Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Problem of Missing Markers

This week....the case of Private Manning and the thousands of secrets that he divulged to the WikiLeaks crowd starts up.

I won't comment much on the court episode.  I think it's hard to find any jury that would be agreeable to Manning's cause.  And I think most of this is just wasted time....trying to establish that he had some 'right', which doesn't exist.

The real issue here is this odd history.  If you read deep into the brief career of Private Manning.....from the point that he got into the Army intelligence school.....he was showing minor issues.  At his first assignment, he began to show more issues.  While deployed, he showed even more issues.

These were all markers.  He was plainly unfit for a security clearance.  He might have made a fine chow-hall cook, or a diesel mechanic, or infantry guy.....but he was unfit to hold down a clearance.

The Air Force used to have a fairly brief intelligence school.  It was barely sixteen weeks, and you graduated.  If you had issues.....and quietly kept them under the cover of the instructors, of fellow students, then fine, you'd graduate.  A year later.....some unit in Florida or South Korea....would realize they had a nutcase holding a high security clearance, and quickly move them out.

At some point in the 1990s....the Air Force shifted over to around 35-odd weeks of intelligence school.  The longer atmosphere?  It generally opened up the door for your personality disorders to display themselves.  They started to find folks who weren't fit for a high clearance, and got them either out of the Air Force, or into a simple job where security didn't matter.

The Army?  I suspect as the war business went into turbo-mode, no one really paid attention to personality disorders or 'markers'.  They just said "Joe" was a bit strange, and accepted it.

In this case, Private Manning had various markers showing, and the Army did mostly nothing.  They didn't see him as a threat.  It's now their issue to clean up the mess.

What I generally expect?  Private Manning will end up with life in prison.  If he's really lucky.....it might just be a forty-year prison episode.  It doesn't matter....he'll be too old to really get anything out of life.  His disorders in prison?  Maybe he'll get some help and eventually discover how foolish he was.  Maybe.

His associates in prison?  Well....that's going to be a problem.  And he might not last that long in a real prison.  If the guards are smart.....they will put him into some isolation and at least give him a chance for a long life.

In the end.....if you see 'markers' and a personality disorder....doing nothing is not an option.