FORT MEADE, Md. - An Army private charged with sending U.S secrets to the website WikiLeaks had a history of suicidal thoughts and aloof behavior that outweighed a psychiatrist's opinion that he was no risk to himself, two former counselors testified Sunday.
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Jordan and Marine Master Sgt. Craig Blenis testified on the sixth day of a pretrial hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning, 24, at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. The hearing is to determine whether Manning's nine months in pretrial confinement at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., were so punishing that the judge should dismiss all charges. The intelligence analyst is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the secret-spilling website in 2009 and 2010.
The counselors, both of whom worked in the brig, sat on a board that recommended to the brig commander that Manning remain in maximum custody and on injury-prevention or suicide-risk status - conditions that kept him confined to his cell 23 hours a day.
Jordan said under cross-examination that besides the mental-health report, he considered evidence that Manning had contemplated suicide after his arrest in Iraq in May 2010. The evidence included a noose Manning had fashioned from a bedsheet while confined in Kuwait, and a statement about suicide that he made at Quantico in July 2010 that he was "always planning and never acting."
Jordan acknowledged Manning had been a polite and nearly trouble-free detainee at Quantico. But he maintained that Manning's unwillingness to converse with him and other brig staff was a warning sign he was at risk of self-harm.
The hearing on Manning's confinement was to resume Wednesday.