Manning Defense Team: Stress From DADT, Gender Identity Disorder Led To Leak

Saturday was the third day of the pretrial hearing for Private Bradley Manning, who stands accused of leaking some 75,000 sensitive military documents to Wikileaks. It was also his 24th birthday.

And although it will be some time before the presiding officer determines whether there’s enough evidence to bring the young man’s case to trial, it appears defense attorneys are already starting to craft a defense: that being closeted during the era of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell—and possibly feeling like a woman trapped in a man’s body—”led to mental and emotional problems that should have barred him from having access to sensitive material,” according to the Daily Mail.

During the hearing, it was also revealed that  Manning had a female alter-ego, “Breanna Manning,” and information about hormone treatments in his quarters at the time of his arrest.

Prosecutors objected to the line of questioning but Manning’s attorney, Major Matthew Kemkes, said the accused’s gender-identity disorder and homosexuality was essential because they showed “what was going on in my client’s mind.”

Oh boy.

This could play out very poorly in the court of public opinion: Just as we’ve closed the door on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and are getting Americans to see gays and lesbians can serve proudly in the Armed Forces, we have someone at the center of the biggest security leak in U.S. history claiming his gender confusion and sexuality factored into his rationale for putting national interests at risk.

As Linda Carbonell of opines:

So, Bradley Manning is gay. Big freaking deal. His superiors knew. They suspected he was suffering from gender dysphoria. And his defense team is trying to paint that as an excuse, a cause for his crime. Is Dan Choi even listening to this shit? If the court martial accepts this as a contributing factor to Manning’s actions, as exculpatory, that destroys everything that gay activists have been fighting against – the perception that gays can’t be trusted in uniform.

This defense strategy is an insult to all the gay men and lesbian women who have served with honor and distinction. It is ammunition for those forces who would drive gays and lesbians out of the military and back in the closet. It is hateful. Blaming all of Manning’s problems on his being gay is a cop-out. It’s no better than the Twinkies defense.

Of course, if Don’t Ask Don’t Tell wasn’t in effect, perhaps Manning could’ve openly sought the help he needed instead of channeling his frustration into giving over 75,000 military and State Department documents. But you just know the Republicans are going to gloss over that point when they use this as an example of why gays shouldn’t be allowed to serve.

Image via Daniel Joseph Barnhart Clark

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  • CBRad

    Before we start on the subject, just a reminder that Lez Get Real should never be used as a source for quotes or anything. Don’t forget how it was discovered the person running that blog was a fraud.

  • kylew

    Hmmm, this is starting to look very ominous. I don’t blame his defence team for trying whatever strategy will give him the best chance of success, but if he is willing to sacrifice the entire gay community in order to save his hide, all he is doing is confirming the fact that he’s a traitor in every area of his life.

    I think it’s a shame that the defence has even gone down the road of trying to paint his actions as those of a man under emotional duress. They should be on the attack pointing out that this was info that the world had a right to know – if that was the case. Otherwise his actions ARE pretty indefensible and he should be punished.

    I’m ambivalent about the whole case. If he knew that the military was abusing its position, I guess in the public good, it was right that he shared that info, although I question his choice of outlet, and the extent of info that he released, which could have endangered lives. Also, who the hell made him and wikileaks judge and jury over what was in the public interest?

  • Mike

    if the first part of this story is a quote from the UK daily Mail then don’t believe all you read, it’s a homophobic rag!

  • Robert in NYC

    All this man did was leak information to the press and NOT to enemy nations as some like to paint it. Americans should have the right to know about the shady dealings its government is involved in. Isn’t government supposed to be transparent and accountable in the interests of the people who come first?

  • bobito

    Hopefully, that is not gonna be their defense, and it’s just some bullshit story by the Daily Mail. If they can report anything from a homophobic perspecitve, rest assured they will.

    That said, it was important for us as citizens to know what abuses were being committed in our name – contrary to popular belief, ignorance of what our country is doing abroad does not keep us safe… as we might recall from the incidents that occurred on September 11, 2001. None of the documents that Manning leaked were classified at the highest level of secrecy – top secret – but rather bore only low-level classification. And the government has yet to present even one incident of a person being harmed as a direct result of the Wikileaks release (and if they had ANYTHING they could skew to look that way, don’t you think they would have done it by now?) On the other hand, one could persuasively argue that these leaks contributed to the end of our occupation of Iraq, which is a good thing for the country. So I hope his lawyers have better angles to pursue his defense than his unhappiness over DADT. Honestly!

  • pedro

    Hope he get’s a fair trial as guaranteed under the constitution…But other than that this freak could fry for all I care. And all of you people justifying his actions, really need to get a clue, this pathetic fool, should never have gone into the military in the first place, since he obviously doesn’t have the balls for military life. He took an oath to be a loyal soldier and instead committed treason because he was fucked in the head and wanted to wear dresses and look all pretty and shit. He could rot in jail for the rest his life, I wouldn’t lose one sec of sleep on it.

  • kylew

    @Robert in NYC: Leaking to the press is EXACTLY the same as leaking to the world. Journos are not vetted for their patriotism. I am conflicted because people DO need to know how their government behaves, but some low level grunt with psychological resentment issues is not the best one to decide what they should be accountable for.

    Also, once the whole Iraq situation was started, we have a duty to stay to its completion. I dunno if it’s completed – just saying.

  • Jewed Law

    So the bottom line is that we gay men can get away with criminal activity because we feel oppressed? Or depressed? Or whatever mental excuse Manning plans to use? So, by this rationale, wouldn’t a gay basher who claims he was threatened by his victim’s existence be able to get away with it? The answer is no, of course. If we don’t want people using our sexuality against us, we can’t turn around and use it as a defense for criminal activity. If Manning beats these charges based on this theory, we can all say good-bye to a few decades’ worth of progression. Thanks a lot, Brad—er, I mean, Breanna.

  • I won't grow up

    @kylew: You are dead on correct in both of your posts, well thought out reasoning.

  • Keith

    As I have been pointing out for months, Manning is NOT gay. He is a tranny. A heterosexual transsexual. Gay and transsexual are 2 entirely different things.Gay soldiers should not be smeared with the actions of this GID sufferer.

  • SteveC

    Bradley Manning has not been found guilty of any crime, so presumptions of his guilt are completely inappropriate.

    Yet he was incarcerated for 18 months before being charged?

    Something rotten here.

    But we must not ask questions. The steady erosion of every US citizen’s civil rights (Patriot Act?) must NOT be questioned. The threat of terrorism is too great? Oh please.

  • B

    No. 5 · bobito wrote, “Hopefully, that is not gonna be their defense, and it’s just some bullshit story by the Daily Mail. If they can report anything from a homophobic perspecitve, rest assured they will.” has an AP article on it. Apparently his lawyer is arguing that, because of the stress of the discrimination due to DADT, Manning should never have been given a security clearance in the first place.

    This argument is independent of whether he leaked anything or not, but simply represents a claim that the government bears some responsibility for whatever he might have done. claims that “The opening segments of Monday’s testimony focused on a forensic examination of Manning’s two workplace computers. In the most potentially damaging evidence so far, a witness said Sunday he found more than 10,000 downloaded diplomatic cables and other sensitive information on a computer Manning used. But pressed under cross-examination, digital-crimes investigator David Shaver said that some of those cables didn’t match any of those published by WikiLeaks. The damaged file could only be opened with special tools, which could explain why those documents weren’t released, he said.”

    Also, “His defense has also challenged the government to explain why a private said to have upended furniture in fits of rage and exhibited a pattern of troubled behavior was allowed to keep working with highly sensitive information. A supervisor who might have shed light on that question refused to testify.”

    In any case, all the quotes are from the Associated Press articles cited. See the originals for futher information – it should have substantially more credibility than the Daily Mail in general.

  • Chuck

    Let’s be honest, the transsexual community did not need this. Forgetting the fact that Manning was a whistle blower and he may have helped be a catalyst for the Arab Spring, and exposed the next Republican fake war (with Iran), he did break the rules. This needs to be framed in how much harm and stress the DADT created and provide further proof that not only did DADT not work, it posed a security threat by creating needless mental anguish for LGBT soldiers.

  • GayGOP

    Manning, who, reading the evidence I’ve seen, fits the bill as a traitor, and should be facing a needle in his arm. What a load of crock that he’s claiming that DADT made him do it. Thanks, Brad, for sending us all up the river so you could commit treason.

  • Libertarian Larry

    @GayGOP: Took the words right out of my mouth.

  • B

    No. 16 · GayGOP wrote, “Manning, who, reading the evidence I’ve seen, fits the bill as a traitor, and should be facing a needle in his arm. What a load of crock that he’s claiming that DADT made him do it.”

    First, read No. 14 – according to AP articles, Manning is not claiming that “DADT made him do it.” His lawyer simply asked why someone who was behaving as erratically as Manning was would have access to classified material at all. It’s a reasonable point – if security was that lax, what else did they screw up?

    So far, no evidence that I would consider adequate for a conviction has been released (which does not mean that such evidence does not exist, just that it has not been made public). His chat logs with that Stamos guy don’t amount to much as he could have simply been feeding Lamos some BS. If you look at which has a transcript of the chat log, Manning never really gave out much information – he was mostly handwaving. It’s enough to make you wonder about him but not enough to convict him.

  • Joanaroo

    Those defense lawyers must be Repubs for using gay and transsexual people as a scapegoat for Manning’s security leaks. Does that mean being gay and /or transgender people in the military are all going to be a security risk? Certainly not. But those lawyers and Manning are going to stir the flames of redneck hate of gays, transsexuals and soldiers of those sexual orientations and that is wrong! The repeal of DADT was the best thing to happen to the military.

  • Chuck

    @GayGOP: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Conservatives just don’t like people. What would you do with your day if you weren’t hating on some individual or group? Why do you love to inflict punishment on fellow human beings. Manning did break the rules and he has served 19 months in isolation, which is defined by many groups as torture. But please spare the rest of use your boring, predictable sense of outrage and use all that energy to deal with your own self hatred, which all bigotry masks. Do a little introspection, for once, and try to justify why your hate for the boogieman of the day justifies being a member of a party which enthusiastically boos an active serviceman because he is gay, vigorously opposed the Matthew Shepherd Act and all other hate legislation, and whose presidential candidates have all vowed to reinstate DADT, support DOMA, and would repeal LGBT marriage rights in the states (so much for states rights.) Indeed, as a gay Republican, just do us all a favor and go away. You obviously have more pressing personal issues that need attention than coming on here spewing your self hating projection.

  • GayGOP

    @Chuck: Thanks Chuck. If you want to know why I’m a Republican, I’ll gladly tell you. However, as regards this topic, I think anybody convicted of treason should be frying, not just facing a needle. Who cares what the rest of the world thinks is torture? It is not, under our law, torture, and he served only 19 months. A traitor should be facing a long, painful death. As far as I am concerned, and based on what I read, he is probably a traitor. No traitor should be suffered to live.

  • oldgayvermonter

    What a bunch of douches! Bradley Manning, who may or may not (no trial has been held) be guilty of exposing extremely bad behavior (criminal in some cases, like machine gunning Iraqi civilians and reporters – but I can’t say that since those parties also have not had a trial). If one were to read some of the “diplomatic” crap being done in our name (read Wiki cables) you would be embarrassed, to say the least (or should be). Meanwhile, since large parts of our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been effectively repealed in the name of protecting said rights, Manning is held in solitary in third world conditions for a VERY LONG TIME without charges. USA #1 – of course that’s all in a day’s work at our Cuban prison camp. After reading of his pre-trial treatment I would not be surprised if he were declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. From what I have read of the material that was released he may be more a whistle blower and patriot than traitor to be fried. Time will tell, that is if our legal system still has any legs. And if Newt doesn’t like the outcome he will just have the judges arrested in the American tradition.

  • Chuck

    @GayGOP: Again, he broke the rules, but traitor? I’ll reserve that for George W. Bush and Cheney who cost thousands of lives with their wars based on lies and people like you who want another war with Iran. Yes Manning let that one out of the bag by breaking the rules. But excuse me if I don’t weep for the lost Haliburton and Blackwater profits. I’ll save my sorrows for the innocent men who actually die in the name of profit and improving Republican pole numbers. Yes, thousands of Americans are dead and trillions of taxpayer dollars have been spent, but it goosed up Bush’s pole numbers and made everyone forget about the 2000 election he stole, so it’s all good, right?

  • kylew

    I’m sorry, but if his defence’s primary argument is, “He was emotionally volatile – it was YOUR fault for trusting him” then the boy is done for because that reads to me the same as “It was his fault his house got robbed because he left his front door unlocked.”

    There was INTENT to disseminate sensitive information, and forethought (this was not the action of a few moments of distraught behaviour) and as soon as Manning did so, he became an enemy of the state, on a par with al quaida (sp?). THAT is ostensibly why he has been kept in solitary. Just in case he is part of a deeper plot, and to prevent him from contacting others who may present a threat to national security. I think it’s hogwash – but none of us knows for certain the full extent of his dissidency.

  • kylew

    The real issue here is not Manning’s behaviour. He did it. No doubt – deal with him accordingly.

    The far greater issue is how does a patriotic citizen reveal that his government has behaved unconstitutionally, when the only way to safely reveal that, is to break the law of the land?

    Of course, the law cannot be changed to provide get out clauses in cases such as this, and I am certain that they will nail Manning to the wall just to make an example, when in actual fact, he should be let off with a thank you for helping to protect the democracy that everyone holds so dear. Even if his motivation was NOT honorable.

  • GOD (gay old dude)

    @Chuck: Chuck, you are painfully misguided and woefully gullible, not to mention comically naive. The first thing you need to understand is: Your sexuality is not your identity. The second thing you need to understand is: Your sexuality is not your identity. There’s more to life than your gay pride, so why not try embracing that for a change?

  • RVH

    @GayGOP: You people make me sick. You gay Republican quislings have been nothing more than cheerleaders for unnecessary wars and the growing police state. You do know that military dictatorships always turn on their own supporters, right?

  • GayGOP

    @RVH: I’ve not been a supporter of Iraq ever, or Afghanistan for a long while. I think we should just say F#&k the rest of the world, and spend our money on our own betterment. I am a Republican because of trade, taxes, government social programs, abortion, immigration, isolationist foreign policy, and a strong law-and-order platform. I can’t bring myself to vote for Democrats, because I disagree with them on almost all issues, though I am not above voting for specific Democrats, when I think that they are the better candidates.

    @Chuck: I’m not saying that what he revealed should not have been revealed, but breaking the law to do it, and revealing documents that were legally classified is, I would argue, treasonous, and I believe that all traitors should face the maximum penalty by mandate. Do I weep for Halliburton, no. Do I weep for any of them, no. But do I weep for Manning’s situation? Only as much as I weep for Halliburton.

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