Pentagon says Bradley Manning's treatment is all legal

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning AP/Graphics Bank

Bradley Manning
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning
AP/Grpahics Bank

The Pentagon is responding with specific denials to some of the claims from those opposed to the treatment of accused Wikileaks leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Manning's treatment has been reviewed by the General Counsels of the Department of Defense, Navy and Marine Corps and found to be legal, according to the Pentagon. They say he is being treated the same as any other maximum security prisoner on Prevention of Injury watch would be.

Manning has been held in restrictive conditions at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va. since July 2010, and some have questioned his treatment, as well as why legal proceedings against him have taken so long to begin. Earlier this month, the Army filed 22 new charges against Manning and for the first time formally accused Manning of aiding the enemy.

Following news that Manning was being forced to sleep without clothes in his cell, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) charged that the miilitary's treatment of Manning is comparable to the abuse carried out at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The Pentagon now says that Manning's underwear was taken away from him at night after he said that if he wanted to kill himself he could use the elastic waistband on his underpants. He now wears a "tear proof garment" and does have blankets and a pillow.

The Pentagon does not dispute the claim from Manning's attorney that a psychologist has determined Manning not to be a suicide risk but says the decision on whether to put Manning on Prevention of Injury watch is up to the brig commander, not the psychologist. The brig commander is the one responsible for making sure nothing happens to him.

Manning's attorney David Coombs wrote in his blog that "the decision to strip PFC Manning of his clothing every night for an indefinite period of time is clearly punitive in nature," given the fact that Manning remains on Prevention of Injury watch but has not been placed on Suicide Risk Watch, which requires the Brig psychiatrist's recommendation.

The Pentagon additionally denies that Manning is not allowed to talk to prisoners in other cells and denies that Manning is only allowed to walk in circles during his one hour of exercise. He is allowed to talk to other prisoners - as long as it's not disruptive - and he is allowed to use exercise equipment if he wants to. Because he remains on Prevention of Injury watch, he is not allowed to exercise in his cell. Any other prisoner on Prevention of Injury watch would also not be allowed to exercise in their cell.

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.

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