Chelsea Manning in a black bandanna and a trans flag wristband

Chelsea Manning

Part of a series on U.S. Diplomatic Cables Leak / Cablegate. [View Related Entries]

Updated Sep 10, 2020 at 01:56PM EDT by andcallmeshirley.

Added Dec 16, 2011 at 02:51PM EST by Brad.

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Chelsea Manning (born Bradley E. Manning)[1] is a former U.S. Army soldier who was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq, suspected of leaking classified military documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Manning was formally charged in July 2010 with unauthorized transfer of classified data and national defense information; she received 22 additional charges in March 2011, including "aiding the enemy" which is a capital offense punishable by execution. The leaked material is said to have included 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, footage of a July 2007 Baghdad airstrike and footage of the May 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan.

Online History

Manning had been assigned to a unit of the 10th Mountain Division based near Baghdad in October 2009. There she had access to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) used by the United States government to transmit classified information. She was arrested on May 26th, 2010 after a former "gray hat" computer hacker Adrian Lamo reported her the FBI for claiming to have leaked a classified video of an American helicopter attack that killed 12 people to Wikileaks that April.[5] In July, these chat logs[4] were made public and revealed that Manning was already facing a discharge for "adjustment disorder," as she was coming to terms with gender dysphoria.[6] In later chat logs, Manning claimed she had been working with Wikileaks since as early as 2009[13]

May 22, 11:49:02 AM Manning: im in the desert, with a bunch of hyper-masculine trigger happy ignorant rednecks as neighbors… and the only safe place i seem to have is this satellite internet connection …

11:49:51 AM Manning: and i already got myself into minor trouble, revealing my uncertainty over my gender identity … which is causing me to lose this job … and putting me in an awkward limbo …

12:15:11 PM Manning: hypothetical question: if you had free reign [sic] over classified networks for long periods of time … say, 8-9 months … and you saw incredible things, awful things … things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … what would you do? …

12:26:09 PM Manning: lets just say someone i know intimately well, has been penetrating US classified networks, mining data like the ones described … and been transferring that data from the classified networks over the “air gap” onto a commercial network computer … sorting the data, compressing it, encrypting it, and uploading it to a crazy white haired aussie who can’t seem to stay in one country very long =L

Trial and Sentencing

On February 28th, 2013, Manning plead guilty to 10 charges relating to the leaks, but the court insisted on taking her to trial for an additional 12 charges, including aiding the enemy.[7] Her trial began on June 3rd, culminating on July 30th when the judge found Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy but convicted her with six counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917, as well as several other charges that initially amounted in a possible maximum sentence of 136 years of jail time[8], but was later decreased to 90 years.

courtroom sketch of Chelsea Manning's trial

On August 14th, 2013, Manning apologized[9] to the court (shown below), noting that she was just trying to help people but did not realize the amount of harm she had caused. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange claimed this apology was "extracted by force"[10] and that Manning will continue to be a symbol of courage for future whistleblowers. On August 21st, Manning was dishonorably discharged from the Army and given a 35 year sentence[11], with a three and a half year credit for the time she has already served. She was also given a 112 day recompense for the extreme nature of her initial solitary confinement, where she was allegedly forced to sleep naked without pillows or sheets and was not allowed access to television or newspapers during her one free hour per day for nine months.[12]

On September 3rd, shortly after the sentencing, Manning's lawyer applied for a full presidential pardon and/or commutation for his client, in which he argued that Manning's disclosure didn't cause any "real damage" and cited Amnesty International's letter defending Manning's action as exposure of human rights violations.

Suicide Attempt

On July 6th, 2016, it was reported that Manning had been rushed to a nearby hospital as a result of attempting to end her own life.[23] As a result of the incident, additional charges were brought to Manning, including "resisting the forced cell move team" and "conduct which threatens."[24] She was assigned a court date on September 20th, 2016

Hunger Strike

On September 9th, 2016, it was reported[20] that Manning began a hunger strike to demand written assurances from the Army that she will receive her medically prescribed medications for gender dysphoria and that the "high tech bullying" ("the constant, deliberate and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison and military officials.”) she is receiving in prison will stop. She filed a "Do Not Resuscitate" order and stressed her protest would be peaceful. The military agreed four days later to allow Manning to undergo gender reassignment surgery, and she ended her hunger strike.[21] On September 15th, 2016, Julian Assange announced that he would turn himself into the United States government if President Obama gave Manning a presidential pardon (shown below).[22]

11 WikiLeaks Φ Follow @wikileaks If Obama grants Manning clemency, Assange will agree to US prison in exchange -despite its clear unlawfulness WikiLeaks @wikileaks WikiLeaks lawyers to Loretta Lynch: 'Clinton precedent requires closing DoJ case against WikiLeaks


On November 14th, a few days after the election of Donald Trump, Manning formally petitioned President Obama to commute the remainder her 35-year sentence to the six years she has already served since the conviction. By December 10th, a White House petition urging President Obama to reduce Manning's sentence had surpassed 100,000 signatures, prompting White House officials to issue an official response by obligation. On January 17th, 2017, three days before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, President Obama reduced the bulk remainder of Manning's jail term. Manning is expected to be released from the United States Disciplinary Barracks, a military correctional facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 17th, 2017.[25]


On May 9th, Manning released a statement[30] about her upcoming release from prison:

"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world."

On May 15th, Manning tweeted that she would be released from prison in 48 hours (shown below). Over the next two days, the tweet received upwards of 4,900 likes and 1,200 retweets.

Chelsea Manning @xychelsea Two more days until the freedom of civilian life-Now hunting for private #healthcare like millions of Americans =P ΛΛ

On May 17th, 2017, Manning was released from military prison at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. That day, Manning posted a photograph on Instagram[29] of her Converse sneakers with the caption "First steps of freedom!" (shown below). Meanwhile, several posts about Manning's release reached the front page of various subreddits, including /r/worldpolitics,[26] /r/politics[27] and /r/ainbow.[28] Also on May 17th, Twitter published a Moments[31] page titled "Chelsea Manning Takes Her 'First Steps of Freedom'".

Chelsea Manning's first Instagram post after release from prison showing her feet in converse shoes

Senate Run

On January 13th, 2018, Chelsea Manning filed to run for the United States Senate representing Maryland. At the time of the filing, she gave no statement.[32] The day of the announcement, Redditor MostCharitable posted about her candidacy in the /r/politics subreddit. The post received more than 1,500 points (87% upvoted) and 800 comments in 48 hours.

The following day, she released her first campaign ad. Within 24 hours, the video (shown below) has been viewed more than 100,000 times.

Some, however, reacted negatively to Manning's candidacy. On January 14th, Twitter [34] user @Dakota_Meyer tweeted, "Didn’t @xychelsea already have a chance to serve this country honorably and fail? #askingforafriend." The tweet (shown below) received more than 1,700 retweets and 4,300 likes in 24 hours.

Twitter[35] user @JordanUhl retweeted the New York Times article about her run and added, "Chelsea Manning, who exposed the military killing innocent people including a Reuters reporter and laughing about it on video, filed for a Senate run in Maryland There, fixed your headline." The tweet (shown below, center) received more than 430 retweets and 1,000 likes in 24 hours.

Additionally, Twitter[36] user @ParkerMalloy tweeted a variation of Expanding Brain using reactions to the senate run (shown below, right).

Didn't @xychelsea already have a chance to serve this country honorably and fail? #askingforafriend Chelsea Manning, who exposed the military killing innocent people including a Reuters reporter and laughing about it on video, filed for a Senate run in Maryland There, fixed your headline. NYT Politics. @nytpolitics Chelsea Manning, who was found guilty of leaking more than 700,000 government files to WikiLeaks, filed for a Senate run in Maryland expanding brain meme with different reasonings behind opposition to Chelsea Manning's candidacy to senate

On January 15th, The Intercept's[33] Glenn Greenwald alleged that the establishment Democrats had launched a smear campaign against Manning, in order to protect sitting Senator Benjamin Cardin. Among other things, Greenwald argues that Democrats are positioning Manning as the popular choice for Russian president Vladimir Putin. He wrote:

"Establishment Democrats wasted no time in mocking and denouncing Manning’s bid to become the first ever trans woman in the Senate, instead quickly lining up in support behind the straight white male who has wielded power for decades. To demean Manning, many of these establishment Democrats invoked the primary tactic they now reflexively use against anyone they view as a political adversary: they depicted her as a tool of the Kremlin, whose candidacy is really just a disguised plot engineered by Moscow."

Several media outlets covered Manning's candidacy, including The Hill,[37] CNN,[38] Vanity Fair,[39] Newsweek[40] and more.

2020 Release

Chelsea Manning, following a judge's order to release her from prison, was ordered to be free from prison on March 12th, 2020.

Subpoenaed by a grand jury to testify against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Manning refused to cooperate, claiming she had moral objections to the investigation. As a result, Manning was jailed for contempt of court. In the months that past, her subpoena expired, opening the door for her release.

"The court finds that Ms. Manning’s appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose," wrote Federal District Court Judge Anthony J. Trenga.

The release would not exempt her from the fines accrued from the contempt of court infraction, a total of $256,000.

This would not be the first time a grand jury's subpoena of Ms. Manning had run out. A grand jury first ordered Manning to testify in the investigation of Assange in March 2019. When that subpoena expired in May, investigators received a second and she was ordered her to stay in prison until she cooperated. However, nearly a year later, and following her second release, investigators may seek a third.[54]


Nobel Peace Prize Nomination

In 2011, Manning was one of 241 candidates listed for that year's Nobel Peace Prize.[14] The following year, she was again named as one of the 231 nominees.[15] In April 2013, RootsAction launched an online petition[16] (shown below) to encourage the Nobel Prize committee to give the award to Manning, which has gained more than 110,000 signatures as of August 2013. On August 12th, political activist and author Norman Solomon presented a physical copy of the petition consisting of more than 5,000 sheets of paper in two boxes to the Nobel Prize committee in Oslo, Norway.[17]

Bradley Manning's Nobel Peace Prize This page is most easily shared with this address: Whistleblower Bradiey Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he should receive it Background No individual has done more to push back against what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism* than Bradley Manning. And right now, remaining in prison and facing relentless prosecution by the U.S. government, no one is more in need of the Nobel Peace Prize. Alfred Nobel's will left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.- Give the Nobel Peace Prize to Bradley Manning The intent of the prize was to fund this work. As a result of enormous legal expenses, Bradley Manning is in need of that funding. Please sign this petition to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. I urge you to award the Peace Prize to Bradley Manning.

A Night For Freedom "Crashing" Controversy

On January 21st, BuzzFeed reported that Chelsea Manning made an appearance at the far right gala A Night For Freedom, celebrating the one-year anniversary of Trump's inauguration. The event featured speech and presentations from those within the far right media, as well as some who have been accused of being alt-right, including Gavin McInnes, James O'Keefe and Mike Cernovich.

Later that night, Manning tweeted[41] about the events, claiming that she "crashed" the party. She posted a selfie giving the thumbs down and wrote, "crashed the fascist/white supremacist hate brigade party 😂 all selfies were denied 😎💕🌈 #CrashTheFash #WeGotThis #NightForFreedom." The tweet (shown below) received more than 1,200 retweets and 8,400 likes in two days.

tweet by Chelsea Manning with picture showing her giving thumbs down while attending the A Night For Freedom far right gala

Speakers and attendees of the event confirmed her attendance. Mike Cernovich, one of the hosts of A Night for Freedom tweeted,[42] "Yes I literally shook hands with Chelsea Manning tonight, the left is freaking out, it was not a big deal. It was a huge and amazing party. Glad she stopped by. All are welcome to party with me." The tweet (shown below, left) received more than 650 retweets and 3,330 likes in 24 hours.

However, others disputed some of the claims that BuzzFeed's reporters characterized Manning as being friends with Cassandra Fairbanks, a member of the far right media. Twitter user @historyinflicks tweeted,[43] "I like Buzzfeed News (fuck you) but Wurzel called Chelsea Manning a "guest" at the Cernovich party. Bernstein went further, said Manning was with Cassandra Fairbanks & they were friends. Apparently none of that was true. Manning was with protestors & crashed party. Bad reporting." The tweet (shown below, center) received more tahn 350 retweets and 1,900 likes in less than two days.

The following day, New York magazine and HuffPo writer Yashar Ali tweeted[44] a picture of Manning at an Escape the Room[45] from December 2017 with speakers and participants of the A Night for Freedom, including Jack Posobiec and Cassandra Fairbanks. He wrote, "Chelsea Manning said she was crashing @Cernovich’s party last night but here’s a picture taken in DC before Christmas where she certainly does not appear to be crashing @willchamberlain @JackPosobiec @CassandraRules @lucianwintrich." The tweet[47][48] (shown below, right) received more than 1,700 retweets and 3,000 likes in 24 hours. Ali followed his post by tweeting "2. I posted this because Chelsea tried to say last night was her attempt to crash a party. By all accounts, everyone welcomed her last night and was respectful. No one misgendered her either. 3. Also, FFS, Chelsea Manning is NOT alt-right. Give me a break with this crap."

Mike Cernovich @Cernovich Yes l literally shook hands with Chelsea Manning toniqut, the left is freaking out, it was not a big deal. It was a huge and amazing party. Glad she stopped by. All are welcome to party with me. maple cocaine @historyinflicks I like Buzzfeed News (fuck you) but Wurzel called Chelsea Manning a "guest" at the Cernovich party. Bernstein went further, said Manning was with Cassandra Fairbanks & they were friends. Apparently none of that was true. Manning was with protestors & crashed party. Bad reporting Yashar Ali @yashar Chelsea Manning said she was crashing @Cernovich's party last night but here's a picture taken in DC before Christmas where she certainly does not appear to be crashing... @willchamberlain @JackPosobiec @CassandraRules @lucianwintrich DC

Some disagreed that these pictures and her appearance prove much of anything in regards to Manning. That evening, Twitter[46] user @RespectableLaw tweeted a photoshopped image of Manning on the Disneyland theme park ride "Splash Mountain" with white supremacist Richard Spencer. They captioned the tweet (shown below), "I've been supportive of Chelsea Manning, but this picture of her riding Splash Mountain with Richard Spencer is certainly giving me pause." Within 24 hours, the tweet received more than 400 retweets and 3,330 likes.

tweet with photoshopped photo of Chelsea Manning and Richard Spencer riding Splash Mountain

Personal Life

Chelsea Manning was born as Bradley E. Manning on December 17th, 1987 in Crescent, Oklahoma.[18] After spending some time in Wales for education, Manning travelled back to the United States and lived as an openly gay man. In 2007, she joined the U.S. Army where she was bullied and discharged from basic training within six weeks. Despite this, Manning continued basic training six months later and completed in April 2008. She was deployed to Iraq in October 2009.

2013 Disclosure

On August 22nd, 2013, the day after her sentencing, Manning issued a statement to the Today show[19] stating that she would be living out the rest of her life as a woman and would be beginning hormone therapy as soon as possible. She also requested that news media refer to her as Chelsea and use feminine pronouns when speaking about her, with the exception of official mail.

2019 Refusal to Testify

On March 6th, 2019, Chelsea Manning was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in Virginia. On March 7th, Manning[49] revealed on Twitter that she will "facing a sealed contempt hearing for refusing to testify at a secret grand jury over my 2010 disclosures" and attached a statement (shown below, left). The tweet gained 4,800 retweets and 11,600 likes in three weeks. On March 8th, administrators on Mannings[50] Twitter account announced that she "was taken into custody today for resisting a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia" and attached another statement (shown below, right). The tweet accumulated 6,600 retweets and 13,600 likes in three weeks.

Chelsea E. Manning @xychelsea tomorrow i'm facing a sealed contempt hearing for refusing to testify at a secret grand jury over my 2010 disclosures statement: "On Friday, I will return to federal court in Alexandria, Virginia for a closed contempt hearing. A judge will consider the legal grounds for my refusal to answer questions in front of a grand jury. The court may find me in contempt, and order me to jail "Yesterday, I appeared before a secret grand jury after being given immunity for my testimony. All of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010-answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013. responded to each question with the following statement:I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights. "In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available. My legal team continues to challenge the secrecy of these proceedings, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal. Chelsea resists Chelsea Manning 9:47 AM- 7 Mar 2019 Chelsea E. Manning @xychelsea ** Chelsea was taken into custody today for resisting a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia Chelsea provided the following statement: I will not comply with this, or any other grand jury. Imprisoning me for my refusal to answer questions only subjects me to stated ethical objections to the grand jury system. l punishment for my repeatedly- The grand jury's questions pertained to disclosures from nine years ago, and took place six years after an in-depth computer forensics case, in which I tesified for almost a full day about these events. I stand by my previous public testimony. I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech. Chelsea resists Chelsea Manning 10:58 AM-8 Mar 2019

On March 23rd, Chelsea's support committee[51] announced their demand that Chelsea be immediately released from "administrative segregation"(solitary confinement) on Twitter attaching excerpts from the Detention center's handbook outlining what "administrative segregation entails (shown below). The tweet garnered 1,600 retweets and 2,700 likes in a week.

Chelsea E. Manning @xychelsea **Chelsea's support committee demands that Chelsea be immediately released from "administrative segregation" (solitary confinement) Statement: From: Inmate Handbook for the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center issued by the Alexandria Sherifs Office, July 2017. (Page 9): In Administrative Segregation, you will be housed in your cell for a maximum of 22 hours per day You will receive breaks according to an established break schedule. You will use your break usually two hours long to make personal phone calls and attend to your hygiene needs. From: Preface by Juan E Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (Spanish Edition, 2014) to a Sourcebook on Solitary Confinement by Sharon Shalev (page I) ".I have defined solitary confinement on the basis of the Istanbul Statement on the Use and Effects of Solitary Confinement, as the physical and social isolation of individuals who are confined to their cells for 22 to 24 hours a day. Although the form of this practice and the name given to it may vary, its overriding characteristic is the absence of meaningful human contact by the isolated person with other persons or with the world outside his or her cell." 9:33 AM-23 Mar 2019

That same day, Chelsea Manning's Support Committee[52] released a statement outlining Mannings situation in prison calling on the Detention to remove her from "Administrative Segregation." They state that Manning has been held in a private cell for 22 hours a day for 16 days. This is defined as “Prolonged Solitary,” by Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. They continue on to reveal that, "she is permitted to make phone calls and move about outside her cell between 1 and 3 a.m.. " Th Committee said that, “although the facility has accommodated Chelsea’s medical needs, including hormone medications and daily post-surgery treatment, keeping her under these conditions for over 15 days amounts to torture, possibly in an attempt to coerce her into compliance with the Grand Jury."

Later that night, Dana Lawhorne, the sheriff of Alexandria, Virginia stated, “Our facility does not have ‘solitary confinement’ and inmates housed in administrative segregation for safety and security reasons still have access to social visits, books, recreation, and break time outside their cells,” Lawhorne said, adding that “(the) federal government has never suggested to us how to treat any inmate and it is unfair to imply that there is a ‘conspiracy’ of any kind.”[53]

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Bradley Manning

[2] Wired – Bradley Manning Moves to Dismiss Hearing’s Presiding Officer

[3] Wired – Threat Level: Wikileaks Chat

[4] Wired – Manning-Lamo Chat Logs Revealed

[5] New York Times –

[6] Boing Boing – Was alleged Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning's crisis also one of personal identity?

[7] CBS News – Judge accepts Manning's guilty pleas in WikiLeaks case

[8] New York Times – Manning Is Acquitted of Aiding the Enemy

[9] NBC News – 'I'm sorry that I hurt the United States': Bradley Manning apologizes in court

[10] Huffington Post – Julian Assange: 'Bradley Manning's Apology Was Extracted By Force'

[11] BBC News – Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in Wikileaks case

[12] The Daily Beast – Extreme Solitary Confinement: What Did Bradley Manning Experience?

[13] Shadow Proof (formerly Firedoglake) – Bradley Manning/Wikileaks Timeline

[14] Death and Taxes (via Wayback Machine) – Bradley Manning and Julian Assange Both Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

[15] Huffington Post (via Wayback Machine) – Nobel Peace Prize 2012: Bradley Manning, Bill Clinton Among Nominees For 2012 Prize

[16] RootsAction – Bradley Manning's Nobel Peace Prize

[17] San Jose Mercury News – Marin activist lobbies in Norway for Nobel Peace Prize for Bradley Manning

[18] Buzzfeed – Who Is Bradley Manning

[19] Today Show – Bradley Manning: I want to live as a woman

[20] Fight For The Future – Chelsea Manning Begins Hunger Strike to Protest Bullying by Prison and US Government

[21] The Daily Dot – Chelsea Manning to undergo sex reassignment surgery, will end hunger strike

[22] Wikileaks – @wikileaks

[23] Twitter – @shimonpro

[24] The Daily Dot – WikiLeaks' Julian Assange offers to surrender to U.S. if Chelsea Manning is released

[25] The Guardian – Chelsea Manning: majority of prison sentence commuted by Obama

[26] Reddit – /r/worldpolitics

[27] Reddit – /r/politics

[28] Reddit – /r/ainbow

[29] Instagram – xychelsea87

[30] Luminairity – Mannings Upcoming Release from Military Prison

[31] Twitter – Chelsea Manning takes her first steps of freedom

[32] The Washington Post – Chelsea Manning files to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland

[33] The Intercept – Centrist Dems Launch Smear Campaign Against Young Trans Woman, All to Keep an Old Straight White Man in Power

[34] Twitter – @Dakota_Meyer's Tweet

[35] Twitter – @JordanUhl's Tweet

[36] Twitter – @ParkerMalloy's Tweet

[37] The Hill – Chelsea Manning releases first campaign ad in Senate run

[38] CNN – Chelsea Manning releases Senate campaign video



[41] Twitter – @xychelsea's Tweet

[42] Twitter (via Wayback Machine) – @Cernovich's Tweet

[43] Twitter – @historyinflicks' Tweet

[44] Twitter – @yashar's Tweet

[45] Facebook – escapetheroomdc's Post

[46] Twitter (via Wayback Machine) – @RespectableLaw's Tweet

[47] Twitter – @yashar's Tweet

[48] Twitter – @yashar's Tweet

[49] Twitter – @xychelsea

[50] Twitter – @xychelsea

[51] Twitter – @xychelsea

[52] Chelsea Resists (via Wayback Machine) – Stop Holding Chelsea Manning in Solitary Confinement

[53] WTKR – Chelsea Mannings Health Threatened

[54] New York Times – Chelsea Manning Is Ordered Released From Jail

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