Oklahoma Soldier 'Prime Focus' Of Investigation Into Leaked Afghanistan War Documents

Tuesday, July 27th 2010, 11:24 am
By: News On 6


TULSA, OK -- After days of speculation, Defense Department officials have confirmed that an Oklahoma soldier is the prime suspect in the investigation into who leaked thousands of Afghanistan war documents.

Private First Class and central Oklahoma native Bradley Manning, 22, has found himself in the middle of an international firestorm.

He has yet to formally be named a suspect in the leak of 91,000 classified documents to the website Wikileaks. But Defense Department sources now say he is the prime focus of the Pentagon's investigation.

Manning has been in custody in Kuwait, but is back in the U.S. in a military jail in Virginia. He is charged with leaking video that allegedly shows a U.S. helicopter mistakenly shooting two Reuters journalists in 2007.

Now Manning is suspected of leaking thousands of secret documents from the U.S. military to Wikileaks.

Manning grew up Crescent, Oklahoma, before moving to Wales in the United Kingdom after his parents' divorce.

The school superintendent in Crescent says Manning graduated from the district's middle school, and was an average student with no disciplinary problems.

Family friends told the Associated Press he returned to Oklahoma after high school.  They say he lived and worked in Tulsa before joining the army in 2007.

Manning's alleged involvement with this latest leak has sparked a fury on the web. Bradley Manning.org was already up and running, and is now soliciting donations to help with his defense.

A number of Facebook groups have sprung up, pushing for his release. Others are furious with his alleged disclosure of classified documents, and are calling for the U.S. Army to make an example of him.

Referring to the war, Manning allegedly said during an online chat that he was, "actively involved in something I am completely against." He said he wanted "people to see the truth."

Wikileaks' founder says he doesn't know who the source is, and the documents were submitted anonymously.

If you knew Manning when he was in Tulsa please contact The News On 6 at newsdesk@newson6.net.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.