The ongoing pretrial of Pfc. Bradley Manning has revealed a shocking lack of security procedures in the soldier’s former intelligence unit which was once stationed in Iraq.
According to testimony obtained by The Guardian, soldiers were permitted to store movies on supposedly “secure” computer databases and listen to commercial CDs where “secure” computers were in operation.
In addition, discs were left “strewn about,” as the military failed to implement an effective system to prevent the removal of classified data from the building.
Manning stands accused of illegally downloading thousands of classified and sensitive documents that eventually ended up on the whistle-blowing WikiLeaks website, which published 251,287 cables.
Security expert David Shaver recently testified that 10,000 additional files weren’t posted due to a corrupt file which was ultimately recovered by forensic tools. Although the USB ports were blocked on Army PCs as per standard operating procedure (SOP), Manning managed to install a CD copying program and subsequently burned the files to a disc labeled Lady Gaga.
Meanwhile, Captain Steven Lim acknowledged that he was “shocked” when presented with a set of memorandums from Master Sergeant Paul Atkins, Manning’s direct supervisor, which chronicled the emotional difficulties the soldier faced before being deployed to Iraq in October 2009.
For example, Bradley sent an e-mail to Atkins in which the soldier included a picture of himself dressed as a women and confessed to suffering severe psychological problems, including gender dysphoria.
Other incidents included assaulting a female supervisor, flipping over a table, grabbing a weapon from a gun rack and lying in a fetal position on the floor.
However, Atkins did not inform Lim or any of his supervisors about Manning’s problems until after the soldier was arrested in May 2010. Lim admitted that had he known about Manning’s emotional issues, the soldier probably would have been issued a “derog” – a disciplinary complaint that likely would seen him removed from his unit and stripped of his security clearance.
Before his arrest, Manning worked as an intelligence analyst inside the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) at the Forward Operating Base Hammer outside Baghdad. He was tasked with analyzing data about Shia attacks on US forces and identifying patterns of behavior to help determine future deployments. As such, Manning was granted access to a secure D-Sig computer, which allowed him to log on to both SIPRNet and CIDNE.