Chelsea Manning

Manning Defense Focuses on His Mental Health in Sentencing

Attacks military decision to put him in the position in the first place

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FORT MEADE, Md. — Lawyers for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning opened their sentencing case Monday by attacking his commanders' decisions to send the young intelligence analyst to Iraq and maintain his top-secret security clearance despite his emotional outbursts and concerns about his mental health.

Manning faces up to 90 years in prison for disclosing reams of classified information through the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. His lawyers are presenting evidence of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in hopes of a lighter sentence.

Manning's brigade commander, Col. David Miller, testified that the 2nd Brigade's 10th Mountain brigade deployed in late 2009 with 10 to 15 percent fewer intelligence analysts than the authorized number. But Miller denied feeling any pressure to take soldiers who should not have deployed.

"In a counterinsurgency fight, you can always use more," he said.