Chelsea Manning Freed After 7 Years in Prison


By Debbie Gregory.

Transgender Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, has released from the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Manning, who was previously known as Bradley Manning before gender transitioning in prison, was convicted in 2013 of  Espionage Act violations, theft and computer fraud. She was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

Before leaving office, Manning’s 35-year sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama, who said that seven years in federal custody was enough for her crimes.

Manning, a former intelligence analyst in Iraq, has acknowledged leaking the materials, saying she did so because she wanted to expose what she considered to be the U.S. military’s disregard of the effects of war on civilians.

The leaks did reveal some of the nation’s most-sensitive secrets and endangered information sources, prompting the State Department to help some of those people move to protect their safety.

Several ambassadors were recalled, expelled or reassigned because of embarrassing disclosures.

Manning announced after her conviction that she is a woman. She was approved for gender reassignment surgery. The assurances from the Army that she could have the procedure came two months after Manning tried to commit suicide, and after a hunger strike that lasted four days, according to the ACLU.

Army officials said Manning will remain on active duty, but will be on unpaid leave while she pursues an appeal of her court-martial conviction. That means she will be eligible for benefits, including health care and commissary privileges.

Manning hopes to continue hormone therapy, and may pursue gender reassignment if doctors continue to recommend it, according to Chase Strangio, Manning’s attorney.

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Military Approves Chelsea Manning’s Gender Reassignment Surgery


By Debbie Gregory.

Chelsea Manning, the Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, will receive gender transition surgery while in prison, her attorney announced.

Manning went on a hunger strike in protest of the Army’s treatment of her gender dysphoria, which she ended after receiving approval for male-to-female transition surgery. Prior to the hunger strike, Manning attempted suicide in her cell. She could face additional charges related to that attempt.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense in 2014 over its refusal to treat Manning’s gender dysphoria. Cost for the transition surgery is around $50,000 and will be paid for by the Department of Defense.

Born as Bradley Edward Manning, the 28-year-old announced after her espionage conviction that she identifies as a woman. She enlisted in the Army in September, 2007, hoping to gain a college education through the G.I. Bill, and perhaps to study for a PhD in physics. She also hoped joining such a masculine environment would resolve her gender identity disorder.

Manning began basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in October, 2007. Standing approximately 5 ft 2 in and weighing just over 100 pounds, Manning was allegedly bullied, and in the opinion of another soldier, was having a breakdown.

According to Manning, she soon realized that she was neither physically nor mentally prepared for the military. Six weeks after enlisting, she was sent to the discharge unit.

The decision to discharge her was revoked, and she started basic training again in January, 2008. After graduating, she moved to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, in order to attend Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 35F, intelligence analyst, receiving a TS/SCI security clearance (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information).

In January, 2010, Manning, downloaded 491,000 classified documents that later became known as the Iraq War logs. Manning first offered the files to The Washington Post and The New York Times. When neither publication accepted, Manning passed the files to WikiLeaks.

Manning pleaded guilty, and is currently serving a 35-year sentence at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.