Even before he found himself thrown in the brig for allegedly handing over classified material to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning led a troubled life in rural Oklahoma. PBS talks to Manning's family and friends, including a lengthy interview with father Brian Manning, and discovers that as a child, Manning had few friends and was mostly interested in computers. At 13, his parents divorced and Manning came out as gay. He went to live with his mother in Wales for years, which is where he first started getting political—in particular, voicing his opposition to the war in Iraq, NPR reports.
In Wales, he got a reputation for having a temper. After high school, he moved back to the US with his father, and at age 18, his stepmother called 911 to report an altercation. Manning, she claimed, threatened her with a knife and was "out of control." His father now says it wasn't a serious fight, but adds, "You never know." The elder Manning says the fight—after which Manning moved out—was about money, not Manning's sexuality, as has been previously reported. Manning "needed structure in his life," his father adds, so he encouraged his son to join the army—even though Manning didn't want to. The rest, of course, is history.