FORT MEADE, Md. -- As the trial of Bradley Manning entered its fourth day on Monday, a filing from one potential prosecution witness revealed a startling fact: One of the members of the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound has had memory loss stemming from traumatic brain injuries.
Government prosecutors may call the raid member, identified only as "John Doe," to prove that files released by Manning to WikiLeaks wound up in bin Laden's possession. The filing was made on April 29 and released to the public on June 4.
The raid member, presumably a Navy SEAL, says they have "occasional short-term memory deficiencies" that include forgetting "where I placed my car keys." Those memory issues started "two to three years ago," apparently before the bin Laden raid, according to the filing.
The cause: "repetitive (traumatic brain injury), but not major trauma. I had consistent small doses over time."
But the raid member also says that the memory issues "do not impact my life in any discernible way" and have not impacted recollections of the raid itself.
Traumatic brain injury is common among veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center has identified 43,299 members of the armed forces who have suffered from some form of traumatic brain injury between 2003 and 2012.
Manning's prosecutors say that the team that raided bin Laden's compound found both the Afghanistan War Logs and the Department of State's diplomatic cables on digital media in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The presumed SEAL could take the stand to establish the files' chain of custody, but the defense and prosecution indicated in a pre-trial hearing that they were working on agreeing to a stipulation of his expected testimony.