Army Moving Bradley Manning To Fort Leavenworth
Suspected Wikileaks leaker will be moved out of the Brig at Quantico Marine Base where he’s been staying for nearly a year now:
WASHINGTON — The Army private suspected of giving classified data to WikiLeaks is being moved to a state-of-the-art facility at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where Pentagon officials said more extensive mental, emotional and physical health care will be available.
Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, said the move does not suggest that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s treatment at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., was inappropriate.
But the transfer, which Johnson described as “imminent”, comes in the wake of international criticism about Manning’s treatment during his detention at the Marine Corps base at Quantico. And the conditions of Manning’s detention have been the focus of repeated protests from human rights groups and lawmakers.
Johnson, however, said that “The fact that we have made a decision to transfer this particular pretrial confine … should not be interpreted as a criticism of the place he was before.”
Speaking to reporters Tuesday during a hastily arranged briefing, Johnson and Army Undersecretary Joseph Westphal acknowledged that the brig at Quantico was not designed to hold pretrial detainees for more than a few months.
“This is the right decision, at the right time,” said Westphal. “We were looking at a situation where he would need an environment more conducive for a longer detention.”
The new facility, they said, will be more open, have more space, and Manning will have a greater opportunity to eat and interact with other prisoners there. They added that the move was in Manning’s best interest because Leavenworth’s Joint Regional Correctional Facility has a broader array of facilities, including trained mental, emotional and physical health staff.
Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton, who is in charge of the medium-security detention facility at Leavenworth, said Manning will undergo a comprehensive evaluation upon his arrival to assess whether he is a risk to his own or others’ safety. The 150 inmates there — including eight who are awaiting trial — are allowed three hours of recreation per day, she said, and three meals a day in a dining area.
At the very least, this would seem to mostly negate the arguments that have been made about Manning’s treatment at Quantico.