Trial of Wikileaks Suspect Raises Clearance Questions
At a military hearing of Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to the website Wikileaks, a major issue being presented by the defense team is whether Manning should have had access to sensitive information in the first place.
Described by his defense team as a troubled soldier dealing with gender identity issues, Manning’s attorneys sought to place responsibility on his military chain of command for ignoring signs he shouldn’t have been given access to classified computer systems.
Under cross examination by the defense, federal witnesses have acknowledged failures in procedure that allowed Manning to keep both his security clearance and access to secure facilities despite his exhibiting behavior described as “unstable.”
One issue preventing superiors from taking further action that was cited in the trial was the shortage of intelligence analysts with the knowledge and skills to take Manning’s place.
While gender identity is being cited by the defense as an issue that should have alerted superiors, as the ClearanceJobs.com article “Sexual Behavior and Security Clearances” states, it’s sexual behavior that indicates personality or emotional disorder that’s the problem, not specific sexual behavior itself… To quote the article:
Today sexual behavior is relevant when it is compulsive, self-destructive, high-risk, or criminal; creates susceptibility to coercion; occurs in public; or shows poor judgment. If at least one of these factors is not present, sodomy, promiscuity, adultery, group sex, cyber-sex, swinging, pornography, sadism, masochism, fetishism, bondage and degradation, homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexualism, and transvestism are not disqualifying conditions for a security clearance. Potentially disqualifying sexual behavior is usually a complex issue and often involves other adjudicative criteria, such as Criminal Conduct, Personal Conduct, Use of Information Technology Systems and sometimes Foreign Influence.
It would appear the combination of Manning’s self-professed gender identity issues – which were causing severe preoccupation and concern – combined with unpredictable and violent behavior, should have alerted his chain of command and led to actions that would have suspended his security clearance.
The prosecution completed laying out its case against Manning today in the Article 32 hearing, which will determine if he’ll go to court martial for the 22 charges against him, including aiding the enemy.