The attorney for the U.S. soldier accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians says that the military is preventing him from collecting evidence to build a defense. "We are facing an almost complete information blackout from the government," attorney John Henry Browne told Reuters. "When prosecutors don't cooperate, it's because they are concerned about the strength of their case."

Analysts have noted that it will be difficult for the military to prosecute Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, because evidence and witnesses may be difficult to track down in a war zone. Browne is claiming that his own investigative team has been unable to interview witnesses and prevented from viewing video that allegedly shows Bales returning to the base after the killings occurred. According to the government, Bales left the base twice in order to carry out the killings, a detail that Browne treated skeptically.

Bales' mental health is currently being evaluated at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, a process that may take months before his first Article 32 hearing. Browne declined to say whether PTSD would factor into his defense; his client suffered a brain injury in Iraq and has had several encounters with the law, including an alleged sexual assault, a hit-and-run accident, and fraud. "First thing we have to find out is whether the government has a case," Browne said. "Until we're convinced the government has a case, we're not going to start speculating on what our defenses are going to be."