Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bradley Manning: WikiLeaker, Part 1

A Small Town Boy


Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning

Manning was born in Crescent, Okla., a small town that had previously gained notoriety as the site of the Karen Silkwood-Kerr-McGee controversy. The incident was famously depicted in the movie Silkwood, starring Meryl Streep as the nuclear plant's whistleblower Karen Silkwood who died a mysterious death on her way to meet with a reporter for The New York Times

Manning's childhood, described in a Frontline documentary as isolated, wasn't out of the ordinary. He was an only child. His father, Brian Manning, had also been in the military—he had worked as Navy technician in the 1970s; it had been while stationed overseas, in Wales, that he had met Bradley's mother, Susan.

They later married and moved to Crescent, where Bradley's father commuted to Oklahoma City to another technician job. He would be gone for weeks at a time, leaving his wife, who couldn't drive, home alone with her son. As Manning's father told Frontline, he'd have to stock the house before he left for any trip. "She lived four miles outside of town, so I basically had to stock her up with food and supplies and stuff for the three-week period that I'd be gone. And that was kind of a strain for her, because she was basically stranded. Our neighbors weren't real close to us."

The long absences meant that the father and son would have to reacquaint themselves with each other. But, he told Frontline, "it was, 'Dad's home,' and things were OK."


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