- Chelsea Manning on Life After Prison
In 2010, the Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, sent nearly seven hundred and fifty thousand classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. The leak earned Manning a thirty-five-year prison sentence, which was commuted by President Obama to seven years.
Less than five months out of prison, she sat down with The New Yorker’s Larissa MacFarquhar at the 2017 New Yorker Festival. Manning discussed her tumultuous upbringing, including her months living as a homeless teen in Chicago; her highly public gender transition; and her treatment in military prison. She also described the quick decision that led her to send the documents to WikiLeaks. Having seen “All the President’s Men,” Manning had originally intended to send the documents to the Washington Post or The New York Times, but, at the time, she said, the newspapers struggled to provide her with the security protocols she insisted on. Only WikiLeaks offered the necessary level of security, and she took the chance. “I was running out of time,” she told MacFarquhar. “They just had the tools available, they knew how to use them. That’s all it boiled down to. I had to go back to Iraq.”
Though the trial is behind her, Manning maintains a fierce conviction that her leak posed no threat to U.S. soldiers or local sources in Iraq or Afghanistan, a fact disputed by the government and many N.G.O.s disputed by many, including leading human-rights groups. Her disclosures profoundly embarrassed the government, made WikiLeaks a household name, and, by some accounts, served as a catalyst for the Arab Spring. But Manning hopes to be done with the leaks, and to spend the next phase of her life as an advocate for trans people.
- 2017-10-20 20:00:00 UTC