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Army needs to review its disciplinary process

December 23, 2011
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning had provided ample evidence he was a risk before he leaked thousands of national security documents to the Wikileaks website. Yet his superiors did not limit his access to the information.

This came out recently during an Army hearing for Manning, who is accused of a variety of crimes. Manning's defense attorney related several stories of out-of-control behavior by his client during the months before the crimes occurred.

In at least two fits of rage, Manning overturned furniture. In another, he fought with another soldier after she confronted him over playing a video game while he was supposed to be working.

Finally, after the fight, Manning was banned from his workplace. But it was too late. He already had begun sending out classified information.

His attorney brings up a good question: Why did none of Manning's superiors take action against him sooner?

It is the same question critics have asked about the Army's treatment of Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people and wounded 29 others in a massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009. Despite ample evidence Hasan was a threat to others, the Army did virtually nothing to prevent his bloody rampage.

With more than a half-million troops, the service is bound to have a few who need to be spotted as problems and dealt with effectively. Obviously, the Army's top brass needs to take a new look at disciplinary procedures.



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