Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Today marked the first day, of the rest of Ms. Chelsea Manning’s life, as Manning walked out of a military prison on Wednesday, seven years after being arrested for passing secrets to WikiLeaks in the largest breach of classified information in American history.
Ms. Manning, 29, was released from the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, at about 2am local time, according to a brief statement released by the United States Army.
The former military intelligence analyst, then known as Private First Class Bradley Manning, was convicted of providing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks, an international organization that publishes such information from anonymous sources.
In a statement to News Front, Manning said, “I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years. As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. The past will always affect me and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point, not my final destination.”
Ms.Manning stated in 2014 that she chose to disclose the classified information to expose truths about the civil war in Iraq “out of a love for my country.”
Before he left office, president Barack Obama commuted the final 28 years of Manning’s 35-year sentence. The decision angered national security experts who say Manning put US lives at risk, but it won praise from transgender advocates who have embraced her transition to a female gender identity. Free speech advocates also support the release. Manning is viewed by a number of Americans as a hero for risking her life to inform her fellow citizens of government crimes and abuses worldwide.