WikiLeaks suspect's mental health was a factor in Quantico transfer 

Concern regarding the long detainment and mental health of Army PFC Bradley Manning at Quantico brig was a significant factor in the Defense Department’s decision to move him to Joint Regional Correctional Facility Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas, according to senior Army and Defense officials.

Defense Department’s General Council Jeh Johnson  and Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal told reporters at a Pentagon press conference late Tuesday that Manning, who spent the past eight months at the Quantico Marine facility, needed to be moved because Quantico was not designed to hold pre-trial detainees for longer than two months.

“I won’t say the conditions at Quantico had nothing to do with this,” Johnson told reporters. Johnson said the length of time, coupled with other factors, such as Manning’s state of mind, made Ft. Leavenworth the appropriate facility to transfer Manning during long pre-trial confinement.

Manning was arrested in Iraq last May when he disclosed to a former hacker that he had leaked classified material to WikiLeaks. He was held in Kuwait for two months before being transferred to Quantico to await trial.

Because Manning was designated by the military as a maximum-custody detainee under prevention-of-injury watch, he spent 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, had his clothes taken away at night and was forced to sleep naked while under suicide watch.

Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton, commander of Ft. Leavenworth, who also attended the press conference said Manning will “receive an in-depth risk assessment.”

Hilton said the facility, which has “the most highly trained and expert staff” we’ll assess his mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Manning will receive three meals in dining facility, open recreational time, ability to interact with other pre-trial inmates but “its all based on the internal and external risk assessment,” Hilton added.

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Sara A. Carter

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