Six days into the hearing on whether or not PFC Bradley Manning should be put on trial for allegedly leaking classified information to the whistleblower website Wikileaks, the prosecution and defence have rested.
The US government spent four days calling 20 witnesses. The defence: 35 minutes. They requested 48 witnesses, but the investigating officer only allowed the 10 that were on the government’s list plus two more. Both witnesses worked with Manning in Iraq when he was an intelligence analyst on the night shift in December 2009.
Sgt Daniel Padgett testified that he had a counseling session with Manning in December 2009 when he was late for work. He said initially Manning was calm, but then he gave him a strange look, stood up and turned the table over. He said he was worried Manning might go for a gun in the weapons rack, so another soldier came into the room and restrained him. Padgett said he vaguely remembers discussing the incident with a supervisor but not the company commander. No disciplinary action was taken.
Padgett also testified that the unit lacked a clear chain of command. Defence lead attorney David Coombs asked if there was strong leadership in the unit. Padgett answered: “There could’ve been more oversight.”
The only other defence witness was Capt Barclay Keay, the officer in charge on the night shift for a few weeks in 2009. He testified over the phone. Keay said there was music and probably games and movies played in the secure facility where they worked, even though that wasn’t allowed. Manning allegedly downloaded classified information while listening to music while on duty.
Coombs also asked Keay if Manning was a good soldier. “My initial impression is he wanted to try and did good analytical work,” said Keay. Then the defence rested.
Investigating officer Paul Almanza asked Manning if he wanted to make a statement. He said “no sir, I’m good.” Almanza announced the hearing will reconvene on Thursday morning for closing arguments. Coombs asked to finish up on Wednesday, but the government objected, saying they weren’t ready to counter defence evidence which came in late.
Once the hearing concludes, Almanza has until Jan 16 to submit a report on whether or not Manning’s case should go to trial, unless he asks for more time. If convicted, Manning faces life in prison.