WASHINGTON — A mental health specialist told the military that the soldier accused of leaking classified material to WikiLeaks should not be deployed to Iraq, but was sent anyway, The Washington Post reported Thursday, quoting a military source.
The Post said the recommendation about Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was made by a specialist at Fort Drum, N.Y., but the final decision rested with his immediate commanders and the military was in need of intelligence analysts like him in Iraq at the time.
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The newspaper said Manning was distraught about a personal relationship when he sought counseling help. The Post reported that the military official said Manning screamed at higher-ranking soldier in his unit at Fort Drum, and Manning's attorney said that in Iraq, a master sergeant was so concerned about Manning that he disabled the private's weapon in December 2009. The Army said Manning was demoted in Iraq in May 2010 for assaulting a soldier.
Manning, 23, is being held at a Marine facility in Quantico, Va., awaiting a possible trial. Supporters have said that the conditions of his solitary confinement are causing severe psychological distress to him and amount to punishment and torture.
Manning is accused of downloading classified State Department and Pentagon files, and he has been charged with transmitting classified material to an unauthorized person.
But U.S. military officials told NBC News last month that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between Manning and Julian Assange, founder of the website WikiLeaks.
The officials say that while investigators have determined that Manning had allegedly unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents onto his own computer and passed them to an unauthorized person, there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure.
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Assange, an Australian national, is under house arrest at a British mansion near London, facing a Swedish warrant seeking his extradition for questioning on charges of rape. Assange has denied the allegations.
WikiLeaks' release of secret diplomatic cables last year caused a diplomatic stir and laid bare some of the most sensitive U.S. dealings with governments around the world. It also prompted an American effort to stifle WikiLeaks by pressuring financial institutions to cut off the flow of money to the organization.
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