FORT MEADE, Maryland // The US Army soldier suspected of passing secrets to the WikiLeaks website was kept in solitary confinement in part because of another prisoner's suicide, the former security chief of the military base where Bradley Manning was held testified Wednesday.
Marine Col. Robert Oltman spoke at a pretrial hearing for Manning, who is expected to testify later this week. Manning's lawyers are seeking dismissal of all charges against him, claiming his pretrial confinement in the brig at Quantico, Virginia, was excessively harsh.
The 24-year-old Manning was locked up alone for nine months in a small cell and had to sleep naked for several nights.
Oltman said the suicide of another detainee after his custody status was reduced made him skeptical about a psychiatrist's recommendation to ease Manning's confinement conditions.
"Nothing's going to change," Oltman said he told medical staffers. "He won't be able to hurt himself. He's not going to be able to get away, and our way of ensuring this is that he will remain on this status indefinitely."
Manning was later moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was re-evaluated and given a medium-security classification.
He is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks while he was working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.
Manning faces possible life imprisonment if convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious of the 22 charges that he faces.
The materials Manning is suspected of leaking include sensitive reports on foreign governments and leaders and a 2007 video clip of a US helicopter crew gunning down 11 men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The video drew worldwide attention. The Pentagon concluded the troops acted appropriately, having mistaken the camera equipment for weapons.