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Officer: Suicide led to wariness about Manning

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By DAVID DISHNEAU
Associated Press

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - The former security chief at the Quantico, Va., Marine Corps base says an Army private suspected of leaking U.S. secrets to the WikiLeaks website was kept tightly confined partly because of another prisoner's suicide.

Marine Col. Robert Oltman testified Wednesday at a pretrial hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning at Fort Meade. Manning's lawyers are seeking dismissal of all charges, claiming his pretrial confinement in the Quantico brig was excessively harsh.

Manning was locked up alone in a small cell for nearly nine months and had to sleep naked for several nights.

Oltman says the recent suicide of another detainee after his custody status was reduced made Oltman skeptical about a psychiatrist's recommendation to ease Manning's confinement conditions.

Oltman told medical staffers that Manning should remain in highly restrictive confinement unless senior officers decided otherwise.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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