More Evidence at Manning Hearing on Sgt. Adkins’ Dereliction of Duty
A specialist and former team supervisor of Manning’s testified in Pfc. Bradley Manning’s Article 32 or pre-trial hearing telephonically this morning. During her cross-examination by the defense, she explained she had told SFC Paul Adkins after multiple incidents that he should not have been deployed and was not worthy of a security clearance.
David Coombs of the defense team cross-examined Jihrleah Showman, who became a supervisor around March 2009. She went to get Manning from his barracks in early May after he failed to report to his physical training (PT) formation. He answered the door in civilian clothes and had just woken up. She told him he needed to get dressed and get downstairs right now. He had an obligation to be there at the proper time in proper uniform.
The two walked back to the barracks. Manning as very quiet and didn’t really respond to anything. She asked him how he slept, why he was not at formation and whether he was late because his alarm didn’t go off.
“I don’t recall him really responding to me, “ Showman said.
As they approached, the two saw Adkins. She began to talk about how Manning would need counseling and he would have to “show up early to corrective” training. Manning began to jump up and down waving and yelling. Saliva was coming out of his mouth. He was extremely loud and was swinging his hands around. He appeared to be aggressive.
Adkins approached. Manning stopped. His fists were clenched. Manning made grunting noises and Adkins asked him about his problem. He said he could not take messing up.
Showman made verbal recommendations that Manning be given an Article 15, a nonjudicial action that can be taken against soldiers especially when disrespect needs to be handled by officers. Adkins did not follow the recommendations.
No company commander was alerted to the outburst. Adkins did not take action. Adkins was also told by Showman she did not think Manning should be handling classified information. She said he should not be deployed. All of these recommendations were ignored.
Following the incident, Showman and Adkins sat Manning down and asked him what was going on. Manning said he constantly felt paranoid. He felt people were listening to his conversation. He felt he could not trust anyone around him in the unit.
Asked if he was suicidal by Showman, he said he wasn’t but that he “really felt paranoid because he felt people were listening and watching his every move.” Showman was “trying to determine” if he was having “some psychotic issues” where he constantly heard voices. She did this because she was a team leader tasked with taking care of soldiers and the “elevated level of paranoia” was odd.
Showman at one point told Adkins, “We should do a command referral so we know what’s going on.” That apparently was not followed. She went to talk to Adkins again. Adkins said the decision was made to not take any additional action and she was to deal with it.
Adkins was one of the witnesses called to testify at the hearing, but he invoked his Article 31 rights —his right not to incriminate himself — on grounds that were challenged by Coombs on Sunday. Coombs objected because Adkins was not involved in any criminal matters that would preclude him from testifying. Coombs urged investigative officer Paul Almanza, presiding over the hearing, to grant Adkins immunity and then order him to testify. Almanza refused to heed the defense’s objection
Adkins’ significance in this case is that he was the highest-ranking officer who set the tone for what was acceptable and unacceptable in Manning’s unit. He also is one of the officers that was disciplined by the army for failures that put Manning in a position to leak information to WikiLeaks. Specifically, according to POLITICO, he was “reduced to a sergeant first class recently due to ‘being derelict in his duties,’ according to a defense filing.”
In April 2010, Adkins received an email from Manning saying he was suffering from gender identity disorder, which included a picture of him dressed up as a woman. Adkins kept this to himself, which led Cpt. Steven Lim, a top intelligence officer in Manning’s unit, to counsel Adkins in writing in June 2010 for not informing him of Manning’s problems.
Lim was “shocked” Adkins didn’t share this information with the chain of command. Lim also was one of fifteen officers disciplined after an investigation into what happened with Manning. [Lim was admonished in a letter marked March 3, 2011, which indicated Lim should have been aware that Adkins usurped his responsibilities when dealing with enlisted soldiers.]
Lim found out Adkins didn’t share this information because he was trying to handle it himself. Adkins also thought the medical system would take its course.
Lim admitted the right answer would have been to give the information to someone whose paygrade could make a decision about disciplining Manning.
There is even more evidence of Adkins’ neglect. At a counseling session on December 12, 2009, Manning became emotional and shoved a chair and began yelling, “I don’t think so.” This was not acceptable behavior.
Days later, on December 20, 2009, Showman was nearby the conference room when Manning screamed. She wanted to see what was going on. Sgt. Daniel Padgett was in the room with Manning. Manning flipped a table and broke a computer. Padgett stood up and went toward Manning. He stuck out his hands and tried to talk Manning down. There was an M4 in a corner of the room. Manning looked around Padgett grabbed him from behind and put him in a “full nelson.” Another officer dragged Manning a couple feet and then sat him down.
Again, Showman went to Adkins to tell him that Manning should not be working with a security clearance. She told him he had no business being in the SCIF. While Adkins was away, she met with a first sergeant and told him that Manning should never have depoloyed. Adkins took minimal action, if any.
On May 7, Manning was found after counseling curled up in the fetal position. This was some time between 8-10 pm. Showman was leaving her shift for the night. She told a CW2: “Be ready for something to happen again.” She assumed that his actions would lead up to some of the displays we had already seen.
She was called back in a few hours to find something on the SIPRnet that was needed for a work product. This is when Manning is alleged to have assaulted her. He hit her leaving a “red welt.” She turned around then and pinned him to the ground.
On the ground, he said he was tired of everyone trying to fix him and tired of everyone watching him. And, “if he told behavioral health the truth, that would mean he would be removed from the army.”
The truth likely relates to the fact that Manning is homosexual. He knew he couldn’t tell behavioral health about his problems. He could not openly discuss this gender identity disorder he believed he was suffering from. That would end up leading to him possibly being removed from the military.
Military procedure would suggest, however, Manning should have been removed. The fascinating reality is had Adkins not been derelict in his duty the information Manning is alleged to have been released would never have been public. If the military actually cared about the behavioral health of Americans enlisted, Manning would never have allegedly contributed to the Tunisia uprising and subsequently the Arab Spring.
It seems Adkins should have to testify in court how he handled Manning. Manning’s perception of Adkins and Adkins’ lack of concern for Manning appear to be intertwined in the story of Manning’s time at FOB Hammer. However, Adkins “plead the fifth.” And, IO Almanza thought there was no reason to compel him to testify.