Army to Transfer Manning to Leavenworth

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2011 — The Army plans to trans­fer Army Pfc. Bradley Man­ning, charged with leak­ing clas­si­fied mil­i­tary infor­ma­tion in the Wik­iLeaks inci­dent, to a new Joint Region­al Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty at Fort Leav­en­worth, Kan., Jeh C. John­son, the Defense Department’s gen­er­al coun­sel, announced today.
John­son explained the ratio­nale not­ing that it is the right time to trans­fer Man­ning to a more appro­pri­ate facil­i­ty for long-term pre-tri­al con­fine­ment.

“At the request of Pri­vate Manning’s defense coun­sel, an assess­ment is under way to deter­mine whether Pri­vate Man­ning is men­tal­ly com­pe­tent in this case in the event it goes to tri­al,” he said. “On Sat­ur­day, April 9, the inquiry phase of that process, known in mil­i­tary jus­tice terms as a 706 board, was com­plet­ed, and Pri­vate Manning’s pres­ence in the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., area is no longer nec­es­sary for that pur­pose.

“At this junc­ture of the case, we have decid­ed that the new joint region­al cor­rec­tion­al facil­i­ty at Fort Leav­en­worth, Kan., is the most appro­pri­ate facil­i­ty for Pri­vate Man­ning for con­tin­ued pre­tri­al deten­tion,” he said.

Manning’s trans­fer from the pre­tri­al con­fine­ment facil­i­ty at Marine Base Quan­ti­co in Vir­ginia is “immi­nent,” John­son said, but cit­ing stan­dard pol­i­cy, he declined to pro­vide pre­cise details.

“This is the right deci­sion at the right time,” Army Under­sec­re­tary Joseph W. West­phal said, rein­forc­ing Johnson’s expla­na­tion.

“This [facil­i­ty] became avail­able in Jan­u­ary for pre­tri­al [con­fi­nees],” West­phal said. “We were look­ing at the sit­u­a­tion where he would need an envi­ron­ment that was more con­ducive to a longer-term peri­od, and this is why we made the deci­sion to move him at this time. We need­ed to wait until the 706, and his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 706 review process was over.”

With the med­ical review of Manning’s com­pe­tence to stand tri­al expect­ed to take addi­tion­al time, and a pre­tri­al phase that “may con­tin­ue for months beyond that,” John­son said, the deci­sion was made to trans­fer him to Fort Leav­en­worth.

Army Cor­rec­tions Com­mand reviewed the new facil­i­ty and deter­mined it has the exper­tise and capa­bil­i­ty to pro­vide con­tin­ued, long-term pre­tri­al con­fine­ment for Man­ning, John­son said.

“The facil­i­ty, which opened in Octo­ber and opened a pre­tri­al con­fine­ment capa­bil­i­ty in Jan­u­ary, is a state-of-the-art com­plex with the best and widest range of sup­port ser­vices avail­able to pre­tri­al pris­on­ers with­in the Depart­ment of Defense cor­rec­tions sys­tem,” he said.

The facil­i­ty has res­i­dent med­ical and men­tal-health care staff appro­pri­ate to meet Pri­vate Manning’s health and wel­fare needs for the remain­der of the 706 Board process into the pre­tri­al phase, John­son said.

“When he is trans­ferred to the Joint Region­al Cor­rec­tion Facil­i­ty, he will receive sup­port from expe­ri­enced, trained pro­fes­sion­al staff that has been doing this for well over 20 years,” said Army Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton, the facil­i­ty com­man­der. “And he will receive the men­tal health, phys­i­cal health and emo­tion­al health [sup­port] that he needs to go through this judi­cial process.”

“The Quan­ti­co brig is a Lev­el 1 facil­i­ty that is not intend­ed for long-term incar­cer­a­tion either pre- or post-tri­al,” she said. Typ­i­cal­ly, pre­tri­al pris­on­ers are not incar­cer­at­ed at a Lev­el 1 facil­i­ty for more than a cou­ple months.”

The Joint Region­al Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty in Kansas is a state-of-the-art, Lev­el 2 facil­i­ty, Hilton said. “So what that means is that I have the capac­i­ty to hold not only the pre­tri­al pris­on­ers, but post-tri­al pris­on­ers with sen­tences up to five years. And with that comes all the sup­port staff that Pfc. Man­ning may need,” she said.

“I have the expe­ri­enced staff who not only work at the Joint Region­al Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty, but also at the Unit­ed States Dis­ci­pli­nary Bar­racks at Fort Leav­en­worth,” she con­tin­ued. “So it’s more than just the facil­i­ty. It’s the staff that comes with the facil­i­ty. My facil­i­ty is dif­fer­ent than the [Quan­ti­co] brig. I am devel­oped, designed and staffed with the expe­ri­enced staff to pro­vide those ser­vices for long-term incar­cer­a­tion.”

John­son empha­sized that the deci­sion to trans­fer Man­ning should not be inter­pret­ed as any crit­i­cism of the pre­tri­al facil­i­ty at Quan­ti­co. “We remain sat­is­fied that Pri­vate Manning’s pre­tri­al con­fine­ment at Quan­ti­co was in com­pli­ance with legal and reg­u­la­to­ry stan­dards in all respects,” he said. “And we salute the mil­i­tary per­son­nel there for the job they did in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances.”

As at Quan­ti­co, Man­ning will be allowed to receive a lim­it­ed num­ber of out­side vis­i­tors at Fort Leav­en­worth, sub­ject to his and the command’s agree­ment, John­son said. In addi­tion, he said, the Army will allow a lim­it­ed num­ber of media rep­re­sen­ta­tives to tour the Leav­en­worth pre­tri­al facil­i­ty.

Man­ning will return to Wash­ing­ton as nec­es­sary, for legal pro­ceed­ings, with his case remain­ing under the juris­dic­tion of the U.S. Army Mil­i­tary Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton. John­son empha­sized that as the case pro­gress­es, Man­ning will be assumed inno­cent until proven guilty.

“It is impor­tant to remem­ber that while Pri­vate Man­ning is charged with very seri­ous offens­es involv­ing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion and nation­al secu­ri­ty, in our sys­tem of mil­i­tary jus­tice, as in our sys­tem of civil­ian jus­tice in this coun­try, he is pre­sumed inno­cent until proven guilty,” he said.

Pre­tri­al con­fine­ment, com­mon to both sys­tems, “has been deter­mined to be appro­pri­ate in this case,” he said.

Man­ning, an Army intel­li­gence ana­lyst, is sus­pect­ed of being involved in one of the largest leaks of clas­si­fied mate­r­i­al in U.S. his­to­ry, John­son said. The leak involved hun­dreds of thou­sands of diplo­mat­ic and mil­i­tary doc­u­ments, includ­ing clas­si­fied records about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Wik­iLeaks orga­ni­za­tion pub­lished many of these doc­u­ments online, draw­ing crit­i­cism by Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and oth­er defense offi­cials, who charge they put deployed U.S. ser­vice mem­bers at increased risk.

Fol­low­ing a sev­en-month inves­ti­ga­tion, the Army added 22 charges against Man­ning in March, charg­ing him with load­ing unau­tho­rized soft­ware onto gov­ern­ment com­put­ers to extract clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion that was unlaw­ful­ly down­loaded, improp­er­ly stored, and trans­mit­ted for pub­lic release and use by the ene­my.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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