August 10, 2010

The man suspected of leaking US military secrets about the Afghanistan war to WikiLeaks may have committed the crimes because he felt abused by the military, a CNN investigation found Monday.

Private Bradley Manning is being held at Quantico Marine Base on charges that he leaked a video of Afghan civilians being killed at the hands of the US military. Manning is also considered a person of interest in the probe into the war logs leak.

CNN's Chris Lawrence looked into Manning's past to try to get some idea why the soldier might have leaked sensitive war documents.

At the age of 13, Manning moved to Wales where his friends say he was bullied but stood up for himself. Even as a young man, he loved computers. "He was doing hard coding as in programming," said James Kirkpatrick, one of Manning's prep school friends. "Hard coding, sort of the most complicated stuff at the ages of 14, 15. He was a very clever guy."

CNN tracked down a former lover going by the pseudonym "Tim" that Manning met at a gay bar in Washington, DC.

"I would say that it started out as a physical relationship that turned into a friendship," Tim told Lawrence.

Tim talked to Manning about the positive experience coming from being gay in the military. He explained to Manning about the discipline he had learned while in service.

"He was very hurt as a person. He felt verbally, emotionally abused because of his sexuality," he said. "I thought maybe the Army could do for him what it had done to me."

Manning joined the military and found a very different experience. "Manning was verbally abused right from boot camp," reported Lawrence.

Tim explained that Manning had gotten into another relationship after joining the military that made him realize that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was wrong. "Through him, Brad was able to discover that it was wrong, the discrimination. And how 'Don't ask, Don't tell' for example sort of created an atmosphere in which that could happen because of silence, you're required silence."

Manning took a stand on his Facebook page. He supported the repeal of California's ban on same-sex marriage and ending the "Don't ask, Don't tell" law.

"In my opinion, I feel sexuality, his own sexuality and what has happened to him in the military coupled with the policy of the military played a significant role and the reason to why he did what he did," explained Tim.

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