SEATAC, Wash. -- The wife of a U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan civilians says her husband showed no signs of PTSD before he deployed and she doesn't feel like she'll ever believe he was involved in the killings.
Karilyn Bales defended her husband, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, in a weekend interview with NBC's "Today" show that aired Monday. Officials say Bales left his base March 11 in Afghanistan and killed eight Afghan adults and nine children.
"I don't know a lot about the symptoms of PTSD, so I wouldn't know," the wife told Matt Lauer, "Today" co-anchor. "He doesn't have nightmares."
It's still unknown whether Bales was ever diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Meanwhile Monday, Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said he is reviewing the command climate of Robert Bales' unit in southern Afghanistan. The announcement followed suggestions that Bales may have been drinking before the alleged shooting spree and that he allegedly split the killings into two attacks. Allen would not go into any details on the unit or the killings.
Allen also said that while there may have been leadership failures during this and other recent cases, including the mistaken burning of Qurans, he does not believe that repeated war tours "inherently reduce the effectiveness of the force" or of the leadership of smaller units led by young officers.
Also Monday, two U.S. military officials said Bales was issued and retained a midlevel secret clearance despite his financial troubles and scrapes with the law before and after he entered the service. He still had his clearance on March 11.
Bales, who is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and other crimes. The charges do not accuse him of misusing his clearance. Bales' attorney, John Henry Browne, didn't reply to an email seeking comment.
Even so, Bales' case highlights two important issues, the two U.S. officials said: whether his superiors in Afghanistan overlooked signs of mental issues that should have prompted them to revoke his clearance and require medical examination, and whether clearance was issued without thorough review.