Many ask how Bradley Manning was able to access, amass and expose 700,000 of our nation’s classified documents. The simple answer is the use of a Lady Gaga CD and abuse of the trust that was placed in him to not copy classified data and release it to the world. But failed leadership gave him an unparalleled opportunity. Pouring over various leaders’ own words as reported on alexaobrien.com and Bradley Manning’s defense’s request for Article 32 witnesses portray a clear picture of the litany of errors. They are shocking but at no time do they excuse Bradley Manning from responsibility for his crimes. Doing so would be like blaming a bad cop for a criminal committing murder.
Manning served in a unit with some severe leadership challenges. COL David M. Miller, BDE commander, moved Manning’s officer in charge, Major Cliff Clausen, the S-2 or intel section chief, while deployed because after six months this officer didn’t “communicate information the way the commander needed it.” Four months later, Manning’s company commander was relieved for poor accountability and decision making. These changes had no direct impact on Manning, but they do indicate some shortcomings in enforcing standards.
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