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Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks, has been held at the naval brig in Quantico, Virginia since last summer under "prevention of injury watch." Last weekend, the conditions of his confinement changed. Manning was stripped of his clothing at night, a move his attorney called "degrading treatment" that is "inexcusable and without justification." Quantico officials say that Private Manning is not being abused. His supporters contend he is being pressured to cooperate with prosecutors.
In his first media appearance, Brian Manning, Private Manning's father, speaks out for the first time. It's a PBS FRONTLINE exclusive interview with correspondent Martin Smith.
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Background on the video:
I first met Mr. Brian Manning on February 28th in Washington D.C. He'd just come from a visit to the Quantico Brig where he says he had met twice with Bradley -- for 90 minutes on Saturday, the 26th and three hours on Sunday, the 27th. The next day, he sat down with us for an on-camera interview.
At most, I expected we'd talk for a couple of hours. Instead, the interview spanned five hours, not including a short break for lunch. Throughout, Brian patiently answered any and all questions. There were no conditions or subject areas that were deemed off limits.
A week later, producer Marcela Gaviria received an email from Brian in which he expressed concern over a report posted by Bradley's attorney about a change in the conditions of Bradley's detention. Brian said he hadn't spoken to the attorney, but wanted to go back on the record to lodge a public protest over the government's actions. We told him we would help get his message out. I flew to Oklahoma City to do a second interview on March 7th.
We filmed for another two hours. Excerpts from that interview are posted here.* Brian also drove me around the town of Crescent, where Bradley grew up, about an hour north of Oklahoma City. After his parents' divorce, Bradley, then 12, moved back to his mother's native home in Wales in the U.K. He returned to Oklahoma to live for a short time with Brian and his second wife before joining the Army.
We will be reporting extensively on Bradley Manning's upbringing and young adulthood, as well as his alleged crimes, in two upcoming FRONTLINE reports.... Stay tuned.
Martin Smith, Correspondent