauthorized music, movies and applications resided on a shared unit hard drive, but the officer reportedly did nothing to stop the activity and nobody was disciplined.

Under cross-examination from Steven Coombs, Manning's attorney, Chrepko testified by phone that he never disciplined anyone for the lapses.

"My job is to make recommendations, and whatever decisions are made, I execute policy," he said.

Chrepko also disclosed he never completed the required Defense Department certification process for the brigade's networks. Nor did he ever conduct a personal inspection of the T-SCIF where Manning worked. Chrepko received a formal letter of admonishment for not completing the certification process.

Information technology specialists in the brigade would crack the administrators' passwords to install unauthorized applications on secure machines, according to Jason Allen Millman, a contractor who repaired computers in the brigade.

Manning's co-workers also testified about his emotional problems and violent outbursts.

Manning's security clearance was eventually suspended after a meltdown in which he struck a soldier in the face, leaving a "red welt," Fulton said.

That day, he had been seen on the floor in the fetal position, after his noncommissioned officer in charge admonished him for tardiness.

The same noncommissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Adkins, was one of two former supervisors who invoked his right not to testify. According to a previous witness, Adkins, who took the stand briefly to invoke his rights, knew about Manning's emotional problems but never told the chain of command.

Adkins, who was demoted after Manning's arrest, had not reported an email Manning sent him in April 2009 that contained a photo of Manning in women's clothing and a confession he suffered from gender identity disorder. Adkins also drafted three memoranda detailing concerns about Manning but kept them to himself until after Manning's arrest.

Fulton testified that following Manning's assault of then-Spc. Jihrleah Showman — in which Showman pinned Manning to the floor — Fulton barred him from the facility, had his weapon removed and recommended his security clearance be suspended.

"I wanted him to not have to interact with the soldiers," Fulton said "(It's appropriate) any time there is a violent outburst like that in a deployed environment and a functioning weapon."

Co-workers described Manning as an uneven worker who was bright and capable with graphs, but often failed to complete intelligence reports he was assigned.

Manning's counterpart on the day shift, Sgt. Chad Madaras, recalled a time when Manning slammed a chair and trudged off after Adkins asked Manning to move a projector in the secure facility.

Madaras also testified that supervisors ignored Manning's poor behavior.

He would slam books on the table and at one point was unresponsive when supervisors called his name.

"At one time, [Warrant Officer 1 Kyle J.] Balonek and Adkins were calling his name, and he just sat there staring at his computer screen," Madaras said.

On Saturday, forensic investigators testified they found chat logs of conversations between Manning and former hacker Adrian Lamo, to whom he bragged of leaking classified information, according to a government witness. Lamo eventually turned in Manning and the chat logs to authorities.

The chat logs on Manning's computer matched those found on the computer of Lamo, Mark Mander, a special agent with the Army's Computer Crime Investigative Unit, testified in court.

Agents found a memory card with "information that was classified" on it in Manning's home in the United States, Mander said, but he did not elaborate. They also found on his computer logs of searches he performed on Intelink, the U.S. intelligence community's secure networks.

Mander also revealed initial concern Manning had been in contact with foreign agents.

"In the beginning, there was concern a foreign intelligence service was involved," he said.

Witnesses have revealed that Manning had an online alter-ego, Breanna Manning, in whose name he created an email and Facebook account, according to witness testimony.

Special Agent Toni Graham, who collected evidence from Manning's living quarters said she also found materials in Manning's quarters about gender-reassignment surgery, including an article "Transsexuals in the military: Flight into hypermasculinity," and chat-logs on his laptop in which he described himself as "fragile."

"We already knew that Pfc. Manning was a homosexual," Graham said. "We knew he was interested in those topics."

Defense attorneys questioned Troy Bettencourt about whether the Army should have done more for Manning, given his odd behavior.

"I would like to think if I had been in the chain of command would have done things differently," Bettencourt, a former CID agent assigned to the Manning investigation, said. "Ideally would have been aware of what we know now to prevent him from deploying, and again that is with the benefit of hindsight."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

jgould@militarytimes.com?subject=Question from AirForceTimes.com reader">Joe Gould is reporting from the hearing at Fort Meade. Follow him on https://twitter.com/">Twitter: @reporterjoe

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