Two members of Manning's Army chain of command testified that he told them almost weekly that he didn't understand why he was on the heightened restrictions. Capt. Joe Casamatta said he followed up on the matter and was told by brig commanders that Manning was at risk of harming himself. Manning had acknowledged having suicidal thoughts shortly after his arrest nine months earlier.
Casamatta said he became skeptical of the explanation after the underwear seizure, which was prompted by a remark Manning had made to a guard about the dangerous waistband. Casamatta said he regarded Manning as an intelligent, articulate soldier who made a tongue-in-cheek comment.
"I just believed he wouldn't have such thoughts as to actually kill himself with his underwear, sir," Casamatta said during cross-examination by defense attorney David Coombs
The hearing is scheduled to end Wednesday. To prevail, the defense must show either that Manning was punished or that the restrictions were so egregious they were tantamount to punishment. To quash the claim, the government must prove by a preponderance of evidence that brig officials justifiably believed the strict conditions were needed to keep Manning from hurting or killing himself.
The 24-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., was an intelligence analyst in Iraq. He is charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. He is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.
He is also charged with leaking a 2007 video clip of a U.S. helicopter crew gunning down 11 men later found to have included a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The Pentagon concluded the troops acted appropriately, having mistaken the camera equipment for weapons.