By Jim Kouri
Security within the intelligence division of the U.S. military exhibits so much laxity that soldiers are able to play video games or watch motion pictures on intelligence computers, according to a hearing into the so-called Wikileaks scandal and its prime suspect, a U.S. soldier.
Speaking during a hearing regarding Private Bradley Manning — the soldier who leaked thousands of classified documents to blogger Julian Assange and his Wikileaks web site — an Army officer in Manning’s intelligence unit claimed it was common knowledge that intelligence analysts would bring in movie DVDs they’d purchase from Iraqi vendors and watch them on secured computers.
It was also common knowledge that intelligence unit stored rock music and played video games on computers that were supposed to be used for storing classified information.
This testimony by Captain Casey Fulton is the latest revelation of the lack of military protocol within the unit to which the 24-year old Manning was assigned as a low-level intelligence analyst.
In previous testimony, witnesses revealed that computer passwords were written on Post-it notes, stuck on terminals, and that there was no security policy and procedure for inspections to prevent classified material from “walking out the front doors.”
Testimony also disclosed that discipline in the intelligence unit was lax, with officers and enlisted men and women often fraternizing with one another.
Captain Fulton also claimed she was not aware it was wrong for soldiers to store music and movies on a secured hard drive.
During questioning, Fulton stated that in her opinion Pvt. Manning should have been disciplined in December 2009 when he was involved in an incident in which he became enraged, overturned a table and attempted to grab a weapon from a nearby gun rack.
She also said that it was her view that Manning should also have been disciplined in May 2010 when he physically attacked and injured a fellow intelligence analyst. Earlier that same day, she told the hearing panel that she personally observed Manning on the floor curled up in a ball in a small room. Later that same day she saw Manning pinned to the ground by a female soldier known as “Specialist Shulman.”
Others testified that they saw Manning strike Shulman, and she had a red welt on her face, according to Captain Fulton.
It was for fighting that Manning was disciplined, according to Fulton, but Manning could have had his security clearance revoked and he should have beed denied access to the databases of confidential information.
Manning faces a two dozen-count indictment, including charges of aiding the enemy, in relation to the leak last year of 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. This latest hearing was held to see whether or not Manning will face a full court-martial over the alleged crimes.
Special thanks to a friend and colleague in law enforcement, who previously worked in military intelligence, “Rodger.”