Chelsea Manning Reveals Reasons for Leaks

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( — June 13, 2017) — After being convicted of numerous charges, including espionage, and sent to jail for 35 years, Manning, a transgender U.S. Army soldier, was released after seven years. Now she is telling her story.

Manning released more than 700,000 classified military documents to WikiLeaks. Only some of the disclosures turned out to be extremely embarrassing to the U.S. Army. Some of them were published by The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel.

In an exclusive interview to ABC’s co-anchor of “Nightline” Juju Chang, Manning revealed why she had disclosed classified documents. According to Manning, she felt an obligation to the public.  

“No one told me to do this. Nobody directed me to do this. This is me. It’s on me,” Manning told Chang, adding that her job was to filter raw information from Iraq and Afghanistan masking the ’unpleasant facts.’

“We’re filtering it all through facts, statistics, reports, dates, times, locations, and eventually, you just stop,” she continued. “I stopped seeing just statistics and information, and I started seeing people.”

After detecting untruthful information in some official reports, she decided that public had the right to know. But does it?

Some US patriots demanded capital punishment for Manning, insisting she had severely undermined the national security and had directly aided US enemies. 

She broke the oath she had taken to protect the US.

Others, however, claimed that it was exactly what Manning did when she decided to disclose the facts government tried to hide from its own nation. It was the fundamental principle of US democracy that Manning protected by disclosing classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Some believe that alleged wrongdoings by US troops should be kept away from the public eye, but not Manning. “I have nothing but utmost respect for the military,” she told Chang.

“The military is diverse, and large, and it’s public, it serves a public function, it serves a public duty,” she said.

“And the people who are in the military work very hard, often for not much money, to make their country better and to protect their country. I have nothing but respect for that. And that’s why I signed up,” Manning explained.

Chelsea Manning was in prison longer than any other leaker in US history. Former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence three days before he left office.

The production of a documentary titled ‘XY Chelsea’ was announced at the Cannes Film Festival in May.