Testimony from Psychologists in Trial Doesn’t Make Bradley Manning Less of a Whistleblower
In the sentencing phase of the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the defense put two witnesses on the stand that gave testimony about the mental health of Manning and what role stress and certain personality traits may have played in his decision to disclose information to WikiLeaks.
What came out is Manning was suffering from gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID). His therapist in Iraq, Cpt. Michael Worsley, diagnosed him with GID after he opened up to him in May 2010. The sanity board that reviewed whether he was fit to stand trial diagnosed him with GID in April 2011. And the forensic psychologist, who was tasked with reviewing Manning’s records for the defense, Navy Captain David Moulton, diagnosed him with GID and found that to be the primary disorder of which he was suffering.
Moulton also found he had narcissistic, borderline and/or abnormal personality traits but did not suffer from any of these personality disorders. He had “grandiose ideas” and would engage in “arrogant haughty behaviors.” He was under a lot of stress, which manifested symptoms of borderline personality traits. He was prone to mood swings, acting out and suicidal ideations and behavior.
According to Moulton’s assessment, he was under sever emotional stress at the time he committed the offenses of which he was found guilty of committing.
“As far as what he wanted to do, he knew he wanted to do something great but wasn’t sure what that would be,” Moulton testified. He relied on his “morals and ideologies without looking at the big picture” and “underestimated how much other things in life might change as a consequence of his actions.” But, he was “very consistent, which is something that was important.” It “all fit in with his system of beliefs” and his “personality structure.”
Moulton stated he was very stressed out and did not have a lot of people to turn to for support. He became “very enthralled in this idea that the things he was finding were injusticesthat he felt he morally needed to right, very in line with I think his beliefs system.” He was “trying to balance obligations he [was] taking on, and he knew he had an oath to his job but also saw this as something that conflict[ed] as far as his ideology as well.”
Now, there is much more that was presented in that should be considered, but, ahead of Bradley Manning’s statement in court, I’ll briefly address the above.
One can be a whistleblower and have personality traits that create issues for that person.
One can be a whistleblower and be struggling with stress.
One can be a whistleblower and also have gender identity disorder.
These health problems do not mean a person cannot rationally look at information and come to an intellectual or moral determination that this material should not be concealed by their government.
That decision could be brought about by stress, but that does not necessarily negate the conscientious nature in which that decision was made, even if it is possible he may not have ever released information if he was not under that stress.