Witness | US v Pfc. Manning, Captain Matthew Freeburg, Company Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

UPDATE POST COURT-MARTIAL

United States v. Pfc.Manning was conducted in de facto secrecy. The public was not granted contemporaneous access to court filings or rulings during her trial. In addition to reporting on her trial, I transcribed the proceedings, reconstructed the censored appellate list, and un-redacted any publicly available documentation, in order to foster public comprehension of her unprecedented trial.

As a result of a lawsuit against the military judge and the Military District of Washington brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, as well as my own FOIA requests and research, an official court record for US v. Pfc. Manning was released seven months after her trial. That record is not complete.

The official trial docket is published HERE and the entire collection of documents is text searchable at usvmanning.org.

*During the pretrial proceedings, court-martial and sentencing of Pfc. Manning, Chelsea requested to be identified as Bradley and addressed using the male pronoun. In a letter embargoed for August 22, 2013 Chelsea proclaimed that she is female and wished to be addressed from that moment forward as Chelsea E. Manning.

General Description

Captain Matthew Freeburg

Captain Matthew Freeburg

Captain Matthew W. Freeburg, became Company Commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in April or May of 2010, towards the end of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division's deployment and a month or so before Pfc. Manning's arrest at FOB Hammer, Iraq.

According to Captain Steven Lim's testimony at the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing, it was one of at least two publicly known command changes for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, during deployment, which Captain Lim testified, was atypical, since command rarely changes during deployment.

Captain Matthew W. Freeburg provided a sworn statement for the Secretary of the Army's 15-6 investigation into the alleged unauthorized disclosures.

According to a defense's account of then Commander of the Second Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Col. David M. Miller's sworn statement, Captain Matthew W. Freeburg replaced an [UNIDENTIFIED CAPTAIN] as HHC/2BCT, 10 MTN Div. Company Commander, "over property accountability and due to the fact [THE UNIDENTIFIED CAPTAIN] was not making good decisions."

According to defense's account of the sworn statement of Captain Matthew W. Freeburg, after Pfc. Manning's alleged assault of Specialist Jihrleah Showman on May 7, 2010, Captain Matthew W. Freeburg "removed Pfc. Manning from the T-SCIF and sent him to work in the Supply Room." See Staff Sergeant Bigelow's testimony for more information. Captain Matthew W. Freeburg then "gave PFC Manning an Article 15 [Non-judicial Punishment] reducing him from SPC [Specialist] to PFC [Private First Class]."

Along with the Article 15 [Non-judicial Punishment], Captain Matthew W. Freeburg "filled out a DEROG form in order to suspend PFC Manning's security clearance."

Captain Matthew W. Freeburg was the "property book holder for all the computers within HHC [Headquarters and Headquarters Company], 2BCT [Second Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division]."

According to defense's account of Captain Freeburg's sworn statement, Freeburg provided the "commander's authorization to seize and search the computers PFC Manning was known to work on. [Captain Freeburg] also provided search authorization to search PFC Manning's room."

According to the 2 December 2011 Defense Request for Article 32 Witnesses and the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing testimony of Special Agent Calder Robertson, CCIU, Robertson extracted the hard drives from the two SIPR and one NIPR computers collected from the T-SCIF, the personal laptop of Staff Sergeant Peter Bigelow Supply Room, and the personal external hard drive of PFC Manning. According to the 15 March 2011 Article 39(a) Session, despite Army Criminal Investigative Command's (CID) September 2010 preservation request for other hard drives from the T-SCIF, and the defense preservation request for the same in September 2011, the Government notified the Court and defense that of the 181 drives identified by the Government as part of the Second Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, only computers with a user profile for Bradley Manning were preserved. The other computers, the Government said, the unit was free to discard and DX post deployment in September 2010. The Government was able to identify 14 other computers post deployment from the T-SCIF by serial numbers, but the Government said that of those 14 drives, two drives were completely inoperable, seven drives were wiped and, and one drive was partially wiped.

According to defense's account of Captain Freeburg's sworn statement, Captain Freeburg "went to [AN UNIDENTIFIED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL] at Behavioral Health to discuss PFC Manning's condition. [AN UNIDENTIFIED INDIVIDUAL] told [Captain Freeburg] that PFC Manning's troubles were deeper than the Army could fix and that [Pfc. Manning] should be separated." Further, Captain Freeburg "sent PFC Manning to an [UNIDENTIFIED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL] for an evaluation."

According to defense's account of Captain Freeburg's sworn statement, based on recommendations by [UNIDENTIFIED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL(S)], Captain Freeburg "believed it was shocking that something more serious had not been done to address PFC Manning's behavioral issues prior to him assaulting [ Specialist Jihrleah Showman ] and receiving Article 15 [Nonjudicial Punishment]."

The Government objected to the defense request for the testimony of Captain Matthew W. Freeburg, Company Commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, at the December 2011 Article 32 Pretrial Hearing, saying "not relevant to the Article 32 investigation and will only serve to distract from the relevant issues." While there is no official public record of Almanza's denial of this witness' testimony, Captain Matthew W. Freeburg, Company Commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade combat Team, 10th Mountain Division did not appear during any open session of the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing. The public record shows that at least fourteen witnesses were granted to defense for the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing. In Lt. Col. Almanza's ruling on the Defense Request for Article 32 Witnesses, 12 witnesses were granted to the defense, 10 of whom were also requested by the Government. Defense said in open Court on December 16, 2011, that Lt. Col. Almanza granted two additional witnesses to defense that morning.

No. 18 on the December 2, 2011 Defense Request for Article 32 Witnesses

XXXXXXXXXX [Captain Matthew Freeburg, HHC/2BCT] Company commander and property book holder for all the computers within HHC, 2BCT. He will testify, about providing commander's authorization to seize and search the computers PFC Manning was known to work on. He also provided search authorization to search PFC Manning's room. He will testify that he never received any information from the S2 Section concerning any of PFC Manning's mental or emotional issues until after the alleged assault of [Specialist Jihrleah Showman]. He will testify that after the alleged assault, he removed PFC Manning from the T-SCIF and sent him to work in the Supply Room. He then gave PFC Manning an Article 15 reducing him from SPC to PFC. Along with the Article 15, [Captain Matthew Freeburg, Company Commander for HHC/2BCT] will testify that he filled out a DEROG form in order to suspend PFC Manning's security clearance. XXXXXXXXXX [Capt. Matthew Freeburg, Company Commander for HHC/2BCT] will testify he then went to XXXXXXXXXX [ UNIDENTIFIED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL] at Behavioral Health to discuss PFC Manning's condition. XXXXXXXXXX [ WHO IS THIS?] told him that PFC Manning's troubles were deeper than the Army could fix and that he should be separated. XXXXXXXXXX [Capt. Matthew Freeburg, Company Commander for HHC/2BCT] will testify that he then sent PFC Manning to XXXXXXXXXX [ UNIDENTIFIED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL] for an evaluation. Based upon the mental health recommendations, XXXXXXXXXX [Capt. Matthew Freeburg, Company Commander for HHC/2BCT] will testify that he believed it was shocking that something more serious had not been done to address PFC Manning's behavioral issues prior to him assaulting XXXXXXXXXX [Specialist Jihrleah Showman] and receiving Article 15. He will also testify that he was aware that personnel had placed video games, movies, and music on the SIPRNet drive.

Other Resources

Alexa O'Brien Alexa O'Brien researches and writes about national security and law enforcement. Her work has been published in The New York Times, VICE News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian (UK), The Daily Beast, NY Daily News, and featured on the BBC, PBS, NPR, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the United Kingdom and listed in The Verge 50. In 2016, she worked at The Constitution Project in Washington, D.C. as a staff researcher and writer on an independent commission studying Oklahoma's death penalty. She also provided research support to scholars of the first cost study conducted on that state's capital punishment system.