In 2013, Private Bradley Manning, a former intelligence analyst in Iraq, was convicted on 20 counts, including theft, computer fraud and six Espionage Act violations and sentenced to a 35 years in a military prison.
In January, President Barack Obama granted Bradley, who is now known as Chelsea. In an emailed statement she said, “I’m trying things out right now – which is exciting, awkward, fun and all new for me.”
Chelsea’s Twitter post after being released from the Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas displayed her feet in tennis shoes with a caption “First Steps of Freedom!!
While Manning did not reveal her immediate plans, she said, “I am looking for to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past.” However, she said in January that she would probably move to Maryland, where she will be close to her aunt.
Leaking the materials for Manning was an opportunity to expose the United States military’s disregard of the long-term effects of war on innocent civilians to the world. She had said on many occasions that the information released was not meant or believed to have harmed the United States.
Critics said the leaks, which consisted of the some of the nation’s most-sensitive military secrets endangered vital information sources. The U.S. State Department was prompted to relocate some of those people for their safety. Following the embarrassing discoveries, several ambassadors were expelled, reassigned and recalled.
On Tuesday, military officials said Chelsea Manning would stay on active duty in an unpaid, special status that would allow her to receive military health care benefits and commissary privileges legally.