Facts about Chelsea Manning
Chelsea Manning Biography
Chelsea Manning — formerly known as Private First Class Bradley Manning — is the United States Army soldier convicted in 2013 of exposing secret government documents concerning the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama in 2017 in one of his last acts as president.
As Bradley Manning, she enlisted in the Army in 2007, after growing up in central Oklahoma and Wales (her mother’s home country). Manning’s name first surfaced in late 2009, as the source of “Collateral Murder,” a video released by Wikileaks, a online organization that specializes in publishing classified documents. The video, from 2007, shows U.S. forces firing on civilians in New Baghdad. The video was newsworthy because two victims on the ground ended up being employees of Reuters, a news gathering organization.
The rest of Manning’s story is unclear. It seems that Manning, at some point in early 2010, communicated to semi-famous (and convicted) computer hacker Adrian Lamo that she had spirited away more than 250,000 classified documents as an intelligence analyst for the Army. Lamo reported this to federal agents and Wired magazine, and Manning — who was arrested in May of 2010 — was officially charged in early July of leaking at least 90,000 of those classified documents to Wikileaks.
The original word from Wikileaks was that they didn’t know who sent them the documents (though they did aid in the defense of Manning). The word from the U.S. military was that Manning’s leak was a serious breach that endangered those in the battlefield, as well as the nation’s standing abroad. The word from Manning’s supporters was that she is an American hero for blowing the whistle on corrupt and immoral practices within the U.S. government.
As Bradley Manning, she was convicted on 20 counts and sentenced in August of 2013 to 35 years in prison. After Manning’s sentencing, she announced her intention to undergo hormone therapy and to live as a woman, identifying as Chelsea Manning. Under that name she had her sentence commuted by President Obama on January 17, 2017. She was released from federal prison on May 17, 2017, after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence.