CBS: Bradley Manning Part of 'Widespread Failure' in Security Clearances

Friday's CBS Evening News previewed an upcoming 60 Minutes exposé on the "widespread failures in the system that grants top-secret security clearance to federal employees and contractors." Scott Pelley pointed at Bradley Manning as a prime example of "how top-secret clearances fall into dangerous hands." Pelley featured several clips from his interview of Manning's former supervisor in Iraq, who told her superior that "he cannot be trusted with a security clearance; we can't deploy him; and he's most likely a spy." [video below]

Interestingly, the anchor never referred to the convicted felon as "Chelsea" Manning. After playing his first soundbite from Jihrleah Showman, Pelley revealed that "Manning's security clearance investigation failed to check a complaint that his stepmother made with Oklahoma City police." He included a clip of a 911 phone call, where the stepmother alleged that Manning "threatened me with a knife."

The CBS journalist also highlighted that "if investigators had checked his enlistment papers, they might have seen that he wrote that he joined the military to 'sort out the turmoil and mess in my life.'" He also cited how "before Manning's top-secret clearance was granted, he stabbed a soldier with a pencil, and was ordered into counseling for fits of rage." Showman later disclosed how she "confronted Manning [in Iraq] after he repeatedly violated the rules — including sneaking a camera and recordable CD's into this high-security intelligence vault."

The full transcript of Scott Pelley's segment from the November 6, 2015 edition of CBS Evening News:

SCOTT PELLEY: An investigation by 60 Minutes has uncovered widespread failures in the system that grants top-secret security clearance to federal employees and contractors. At issue are the background investigations of people applying for the clearances. One example: Bradley Manning, the soldier who posted thousands of national secrets online. His supervisor in Iraq, Jihrleah Showman, was astonished that his top secret clearance was granted.

JIHRLEAH SHOWMAN (from pre-recorded segment): I pointed to the patch of our American flag that was on my shoulder — said, 'What does this flag means to you?' He said, 'It means absolutely nothing to me. I hold no allegiance to this country and the people in it.'

PELLEY (on-camera): How does he get a top-secret security clearance?

SHOWMAN: That is a good question.

PELLEY (voice-over): Manning's security clearance investigation failed to check a complaint that his stepmother made with Oklahoma City police. If they had, they might have heard her 911 call.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (from 911 call): My husband's 18-year-old son is out of control, and just threatened me with a knife.

PELLEY: If investigators had checked his enlistment papers, they might have seen that he wrote that he joined the military to 'sort out the turmoil and mess in my life.'

Before Manning's top-secret clearance was granted, he stabbed a soldier with a pencil, and was ordered into counseling for fits of rage.

SHOWMAN: So, I went directly to my superior.

PELLEY (on-camera): And told them what?

SHOWMAN: I said that he cannot be trusted with a security clearance; we can't deploy him; and he's most likely a spy.

PELLEY (voice-over): Jihrleah Showman told us that her superior said they couldn't afford to lose a man with a valuable top-secret clearance. In Iraq, she says that she confronted Manning after he repeatedly violated the rules — including sneaking a camera and recordable CD's into this high-security intelligence vault.

SHOWMAN: And he screamed no at the top of his lungs, and came and punched me right in the face and body-slammed me at the same time. So, I put him in a hold; and I asked him if this is what he wants. And he said, he's just tired of everybody watching his activities.

PELLEY (live): Manning was sentenced to 35 years. This Sunday, on 60 Minutes, we'll have our full investigation into how top-secret clearances fall into dangerous hands.


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CyberAlerts Crime Foreign Policy Iraq Government Agencies Military CBS 60 Minutes CBS Evening News Video Scott Pelley Bradley Manning
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