charmed forces

How Did Pfc. Bradley Manning Go From Isolated Tween to Wikileaker?

Pfc. Bradley Manning, the queer suspected source of all those Wikileaks docs, might have trafficked some 90,000 classified items on Lady Gaga CDs so people would like him.

With a drag queen boyfriend Tyler Watkins, Manning wasn’t having much fun under the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law, some of his friends tell the Times. He grew up isolated, preferring “hacking computer games rather than playing them.” He would act out. Moving to Wales with his mother, he was teased in school; classmates suspected he was gay. Says one former peer, who was openly gay in high school: “It was probably the worst experience anybody could go through. Being different like me, or Bradley, in the middle of nowhere is like going back in time to the Dark Ages.” Moving back to Oklahoma, Manning was kicked out of his father’s house when he found out his son was gay.

Manning met Watkins while enlisted.

Before being deployed to Iraq, Private Manning met Tyler Watkins, who described himself on his blog as a classical musician, singer and drag queen. A friend said the two had little in common, but Private Manning fell head over heels. Mr. Watkins, who did not respond to interview requests for this article, was a student at Brandeis University. On trips to visit him here in Cambridge, Private Manning got to know many in Mr. Watkins’ wide network of friends, including some who were part of this university town’s tight-knit hacker community.

Friends said Private Manning found the atmosphere here to be everything the Army was not: openly accepting of his geeky side, his liberal political opinions, his relationship with Mr. Watkins and his ambition to do something that would get attention.

And now Manning sits, on suicide watch, in a prison in Virginia.