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Bradley Manning

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Bradley Manning
Manning in April 2012
Born Bradley Edward Manning
(1987-12-17) December 17, 1987 (age 31)
Crescent, Oklahoma, U.S.
Nationality American
Known for Classified document disclosures to Wikileaks
Criminal charge Violating the Espionage Act, stealing government property, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, multiple counts of disobeying orders[1]
Criminal penalty 35 years in prison (sentence commuted to 7 years total confinement), reduction in rank to private (private E-1 or PVT), forfeiture of all pay and allowances, dishonorable discharge[2]
  • Brian Manning
  • Susan Fox
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 2007–2017
Rank Private (E-1)[3]
Unit 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (former)
Awards National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon

Bradley Edward Manning (born December 17, 1987) who legally changed his name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning in 2014,[4] is a United States Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly three-quarters of a million classified or unclassified but sensitive military and diplomatic documents.[5] Manning was sentenced in August 2013 to 35 years imprisonment, with the possibility of parole in the eighth year, and to be dishonorably discharged from the Army.[2] Manning is a trans woman who, in a statement the day after sentencing, said he had felt female since childhood, wanted to be known as Chelsea,[6] and desired to begin hormone replacement therapy.[7] From early life and through much of his Army life, Manning was known as Bradley; he was diagnosed with gender identity disorder while in the Army.[8]

Assigned in 2009 to an Army unit in Iraq as an intelligence analyst, Manning had access to classified databases. In early 2010, he leaked classified information to WikiLeaks and confided this to Adrian Lamo, an online acquaintance. Lamo informed Army Counterintelligence and Manning was arrested in May that same year. The material included videos of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike, and the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables;[9] and 482,832 Army reports that came to be known as the Iraq War Logs[10] and Afghan War Diary.[11] Much of the material was published by WikiLeaks or its media partners between April and November 2010.[12]

Manning was ultimately charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which was the most serious charge and could have resulted in a death sentence.[13] He was held at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico in Virginia, from July 2010 to April 2011 under Prevention of Injury status—which entailed de facto solitary confinement and other restrictions that caused domestic and international objections—before being transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he could interact with other detainees.[14] He pleaded guilty in February 2013 to 10 of the charges.[15] The trial on the remaining charges began on June 3, 2013, and on July 30, he was convicted of 17 of the original charges and amended versions of four others, but was acquitted of aiding the enemy.[1] He was sentenced to serve a 35-year sentence at the maximum-security U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.[16]

Reaction to Manning's disclosures, arrest, and sentence was mixed. Denver Nicks, one of his biographers, writes that the leaked material, particularly the diplomatic cables, was widely seen as a catalyst for the Arab Spring that began in December 2010, and that Manning was viewed as both a 21st-century Tiananmen Square Tank Man and an embittered traitor.[17] Reporters Without Borders condemned the length of the sentence, saying that it demonstrated how vulnerable whistleblowers are.[18]

On January 17, 2017, President Barack Obama commuted (reduced) Manning's sentence to a total of 7 years of confinement dating from the date of arrest by military authorities. Manning was released on May 17, 2017, and is scheduled to be dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army if or when his final appeal is denied by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.[19][20]


Early life

Born Bradley Edward Manning in 1987 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,[21] he was the second child of Susan Fox, originally from Wales, and Brian Manning, an American. Brian had joined the United States Navy in 1974 at the age of 19, and served for five years as an intelligence analyst. Brian met Susan in a local Woolworths store while stationed in Wales at RAF Brawdy. Manning's older sister was born in 1976. The couple returned to the United States in 1979, settling first in California. After their move near Crescent, Oklahoma they bought a two-story house with an above-ground swimming pool and 5 acres (2 hectares) of land, where they kept pigs and chickens.[22]

Manning's sister Casey, 11 years his senior, told the court-martial that both their parents were alcoholics, and that their mother had drunk continually while pregnant with Bradley. Captain David Moulton, a Navy psychiatrist, told the court that Manning's facial features showed signs of fetal alcohol syndrome.[23] Casey became Manning's principal caregiver, waking at night to make a bottle for the baby. The court heard that Manning was fed only milk and baby food until the age of two. As an adult he reached 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m) and weighed around 105 pounds (48 kg).[24]

Manning's father took a job as an information technology (IT) manager for a rental car agency, which required travel. The family lived several miles out of town and Manning's mother was unable to drive. She spent her days drinking, while Manning was left largely to fend for himself, playing with Legos or on the computer. Brian would stock up on food before his trips, and leave pre-signed checks that Casey mailed to pay the bills. A neighbor said that whenever Manning's elementary school went on field trips, she would give her own son extra food or money so he could make sure Manning had something to eat. Friends and neighbors considered the Mannings a troubled family.[25]

Parents' divorce, move to Wales

As a child, Manning was an atheist who was openly opposed to religion, for example, remaining silent during the part of the Pledge of Allegiance that refers to God.[26] In a 2011 interview Manning's father said, "People need to understand that he's a young man that had a happy life growing up." He also said that Manning excelled at the saxophone, science, and computers, creating a website at the age of ten. Manning learned how to use PowerPoint, won the grand prize three years in a row at the local science fair, and in sixth grade, took top prize at a statewide quiz bowl.[27]

High Street, Haverfordwest, Wales, where Manning went to secondary school

A childhood friend of Manning's, speaking about a conversation they had when Manning was 13, said "he told me he was gay." The friend also said that Manning's home life was not good and that his father was very controlling. Around this time, Manning's parents divorced. He and his mother Susan moved out of the house to a rented apartment in Crescent, Oklahoma.[28] Susan's instability continued and in 1998 she attempted suicide; Manning's sister drove their mother to the hospital, with the 11-year-old Manning sitting in the back of the car trying to make sure their mother was still breathing.[29]

Manning's father remarried in 2000, the same year as his divorce. His new wife was also named Susan and had a son from a previous relationship. Manning apparently reacted badly when the son changed his surname to Manning too; he started taking running jumps at the walls, telling his mother: "I'm nobody now."[30]

In November 2001, Manning and his mother left the United States and moved to Haverfordwest, Wales, where his mother had family. Manning attended the town's Tasker Milward secondary school. A school friend there told Ed Caesar for The Sunday Times that Manning's personality was "unique, extremely unique. Very quirky, very opinionated, very political, very clever, very articulate."[31] Manning's interest in computers continued, and in 2003, he and a friend set up a website,, a message board that offered games and music downloads.[31]

Manning became the target of bullying at the school because he was the only American and was viewed as effeminate. Manning had identified to two friends in Oklahoma as gay, but was not open about it at school in Wales. The students would imitate his accent, and apparently abandoned him once during a camping trip; his aunt told The Washington Post that Manning awoke to an empty camp site one morning, after everyone else had packed up their tents and left without him.[32]

Return to the United States

Fearing that his mother was becoming too ill to cope, in 2005 (at the age of 17) Manning returned to the United States.[33] He moved in with his father in Oklahoma City, where he was living with his second wife and her child. Manning got a job as a developer with a software company, Zoto, and was apparently happy for a time, but was let go after four months. His boss told The Washington Post that on a few occasions Manning had "just locked up" and would simply sit and stare, and in the end communication became too difficult. The boss told the newspaper that "nobody's been taking care of this kid for a really long time."[34]

By then, Manning was living as an openly gay man. His relationship with his father was apparently good, but there were problems between Manning and his stepmother. In March 2006, Manning reportedly threatened his stepmother with a knife during an argument about Manning's failure to get another job; the stepmother called the police and Manning was asked to leave the house. Manning drove to Tulsa in a pickup truck his father had given him, at first sleeping in it, then moving in with a friend from school. The two got jobs at Incredible Pizza in April. Manning moved on to Chicago before running out of money and again having nowhere to stay. His mother arranged for Brian's sister, Debra, a lawyer in Potomac, Maryland, to take Manning in. Nicks writes that the 15 months Manning spent with his aunt were among the most stable of his life. He had a boyfriend, took several low-paid jobs, and spent a semester studying history and English at Montgomery College, but left after failing an exam.[35]

Military service

Enlistment in the Army

Manning's father spent weeks in late 2007 asking him to consider joining the Army. Hoping to gain a college education through the G.I. Bill, and perhaps to study for a PhD in physics, he enlisted in September that year.[36] He told his Army supervisor later that he had also hoped joining such a masculine environment would resolve his gender identity disorder.[37]

Manning began basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, on October 2, 2007. He wrote that he soon realized he was neither physically nor mentally prepared for it.[38] Six weeks after enlisting, he was sent to the discharge unit. He was allegedly being bullied, and in the opinion of another soldier, was having a breakdown. The soldier told The Guardian: "The kid was barely five foot ... He was a runt, so pick on him. He's crazy, pick on him. He's a faggot, pick on him. The guy took it from every side. He couldn't please anyone." Nicks writes that Manning, who was used to being bullied, fought back—if the drill sergeants screamed at him, he would scream at them—to the point where they started calling him "General Manning".[39]

The decision to discharge him was revoked, and he started basic training again in January 2008. After graduating in April, he 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). According to Nicks, this security clearance, combined with the digitization of classified information and the government's policy of sharing it widely, gave Manning access to an unprecedented amount of material. Nicks writes that Manning was reprimanded while at Fort Huachuca for posting three video messages to friends on YouTube, in which he described the inside of the "Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility" (SCIF) where he worked.[40] Upon completion of his initial MOS course, Manning received the Army Service Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal.[41]

Move to Fort Drum, deployment to Iraq

Manning in September 2009

In August 2008, Manning was sent to Fort Drum in Jefferson County, New York, where he joined the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and trained for deployment to Iraq.[42] In late 2008 while stationed there, he met Tyler Watkins, who was studying neuroscience and psychology at Brandeis University, near Boston. Watkins was his first serious relationship, and he posted happily on Facebook about it, regularly traveling 300 miles (480 km) to Boston on visits.[43]

Watkins introduced him to a network of friends and the university's hacker community. He also visited Boston University's "hackerspace" workshop, known as "Builds", and met its founder, David House, the MIT researcher who was later allowed to visit him in jail. In November 2008, he gave an anonymous interview to a high-school reporter during a rally in Syracuse in support of gay marriage:

"I was kicked out of my home and I once lost my job. The world is not moving fast enough for us at home, work, or the battlefield. I've been living a double life. ... I can't make a statement. I can't be caught in an act. I hope the public support changes. I do hope to do that before ETS [Expiration of Term of Service]."[44]

Nicks writes that Manning would travel back to Washington, D.C., for visits. An ex-boyfriend helped him find his way around the city's gay community, introducing him to lobbyists, activists, and White House aides. Back at Fort Drum, he continued to display emotional problems and, by August 2009, had been referred to an Army mental-health counselor.[45] A friend told Nicks that Manning could be emotionally fraught, describing an evening they had watched two movies together—The Last King of Scotland and Dancer in the Dark—after which Manning cried for hours. By September 2009 his relationship with Watkins was in trouble; they reconciled for a short time, but it was effectively over.[46]

After four weeks at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Fort Polk, Louisiana, Manning was deployed to Forward Operating Base Hammer, near Baghdad, arriving in October 2009. From his workstation there, he had access to SIPRNet (the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network) and JWICS (the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System). Two of his superiors had discussed not taking him to Iraq; it was felt he was a risk to himself and possibly others, according to a statement later issued by the Army—but the shortage of intelligence analysts dictated their decision to take him.[47] In November 2009, he was promoted from Private First Class to Specialist.[48]

Contact with gender counselor

In November 2009 Manning wrote to a gender counselor in the United States, said he felt female, and discussed having surgery. The counselor told Steve Fishman of New York magazine in 2011 that it was clear Manning was in crisis, partly because of his gender concerns, but also because he was opposed to the kind of war in which he found himself involved.[49]

He was by all accounts unhappy and isolated. Because of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy (known as DADT and in effect until September 20, 2011), Manning was unable to live as an openly gay man without risk of being discharged. But he apparently made no secret of his orientation: his friends said he kept a fairy wand on his desk. When he told his roommate he was attracted to men, he responded by suggesting they not speak to each other.[50] Manning's working conditions included 14- to 15-hour night shifts in a tightly packed, dimly lit room.[51]

On December 20, 2009, during a counseling session with two colleagues to discuss his poor time-keeping, Manning was told he would lose his one day off a week for persistent lateness. He responded by overturning a table, damaging a computer that was sitting on it. A sergeant moved Manning away from the weapons rack, and other soldiers pinned his arms behind his back and dragged him out of the room. Several witnesses to the incident believed his access to sensitive material ought to have been withdrawn at that point.[52] The following month, January 2010, he began posting on Facebook that he felt hopeless and alone.[53]

State of mind over release of material

Manning told Amnesty International:

These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives—with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them—then it's difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.[54]

Release of material to WikiLeaks

Manning said his first contact with WikiLeaks took place in January 2010, when he began to interact with them on IRC and Jabber. He had first noticed them toward the end of November 2009, when they posted 570,000 pager messages from the September 11 attacks.[55]

Items of historical significance of two wars Iraq and Afghanistan Significant Activity, Sigacts, between 0001 January 2004 and 2359 31 December 2009 extracts from CSV documents from Department of Defense and CDNE database.

These items have already been sanitized of any source identifying information.

You might need to sit on this information for 90 to 180 days to best send and distribute such a large amount of data to a large audience and protect the source.

This is one of the most significant documents of our time removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.

Have a good day.

Manning, January 9, 2010[56]

On January 5, 2010, Manning downloaded the 400,000 documents that became known as the Iraq War logs.[56] On January 8 he downloaded 91,000 documents from the Afghanistan database, the Afghan War logs. He saved the material on CD-RW, and smuggled it through security by labeling the CD-RW media "Lady Gaga".[57] He then copied it onto his personal computer.[58] The next day he wrote a message in a readme.txt file (see right), which he told the court was initially intended for The Washington Post.[59]

Manning copied the files from his laptop to an SD card for his camera so that he could take it with him to the United States while on R&R leave.[58] Army investigators later found the SD card in Manning's basement room in his aunt's home in Potomac, Maryland.[60] On January 23 Manning flew to the United States via Germany for two weeks of leave. It was during this visit that he first went out dressed as a woman, wearing a wig and makeup.[61] After his arrest, his former partner, Tyler Watkins, told Wired that Manning had said during the visit that he had found some sensitive information and was considering leaking it.[62]

Manning contacted The Washington Post and The New York Times to ask if they were interested in the material; the Post reporter did not sound interested and the Times did not return the call. Manning decided instead to pass it to WikiLeaks, and on February 3 sent them the Iraq and Afghan War logs via Tor. He returned to Iraq on February 11, with no acknowledgement from WikiLeaks that they had received the files.[63]

On or around February 18 he passed WikiLeaks a diplomatic cable, dated January 13, 2010, from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavík, Iceland.[64] They published it within hours, which suggested to Manning that they had received the other material too.[65] He found the Baghdad helicopter attack ("Collateral murder") video in a Judge Advocate's directory, and passed it to WikiLeaks on or around February 21.[66] In late March he sent them a video of the May 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; this was the video later removed and apparently destroyed by Daniel Domscheit-Berg when he left the organization.[67] Between March 28 and April 9 he downloaded the 250,000 diplomatic cables, and uploaded them to a WikiLeaks dropbox on April 10.[68]

Manning told the court that, during his interaction with WikiLeaks on IRC and Jabber, he developed a friendship with someone there, believed to be Julian Assange (although neither knew the other's name), which he said made him feel he could be himself.[69] Army investigators found 14 to 15 pages of encrypted chats, in unallocated space on his MacBook's hard drive, between Manning and someone believed to be Assange.[60] He wrote in a statement that the more he had tried to fit in at work, the more alienated he became from everyone around him. The relationship with WikiLeaks had given him a brief respite from the isolation and anxiety.[69]

Email to supervisor, recommended discharge

On April 24, 2010, Manning sent an email to his supervisor, Master Sergeant Paul Adkins—with the subject line "My Problem"—saying he was suffering from gender identity disorder. He attached a photograph of himself dressed as a woman and with the filename breanna.jpg.[70] He wrote:

This is my problem. I've had signs of it for a very long time. It's caused problems within my family. I thought a career in the military would get rid of it. It's not something I seek out for attention, and I've been trying very, very hard to get rid of it by placing myself in situations where it would be impossible. But, it's not going away; it's haunting me more and more as I get older. Now, the consequences of it are dire, at a time when it's causing me great pain in itself ...[37]

Adkins discussed the situation with Manning's therapists, but did not pass the email to anybody above him in his chain of command; he told Manning's court-martial that he was concerned the photograph would be disseminated among other staff.[71] Captain Steven Lim, Manning's company commander, said he first saw the email after Manning's arrest, when information about hormone replacement therapy was found in Manning's room on base; at that point Lim learned that Manning had been calling himself Breanna.[72]

File:Chelsea Manning with wig.jpg
Manning sent this photograph of himself in a wig and makeup to his supervisor in April 2010.[70]

Manning told former "grey hat" hacker Adrian Lamo that he had set up Twitter and YouTube accounts as Breanna to give his female identity a digital presence, writing to Lamo: "I wouldn't mind going to prison for the rest of my life [for leaking information], or being executed so much, if it wasn't for the possibility of having pictures of me... plastered all over the world press... as [a] boy... [...] the CPU is not made for this motherboard..."[73] On April 30 he posted on Facebook that he was utterly lost, and over the next few days wrote that he was "not a piece of equipment", and was "beyond frustrated" and "livid" after being "lectured by ex-boyfriend despite months of relationship ambiguity ..."[74]

On May 7, according to Army witnesses, Manning was found curled in a fetal position in a storage cupboard; he had a knife at his feet and had cut the words "I want" into a vinyl chair. A few hours later he had an altercation with a female intelligence analyst, Specialist Jihrleah Showman, during which he punched Showman in the face. The brigade psychiatrist recommended a discharge, referring to an "occupational problem and adjustment disorder". Manning's supervisor removed the bolt from his weapon, making it unable to fire, and he was sent to work in the supply office, although at this point his security clearance remained in place. As punishment for the altercation with Showman, he was demoted from Specialist (E-4) to Private First Class (E-3) three days before his arrest on May 27.[75]

Ellen Nakashima writes that, on May 9, Manning contacted Jonathan Odell, a gay American novelist in Minneapolis, via Facebook, leaving a message that he wanted to speak to him in confidence; he said he had been involved in some "very high-profile events, albeit as a nameless individual thus far".[30] On May 19, according to Army investigators, he emailed Eric Schmiedl, a mathematician he had met in Boston, and told him he had been the source of the Baghdad airstrike video. Two days later, he began the series of chats with Adrian Lamo that led to his arrest.[76]

Publication of leaked material


WikiLeaks was set up in late 2006 as a disclosure portal, initially using the Wikipedia model, where volunteers would write up restricted or legally threatened material submitted by whistleblowers. It was Julian Assange—an Australian Internet activist and journalist, and the de facto editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks—who had the idea of creating what Ben Laurie called an "open-source, democratic intelligence agency". The open-editing aspect was soon abandoned, but the site remained open for anonymous submissions.[77]

According to Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former WikiLeaks spokesperson, part of the WikiLeaks security concept was that they did not know who their sources were. The New York Times wrote in December 2010 that the U.S. government was trying to discover whether Assange had been a passive recipient of material from Manning, or had encouraged or helped him to extract the files; if the latter, Assange could be charged with conspiracy. Manning told Lamo in May 2010 that he had developed a working relationship with Assange, communicating directly with him using an encrypted Internet conferencing service, but knew little about him. WikiLeaks did not identify Manning as their source.[78] Army investigators found pages of chats on Manning's computer between Manning and someone believed to be Julian Assange.[60] Nicks writes that, despite this, no decisive evidence was found of Assange offering Manning any direction.[79]


On February 18, 2010, WikiLeaks posted the first of the material from Manning, the diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavík, a document now known as Reykjavik13.[64] On March 15 WikiLeaks posted a 32-page report written in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Defense about WikiLeaks itself, and on March 29 it posted U.S. State Department profiles of politicians in Iceland.[80]

Baghdad airstrike

Manning said he gave WikiLeaks the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike video in early 2010.[81][82][83]

WikiLeaks named the Baghdad airstrike video "Collateral Murder", and Assange released it on April 5, 2010, during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.[84] The video showed two American helicopters firing on a group of ten men in the Amin District of Baghdad. Two were Reuters employees there to photograph an American Humvee under attack by the Mahdi Army. Pilots mistook their cameras for weapons. The helicopters also fired on a van, targeted earlier by one helicopter, that had stopped to help wounded members of the first group. Two children in the van were wounded and their father was killed. Pilots also engaged a building where retreating insurgents were holed up. The Washington Post wrote that it was this video, viewed by millions, that put WikiLeaks on the map. According to Nicks, Manning emailed a superior officer after the video aired and tried to persuade him that it was the same version as the one stored on SIPRNet. Nicks writes that it seemed as though Manning wanted to be caught.[84]

Afghan War logs, Iraq War logs

WikiLeaks and three media partners—The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel—began publishing the 91,731 documents that became known as the Afghan War logs on July 25, 2010. This was followed on October 22, 2010, by 391,832 classified military reports covering the period January 2004 to December 2009; these became known as the Iraq War logs. Nicks writes that the publication of the former was a watershed moment, the "beginning of the information age exploding upon itself".[85]

Diplomatic cables, Guantanamo Bay files

Manning was also responsible for the "Cablegate" leak of 251,287 State Department cables, written by 271 American embassies and consulates in 180 countries, dated December 1966 to February 2010. The cables were passed by Assange to his three media partners, plus El País and others, and published in stages from November 28, 2010, with the names of sources removed. WikiLeaks said it was the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain.[9][86] The rest of the cables were published unredacted by WikiLeaks on September 1, 2011, after David Leigh and Luke Harding of The Guardian published the passphrase for a file that was still online; Nicks writes that one Ethiopian journalist had to leave his country and the U.S. government said it had to relocate several sources.[87] Manning was also the source of the Guantanamo Bay files leak, obtained by WikiLeaks in 2010 and published by The New York Times on April 24, 2011.[88]

Granai airstrike

Manning said he gave WikiLeaks a video, in late March 2010, of the Granai airstrike in Afghanistan. The airstrike occurred on May 4, 2009, in the village of Granai, Afghanistan, killing 86 to 147 Afghan civilians. The video was never published; Julian Assange said in March 2013 that Daniel Domscheit-Berg had taken it with him when he left WikiLeaks, and had apparently destroyed it.[67]

Manning and Adrian Lamo

First contact

Adrian Lamo (left) and Wired's Kevin Poulsen (right) in 2001. The person in the middle, Kevin Mitnick, had no involvement in the Manning case.[89]

On May 20, 2010, Manning contacted Adrian Lamo, a former "grey hat" hacker convicted in 2004 of having accessed The New York Times computer network two years earlier without permission. Lamo had been profiled that day by Kevin Poulsen in Wired magazine; the story said Lamo had been involuntarily hospitalized and diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.[90] Poulsen, by then a reporter, was himself a former hacker who had used Lamo as a source several times since 2000.[89] Indeed it was Poulsen who, in 2002, had told The New York Times that Lamo had gained unauthorized access to its network; Poulsen then wrote the story up for SecurityFocus. Lamo would hack into a system, tell the organization, then offer to fix their security, often using Poulsen as a go-between.[91]

Lamo said Manning sent him several encrypted emails on May 20. He said he was unable to decrypt them but replied anyway and invited the emailer to chat on AOL IM. Lamo said he later turned the emails over to the FBI without having read them.[92]


In a series of chats between May 21 and 25, Manning—using the handle "bradass87"—told Lamo that he had leaked classified material. He introduced himself as an Army intelligence analyst, and within 17 minutes, without waiting for a reply, alluded to the leaks.[73]

Lamo replied several hours later. He said: "I'm a journalist and a minister. You can pick either, and treat this as a confession or an interview (never to be published) & enjoy a modicum of legal protection." They talked about restricted material in general, then Manning made his first explicit reference to the leaks: "This is what I do for friends." He linked to a section of the May 21, 2010, version of Wikipedia's article on WikiLeaks, which described the WikiLeaks release in March that year of a Department of Defense report on WikiLeaks itself. He added "the one below that is mine too"; the section below in the same article referred to the leak of the Baghdad airstrike ("Collateral Murder") video.[93] Manning said he felt isolated and fragile, and was reaching out to someone he hoped might understand.[73]

Manning said he had started to help WikiLeaks around Thanksgiving in November 2009—which fell on November 26 that year—after WikiLeaks had released the 9/11 pager messages; the messages were released on November 25. He told Lamo he had recognized that the messages came from an NSA database, and that seeing them had made him feel comfortable about stepping forward. Lamo asked what kind of material Manning was dealing with; Manning replied: "uhm ... crazy, almost criminal political backdealings ... the non-PR-versions of world events and crises ..." Although he said he dealt with Assange directly, Manning also said Assange had adopted a deliberate policy of knowing very little about him, telling Manning: "lie to me."[73]

Lamo again assured him that he was speaking in confidence. Manning wrote: "but im not a source for you ... im talking to you as someone who needs moral and emotional fucking support," and Lamo replied: "i told you, none of this is for print."[73]

Manning said the incident that had affected him the most was when 15 detainees had been arrested by the Iraqi Federal Police for printing anti-Iraqi literature. He was asked by the Army to find out who the "bad guys" were, and discovered that the detainees had followed what Manning said was a corruption trail within the Iraqi cabinet. He reported this to his commanding officer, but said "he didn't want to hear any of it"; he said the officer told him to help the Iraqi police find more detainees. Manning said it made him realize, "i was actively involved in something that i was completely against ..."[73]

He explained that "i cant separate myself from others ... i feel connected to everybody ... like they were distant family," and cited Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman and Elie Wiesel. He said he hoped the material would lead to "hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms. if not ... than [sic] we're doomed as a species." He said he had downloaded the material onto music CD-RWs, erased the music and replaced it with a compressed split file. Part of the reason no one noticed, he said, was that staff were working 14 hours a day, seven days a week, and "people stopped caring after 3 weeks."[73]

Lamo approaches authorities, chat logs published

Shortly after the first chat with Manning, Lamo discussed the information with Chet Uber of the volunteer group ProjectVIGILANT, which researches cybercrime, and with Timothy Webster, a friend who had worked in Army counterintelligence.[94] Both advised Lamo to go to the authorities. His friend reported the conversation to United States Army Counterintelligence, and Lamo was contacted by counterintelligence agents shortly thereafter.[95] He told them he believed Manning was endangering lives.[96] He was largely ostracized by the hacker community afterwards. Nicks argues, on the other hand, that it was thanks to Lamo that the government had months to ameliorate any harm caused by the release of the diplomatic cables.[97]

Lamo met with FBI and Army investigators on May 25 in California, and showed them the chat logs. On or around that date he also passed the story to Kevin Poulsen of Wired, and on May 27 gave him the chat logs and Manning's name under embargo. He met with the FBI again that day, at which point they told him Manning had been arrested in Iraq the day before. Poulsen and Kim Zetter broke the news of the arrest in Wired on June 6.[98] Wired published around 25 percent of the chat logs on June 6 and 10, and the full logs in July 2011, after the material about Manning's gender identity disorder had appeared elsewhere.[99]

Legal proceedings

Arrest and charges

Manning was arrested by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID),[100] on May 27, 2010, and transferred four days later to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.[101] He was charged with several offenses in July, replaced by 22 charges in March 2011, including violations of Articles 92 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and of the Espionage Act. The most serious charge was "aiding the enemy", a capital offense, although prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty.[102] Another charge, which Manning's defense called a "made up offense"[103] but of which he was found guilty, read that Manning "wantonly [caused] to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the US government, having knowledge that intelligence published on the internet is accessible to the enemy".[104]


While in Kuwait, Manning was placed on suicide watch after his behavior caused concern.[105] He was moved from Kuwait to the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on July 29, 2010, and classified as a maximum custody detainee with Prevention of Injury (POI) status. POI status is one stop short of suicide watch, entailing checks by guards every five minutes. His lawyer, David Coombs, a former military attorney, said Manning was not allowed to sleep between 5 am (7 am on weekends) and 8 pm, and was made to stand or sit up if he tried to. He was required to remain visible at all times, including at night, which entailed no access to sheets, no pillow except one built into his mattress, and a blanket designed not to be shredded.[106] Manning complained that he regarded it as pretrial punishment.[107]

His cell was 6 × 12 ft (1.8 x 3.6 m) with no window, containing a bed, toilet and sink. The jail had 30 cells built in a U shape, and although detainees could talk to one another, they were unable to see each other. His lawyer said the guards behaved professionally, and had not tried to harass or embarrass Manning. He was allowed to walk for up to one hour a day, meals were taken in the cell, and he was shackled during visits. There was access to television when it was placed in the corridor, and he was allowed to keep one magazine and one book.[106] Because he was in pretrial detention, he received full pay.[108]

On January 18, 2011, after Manning had an altercation with the guards, the commander of Quantico classified him as a suicide risk.[109] Manning said the guards had begun issuing conflicting commands, such as "turn left, don't turn left," and upbraiding him for responding to commands with "yes" instead of "aye". Shortly afterwards, he was placed on suicide watch, had his clothing and eyeglasses removed, and was required to remain in his cell 24 hours a day. The suicide watch was lifted on January 21 after a complaint from his lawyer, and the brig commander who ordered it was replaced.[110] On March 2 he was told that his request for removal of POI status—which entailed among other things sleeping wearing only boxer shorts—had been denied. His lawyer said Manning joked to the guards that, if he wanted to harm himself, he could do so with his underwear or his flip-flops. The comment resulted in Manning being ordered to strip naked in his cell that night and sleep without clothing. On the following morning only, Manning stood naked for inspection. Following his lawyer's protest and media attention, Manning was issued a sleeping garment on or before March 11.[111]

The detention conditions prompted national and international concern. Juan E. Mendez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, told The Guardian that the U.S. government's treatment of Manning was "cruel, inhuman and degrading".[112] In January 2011 Amnesty International asked the British government to intervene because of Manning's status as a British citizen by descent, although Manning's lawyer said Manning did not regard himself as a British citizen.[113] The controversy claimed a casualty in March that year when State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley criticized Manning's treatment and resigned two days later.[114] In early April, 295 academics (most of them American legal scholars) signed a letter arguing that the treatment was a violation of the U.S. Constitution.[115] On April 20 the Pentagon transferred Manning to the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility, a new medium-security facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was placed in an 80-square-foot cell with a window and a normal mattress, able to mix with other pretrial detainees and keep personal objects in his cell.[116]

Evidence presented at Article 32 hearing

In April 2011, a panel of experts, having completed a medical and mental evaluation of Manning, ruled that he was fit to stand trial.[117] An Article 32 hearing, presided over by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Almanza, was convened on December 16, 2011, at Fort Meade, Maryland; the hearing resulted in Almanza's recommending that Manning be referred to a general court-martial. He was arraigned on February 23, 2012, and declined to enter a plea.[118]

During the Article 32 hearing, the prosecution, led by Captain Ashden Fein, presented 300,000 pages of documents in evidence, including chat logs and classified material.[119] The court heard from two Army investigators, Special Agent David Shaver, head of the digital forensics and research branch of the Army's Computer Crime Investigative Unit (CCIU); and Mark Johnson, a digital forensics contractor from ManTech International, who works for the CCIU. They testified that they had found 100,000 State Department cables on a workplace computer Manning had used between November 2009 and May 2010; 400,000 military reports from Iraq and 91,000 from Afghanistan on an SD card found in his basement room in his aunt's home in Potomac, Maryland; and 10,000 cables on his personal MacBook Pro and storage devices that they said had not been passed to WikiLeaks because a file was corrupted. They also recovered 14 to 15 pages of encrypted chats, in unallocated space on Manning's MacBook hard drive, between Manning and someone believed to be Julian Assange. Two of the chat handles, which used the Berlin Chaos Computer Club's domain (, were associated with the names Julian Assange and Nathaniel Frank.[60]

Johnson said he found SSH logs on the MacBook that showed an SFTP connection, from an IP address that resolved to Manning's aunt's home, to a Swedish IP address with links to WikiLeaks.[60] Also found was a text file named "Readme", attached to the logs and apparently written by Manning to Assange, which called the Iraq and Afghan War logs "possibly one of the most significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare".[56] The investigators testified they had also recovered an exchange from May 2010 between Manning and Eric Schmiedl, a Boston mathematician, in which Manning said he was the source of the Baghdad helicopter attack ("Collateral Murder") video. Johnson said there had been two attempts to delete material from the MacBook. The operating system had been re-installed in January 2010, and on or around January 31, 2010, an attempt had been made to erase the hard drive by doing a "zero-fill", which involves overwriting material with zeroes. The material was recovered after the overwrite attempts from unallocated space.[60]

Manning's lawyers argued that the government had overstated the harm the release of the documents had caused, and had overcharged Manning to force him to give evidence against Assange. The defense also raised questions about whether Manning's confusion over his gender identity affected his behavior and decision making.[120]

Guilty plea, trial, sentence

United States v. Manning
Court United States Army Military District of Washington
Full case name United States of America v. Manning, Bradley E., PFC
Decided July 30, 2013
Case history
Prior action(s) Article 32 hearing, opened December 16, 2011
Formally charged, February 23, 2012
Article 39 (pretrial) hearing, opened April 24, 2012
Court membership
Judge sitting Colonel Denise Lind

The judge, Army Colonel Denise Lind, ruled in January 2013 that any sentence would be reduced by 112 days because of the treatment Manning received at Quantico.[121] On February 28, Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges.[15] Reading for over an hour from a 35-page statement, he said he had leaked the cables "to show the true cost of war". Prosecutors pursued a court-martial on the remaining charges.[122]

The trial began on June 3, 2013. Manning was convicted on July 30, on 17 of the 22 charges in their entirety, including five counts of espionage and theft, and an amended version of four other charges; he was acquitted of aiding the enemy. The sentencing phase began the next day.[1]

Captain Michael Worsley, a military psychologist who had treated Manning before his arrest, testified that Manning had been left isolated in the Army, trying to deal with gender-identity issues in a "hyper-masculine environment".[123] David Moulton, a Navy forensic psychiatrist who saw Manning after the arrest, said Manning had narcissistic traits, and showed signs of both fetal alcohol syndrome and Asperger syndrome. He said that, in leaking the material, Manning had been "acting out [a] grandiose ideation".[124]

A defense psychiatrist, testifying to Manning's motives, suggested a different agenda:

Well, Pfc Manning was under the impression that his leaked information was going to really change how the world views the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and future wars, actually. This was an attempt to crowdsource an analysis of the war, and it was his opinion that if ... through crowdsourcing, enough analysis was done on these documents, which he felt to be very important, that it would lead to a greater good ... that society as a whole would come to the conclusion that the war wasn't worth it ... that really no wars are worth it.[125]

On August 14, Manning apologized to the court: "I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I'm sorry that they hurt the United States. I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people. ... At the time of my decisions I was dealing with a lot of issues."[123]

Manning's offenses carried a maximum sentence of 90 years.[126] The government asked for 60 years as a deterrent to others, while Manning's lawyer asked for no more than 25 years. He was sentenced on August 21 to 35 years in prison, reduction in rank to private (private E-1 or PVT), forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge.[2] He was given credit for 1,293 days of pretrial confinement, including 112 days for his treatment at Quantico, and will be eligible for parole after serving one-third of the sentence.[2] There may also be additional credit for good behavior, which means he could be released after eight years.[126] Manning is confined at the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[16]

The sentence has been criticized as unjust and unfair[127] by The Guardian and excessive[128] by The New York Times.

On April 14, 2014, Manning's request for clemency was denied, as a result of which the case will go to the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals for further review.[129]

Requests for release

On September 3, 2013, Manning's lawyer applied for a presidential pardon for his client. Coombs filed a Petition for Pardon/Commutation of Sentence to President Obama through the pardon attorney at the Department of Justice and Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh.[130] In the petition, which was filed with the legal name "Bradley Manning" and used male-gender pronouns, Coombs contended that Manning's disclosures did not cause any "real damage", and that the documents in question did not merit protection as they were not sensitive. The request for a pardon included a supporting letter from Amnesty International which said that Manning's leaks had exposed violations of human rights. Coombs's letter touched on Manning's role as a whistleblower, asking that Manning be granted a full pardon or that his sentence be reduced to time served.[131]

In April 2015, Amnesty International posted online a letter from Manning in which he wrote, "I am now preparing for my court-martial appeal before the first appeals court. The appeal team, with my attorneys Nancy Hollander and Vince Ward, are hoping to file our brief before the court in the next six months. We have already had success in getting the court to respect my gender identity by using feminine pronouns in the court filings (she, her, etc.)."[132]

In November 2016, Manning made a formal petition to President Obama to reduce his 35-year sentence to the six years of time he has served.[133] On December 10, 2016, a White House petition to commute his sentence reached the minimum 100,000 signatures required for an official response.[134] Lawyers familiar with clemency applications stated in December 2016 that the pardon was unlikely to happen; the request did not fit into the usual criteria.[135]


In January 2017, a Justice Department source said that Manning was on President Obama's short list for a possible commutation.[136] On January 17, 2017, President Obama commuted all but the last four months of Manning's remaining sentence; he is scheduled to be freed on May 17, 2017.[19]

Reaction to disclosures

The publication of the leaked material, particularly the diplomatic cables, attracted in-depth coverage worldwide, with several governments blocking websites that contained embarrassing details. Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, said: "I can't think of a time when there was ever a story generated by a news organisation where the White House, the Kremlin, Chávez, India, China, everyone in the world was talking about these things. ... I've never known a story that created such mayhem that wasn't an event like a war or a terrorist attack."[137]

Billboard erected in Washington, D.C., by the Private Manning Support Network

United States Navy Admiral Michael Mullen, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the leaks had placed the lives of American soldiers and Afghan informants in danger.[138] Journalist Glenn Greenwald argued that Manning was the most important whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971.[139] In an impromptu questioning session after a fundraiser, captured on a cell phone video, President Barack Obama said that Manning "broke the law", which was later criticized as "unlawful command influence" on Manning's upcoming trial.[140]

Manning and WikiLeaks were credited as catalysts for the Arab Spring that began in December 2010, when waves of protesters rose up against rulers across the Middle East and North Africa, after the leaked cables exposed government corruption.[141] In Tunisia, where the uprisings began on December 17, 2010, one of the leaked cables—published around 10 days earlier—showed that the President's daughter and her husband had their ice cream flown in from Saint-Tropez.[142]

A Washington Post editorial asked why an apparently unstable Army private had been able to access and transfer sensitive material in the first place.[143] According to a biographer, Manning's sexuality came into play by illustrating for the far right that gay people were unfit for military service, while the American mainstream thought of Manning as a gay soldier driven mad by bullying.[144]

Non-military tributes

In 2011, Manning was awarded a "Whistleblowerpreis" by the German Section of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms and the Federation of German Scientists.[145] In 2012, he was awarded "People's Choice Award" by Global Exchange.[146] In 2013, he was awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize by the International Peace Bureau.[147] In 2014, he was awarded the Sam Adams Award by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.[148]

Icelandic and Swedish Pirate Party MPs nominated Manning and fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. They claimed that Manning and Snowden "have inspired change and encouraged public debate and policy changes that contributed to a more stable and peaceful world".[149] In 2013, Roots Action launched a petition nominating Manning for the prize that received more than 100,000 supporting signatures.[150]

In April 2015 a bronze statute of Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange was erected in Berlin's Alexanderplatz. Germany's Green Party sponsored the statue created by Italian sculptor David Dormino.[151]

Gender transition

How Chelsea Manning sees herself. By Alicia Neal, in cooperation with Bradley himself, commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support Network, April 23, 2014.[152]


In an article written by Manning, he says his first public appearance as female was in February 2010 while on leave from his military duties; Manning was exhilarated to blend in as a woman.[153]


On August 22, 2013, the day after sentencing, Manning's attorney issued a press release to the Today show announcing that his client was a female, and asked that he be referred to by the new name of Chelsea and feminine pronouns. Manning's statement included the following:

As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.[154]

The news media split in its reaction to Manning's request; some organizations used the new name and pronouns, and others continued to use the former ones.[155][156] Advocacy groups such as GLAAD, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) encouraged media outlets to refer to Manning by his self-identified name and pronoun.[157][158][159]


In April 2014, the Kansas District Court considered a petition from Manning for a legal name change. The petition was granted that month.[160] An Army spokesman stated that while the Army will update personnel records to acknowledge the name change, the military will continue to regard Manning as a male.[4] Manning is seeking hormone therapy and the right to live as a woman while confined, consistent with his gender dysphoria, which has been confirmed by two Army medical specialists. Such treatment is provided in civilian federal prisons when it is found to be medically necessary, but it is not available in military prisons. The Pentagon policy considers transgender individuals ineligible to serve.[161][162]

In July, the Federal Bureau of Prisons rejected a request by the Army to transfer Manning from the USDB to a civilian facility for treatment of his gender dysphoria. Instead, the Army will keep Manning in military custody and begin rudimentary gender treatment, which could include allowing him to wear female undergarments and possibly receive hormone treatments. No decision was announced regarding whether or not Manning will be transferred from the all-male USDB to a female facility.[163]

On August 12, 2014, the ACLU and Manning's civilian attorney David Coombs said Manning was not receiving treatment for his gender identity condition as previously approved by Secretary of Defense Hagel. They notified the USDB, Hagel and other Defense Department officials that a lawsuit would be filed if they did not confirm by September 4 that treatment would be provided.[164] On August 22, Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Alayne Conway told NBC News, "The Department of Defense has approved a request by Army leadership to provide required medical treatment for an inmate diagnosed with gender dysphoria." Although Conway would not discuss "the medical needs of an individual", she did say, "In general terms, the initial stages of treatment for individuals with gender dysphoria include psychotherapy and elements of the 'real life experience' therapy. Treatment for the condition is highly individualized and generally is sequential and graduated." The Army declined to say when treatment might begin.[165]

In September, Manning filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Washington, D.C., against Secretary of Defense Hagel, claiming he had "been denied access to medically necessary treatment" for gender disorder. He sued to be allowed to grow his hair longer and use cosmetics, and to receive hormone treatments "to express her female gender".[166]


On February 12, 2015, USA Today reported that the commandant of the USDB wrote in a February 5 memo, "After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning's treatment plan." According to USA Today, Manning remained a soldier, and the decision to administer hormone therapy was a first for the Army.[167] Manning was not allowed to grow his hair longer. His ACLU attorney said that the delay in approving his hormone treatment "came with a significant cost to Chelsea and her mental health".[168]

On March 5, in response to Manning's request for an order compelling the military to use pronouns that conform to his chosen gender identity, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals ruled, "Reference to appellant in all future formal papers filed before this court and all future orders and decisions issued by this court shall either be neutral, e.g., Private First Class Manning or appellant, or employ a feminine pronoun."[169]

On March 14, the digital library host Cryptome posted an unsigned public copy of a court document, filed March 10, wherein the parties to Manning's September 2014 lawsuit against Secretary of Defense Hagel agreed to stay proceedings for seven months, after which time they would address how the litigation should proceed in light of Manning's status at that time. The document revealed that the Army was then providing Manning with weekly psychotherapy, including psychotherapy specific to gender dysphoria; cross-sex hormone therapy; female undergarments; the ability to wear prescribed cosmetics in his daily life at the USDB; and speech therapy.[170]

In April 2015, Amnesty International posted online a letter from Manning in which he disclosed,

I finally began my prescribed regime of hormones to continue my overdue gender transition in February. It's been such an amazing relief for my body and brain to finally come into alignment with each other. My stress and anxiety levels have tapered off quite considerably. Overall, things are beginning to move along nicely.[132]


On September 13, 2016, the ACLU announced that the army will be granting Manning's request for gender transition surgery, a first for a transgender inmate.[171]

In December 2016, Manning's attorneys reported that his military doctor, Ellen Galloway, refused Manning's request to change the gender on his military records to female.[172]

Prison life

In March 2015, Bloomberg News reported that Manning can be visited only by those he had named before his imprisonment, and not by journalists. He cannot be photographed or give interviews on camera. Manning is not allowed to browse the web, but consults print news and has access to new gender theory texts.[173]

In April 2015, Amnesty International posted online a letter from Manning in which he described his daily life. "My days here are busy and very routine," Manning wrote. "I am taking college correspondence courses for a bachelor's degree. I also work out a lot to stay fit, and read newspapers, magazines and books to keep up-to-date on current events around the world and learn new things."[132]

Also that month, Cosmopolitan published the first interview with Manning in prison, conducted by mail. Cosmo reported that Manning is optimistic about recent progress but says not being allowed to grow his hair long is "painful and awkward … I am torn up. I get through each day okay, but at night, when I'm alone in my room, I finally burn out and crash." Manning said it was "very much a relief" to announce that he is a woman, and did not fear the public response. "Honestly, I'm not terribly worried about what people out there might think of me. I just try to be myself." According to Cosmo, Manning has his own cell with "two tall vertical windows that face the sun", and can see "trees and hills and blue sky and all the things beyond the buildings and razor wire". Manning denies being harassed by other inmates, and claims some have become confidantes.[174]


In February 2015, Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of Guardian US, announced that Manning had joined The Guardian as a contributing opinion writer on war, gender, and freedom of information.[175] Viner added that Manning would not be paid in this capacity.[176] In 2014, The Guardian had published two op-eds by Manning: "How to make Isis fall on its own sword" (September 16)[177] and "I am a transgender woman and the government is denying my civil rights" (December 8).[178] Manning's debut under the new arrangement, "The CIA's torturers and the leaders who approved their actions must face the law," appeared on March 9, 2015.[179]

In April 2015, Manning began communicating via Twitter, under the handle @xychelsea, by using a voice phone to dictate to intermediaries, who then tweet on his behalf.[180]

Suicide attempts

On July 5, 2016, Manning was taken to a hospital after what media sources characterized as a suicide attempt.[181] The following week, Manning confirmed through an attorney statement that he attempted to end his own life.[182][183] On July 28, 2016, the ACLU announced that Manning was under investigation and facing several possible charges related to his suicide attempt.[184] He was not allowed to have legal representation at the disciplinary hearing for these charges.[185] At the hearing, held on September 22, he was sentenced to 14 days in solitary confinement, with seven of those days suspended indefinitely.[186] Manning emerged from solitary confinement on October 12, after serving seven days; he said that he was not given the opportunity to appeal the ruling before being placed in solitary.[187]

In an article following his recovery, entitled "Moving On", Bradley reflected on his change in identity, wishing people to see him no longer as "Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, a US Army Soldier... convicted..." but as a person. He used a selfie from 2008 to accompany the article.[188]

In November 2016, Manning disclosed that he made a second suicide attempt on October 4, 2016, on the first night of his solitary confinement.[189]

Hunger strike

On September 9, 2016, Manning began a hunger strike in protest of what he described as bullying from prison authorities and the U.S. government.[190] On September 13, the ACLU announced that Manning had ended the five-day hunger strike after the Army agreed to provide gender transition surgery.[171]

Life after prison

Manning was released from prison at 2:00 AM on May 17, 2017, and is scheduled to be dishonorably discharged from the Army when his appeal runs out.[191] Members of the armed forces who are discharged in this way are not eligible for veterans health benefits. Hence, Manning's ongoing gender transition treatments will not be provided or funded by federal agencies like the Veterans Health Administration, but by private funds or insurance.

See also

Material associated with Manning



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Tate, Julie and Londoño, Ernesto. "Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy, convicted on other charges", The Washington Post, July 30, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Tate, Julie. "Judge sentences Bradley Manning to 35 years", The Washington Post, August 21, 2013.
  3. Lewis, Paul. "Bradley Manning given 35-year prison term for passing files to WikiLeaks", The Guardian, August 21, 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Londoño, Ernesto. "Convicted leaker Bradley Manning changes legal name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 27, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Manning, Bradley E (May 27, 2015). "The years since I was jailed for releasing the 'war diaries' have been a rollercoaster". The Guardian. Retrieved May 28, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture". Time.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Manning, Bradley E. "The Next Stage of My Life", press release, August 22, 2013: "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. ... I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). ... Thank you, Chelsea E. Manning"
  8. Clark, Meredith (August 22, 2013). "'I am Chelsea Manning'". Retrieved October 28, 2013. Dr. David Moulton, the forensic psychologist assigned to review Manning's case, said that Manning was suffering from gender identity disorder, a diagnosis supported by a military sanity board.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Secret US Embassy Cables". WikiLeaks. November 28, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Iraq War logs". WikiLeaks. October 22, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Afghan War diary". WikiLeaks. July 25, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Leigh and Harding 2011, pp. 194ff, 211.
  13. Nicks, September 23, 2010.
  14. For the letter from the legal scholars, see Ackerman, Bruce and Benkler, Yochai. "Private Manning's Humiliation", The New York Review of Books. Retrieved April 5, 2011 (see a later correction here [1]).
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Judge accepts Manning's guilty pleas in WikiLeaks case", CBS News, February 28, 2013.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Hanna, John. "Manning to Serve Sentence at Famous Leavenworth", Associated Press, August 21, 2013.
  17. For the comparisons, see Nicks 2012, p. 3, and for the Arab Spring, pp. 212–216.
  18. "Lengthy prison term for Bradley Manning", Reporters Without Borders, August 21, 2013.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Savage, Charlie (January 17, 2017). "Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning's Sentence". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Chelsea Manning freed from prison decades early". BBC News. Retrieved 17 May 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. [2]
  22. Fishman, July 3, 2011, pp. 2–3.
  23. Tate, Julie. "Manning apologizes, says he 'hurt the United States'", The Washington Post, August 14, 2013.
  24. For the diet, height and being small for his age, see Lewis, Paul. "Bradley Manning trial revealed a lonely soldier with a troubled past", The Guardian, August 21, 2013.
  25. For his mother not adjusting, Manning fending for himself, and the neighbor, see Thompson, August 8, 2010, p. 1.
  26. Nicks, September 23, 2010.
  27. For the interview with the father, see Smith, March 2011, from 02:25 mins (transcript).
  28. Nicks 2012, pp. 19–20.
  29. Lewis, Paul. "Bradley Manning trial revealed a lonely soldier with a troubled past", The Guardian, August 21, 2013.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Nakashima, May 4, 2011.
  31. 31.0 31.1 For the views of his school friend (James Kirkpatrick), see Caesar, December 19, 2010.
  32. For being the only American in the school and being imitated, see Leigh and Harding 2011, p. 24.
  33. On his way through London to renew his passport, Manning arrived at the King's Cross underground station on the day of the 7 July 2005 London bombings, and said he heard the sirens and the screaming. See Hansen, July 13, 2011, and Nicks 2012, pp. 23–24.
  34. Fishman, July 3, 2011, p. 3.
  35. Nicks 2012, pp. 24–25, 51–56.
    • Also see:
    *Fishman, July 3, 2011, p. 3.
    *Nakashima, May 4, 2011.
    *For the jobs, see "Bradley Manning's Facebook Page", PBS Frontline, March 2011.
  36. Nicks 2012, p. 57.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Reeve, Elspeth. "A Portrait of the Mind of Bradley Manning", The Atlantic Wire, August 14, 2013.
  38. Manning, January 29, 2013, p. 2.
  39. For concerns about his stability, see Nakashima, May 4, 2011.
  40. For restarting basic training in January 2008, see Nicks 2012, p. 73.
  41. "Bradley Manning", The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  42. Nicks 2012, p. 82.
  43. Leigh and Harding 2011, pp. 27–28; Nicks 2012, p. 83.
  44. For his introduction to the hacker community, see Leigh and Harding 2011, pp. 27–28.
  45. For the introduction to lobbyists and others, see Nicks 2012, p. 85.
    • For the emotional problems and referral to a counselor, see Fishman, July 3, 2011, p. 1, and Nicks 2012, p. 114.
  46. For the films, see Nicks 2012, p. 88.
  47. For his time in Fort Polk, and for "risk to himself and possibly others", see Nicks 2012, pp. 114–115; for Forward Operating Base Hammer, see pp. 123–124.
  48. "Bradley Manning's Facebook Page", PBS Frontline, March 2011.
  49. Fishman, July 3, 2011, p. 5.
  50. For the fairy wand, see Thompson, August 8, 2010, p. 2.
  51. Fishman, July 3, 2011, p. 4.
  52. Nicks 2012, pp. 133–134.
  53. "Bradley Manning's Facebook Page", PBS Frontline, March 2011, and Blake, Heidi; Bingham, John; and Rayner, Gordon. "Bradley Manning, suspected source of WikiLeaks documents, raged on his Facebook page", The Daily Telegraph, July 30, 2010.
  54. Chelsea Manning: ‘Why speaking out is worth the risk’
  55. Hansen, July 13, 2011.
  56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 Nicks 2012, pp. 137–138; also see Zetter, December 19, 2011.
  57. Shanker, Tom (July 8, 2010). "Loophole May Have Aided Theft of Classified Data". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  58. 58.0 58.1 Manning, January 29, 2013, p. 13.
  59. Manning, January 29, 2013, p. 16.
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 60.4 60.5 For the army investigators' testimony, see Zetter, December 19, 2011.
  61. Nicks 2012, pp. 131–135, 137–138.
  62. Poulsen and Zetter, June 6, 2010.
  63. Manning, January 29, 2013, pp. 15–16.
  64. 64.0 64.1 Myers, Steven Lee. "Charges for Soldier Accused of Leak", The New York Times, July 6, 2010.
  65. Manning, January 29, 2013, p. 18.
  66. Hansen, July 13, 2011.
  67. 67.0 67.1 Manning, January 29, 2013, p. 33.
    • But note: WikiLeaks tweeted on January 8, 2010, that they had obtained "encrypted videos of US bomb strikes on civilians", and linked to a story about the airstrike; see "Have encrypted videos ...", Twitter, January 8, 2010 (archived from the original, May 8, 2012). The tweet said: "Have encrypted videos of US bomb strikes on civilians we need super computer time"
    • For Domscheit-Berg destroying the video, see Dorling, Philip. "WikiLeaks has more US secrets, Assange says", The Age, March 5, 2013.
  68. Manning, January 29, 2013, p. 31.
  69. 69.0 69.1 Manning, January 29, 2013, p. 23.
  70. 70.0 70.1 Nicks 2012, pp. 162–163.
  71. Lewis, Paul. "Bradley Manning supervisor 'ignored photo of soldier dressed as woman'", The Guardian, August 13, 2013.
  72. Radia, Kirit and Martinez, Luis. "Bradley Manning Defense Reveals Alter Ego Named 'Breanna Manning'", ABC News, December 17, 2011.
  73. 73.00 73.01 73.02 73.03 73.04 73.05 73.06 73.07 73.08 73.09 73.10 Hansen, July 13, 2011; also see Nicks 2012, pp. 171–184.
  74. Nicks 2012, p. 164, and "Bradley Manning's Facebook Page", PBS Frontline, March 2011.
  75. For the storage cupboard, the psychiatrist, and the recommended discharge, see Nakashima, May 4, 2011.
  76. Dishneau, David and Jelinek, Pauline. "Witness: Manning said leak would lift 'fog of war'", Associated Press, December 19, 2011.
    • Also see Nicks 2012, p. 164.
  77. 77.0 77.1 Leigh and Harding 2011, pp. 52–56.
  78. For WikiLeaks security, see Domscheit-Berg 2011, p. 165.
  79. Nicks 2012, p. 155.
  80. For the publishing sequence, see Leigh and Harding 2011, p. 70.
    • For the leak of the Defense Dept report on WikiLeaks, see Kravets, David. "Secret Document Calls Wikileaks ‘Threat’ to U.S. Army", Wired, March 15, 2010.
    • For the Defense Dept report itself, see Assange, Julian. "U.S. intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks", WikiLeaks release on March 15, 2010, of Horvath, Michael D. " – An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?", United States Army Counterintelligence Center, Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Program, March 18, 2008.
  81. "Unedited version". Retrieved June 2, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  82. "edited version". Retrieved June 2, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  83. Also see Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy, The New York Times, 2011.
  84. 84.0 84.1 Nicks 2012, pp. 157–161.
  85. For Nicks's analysis, see Nicks 2012, pp. 191–193; for the number of documents in the Afghan and Iraq War logs and Cablegate, and for the publication dates, see pp. 204, 206.
    • Note: there were 91,731 documents in all in the Afghan War logs; around 77,000 had been published as of May 2012.
  86. Leigh and Harding, 2011, p. 70 for the publishing sequence; pp. 194ff for the material WikiLeaks published.
  87. For the Ethiopian journalist and the relocation of sources, see Nicks 2012, p. 208.
  88. Leigh, David. "Guantánamo leaks lift lid on world's most controversial prison", The Guardian, April 25, 2011; and Nicks 2012, p. 153.
  89. 89.0 89.1 For Poulsen's relationship with Lamo, see Last, January 11, 2011.
  90. For Poulsen's article about Lamo, see Poulsen, May 20, 2010.
  91. Hulme, George V. "With Friends Like This", InformationWeek, July 8, 2002.
  92. Greenwald, June 18, 2010.
    • Greenwald, Glenn. Email exchange between Glenn Greenwald and Kevin Poulsen, June 14–17, 2010.
    • Greenwald wrote: "Lamo told me that Manning first emailed him on May 20 and, according to highly edited chat logs released by Wired, had his first online chat with Manning on May 21; in other words, Manning first contacted Lamo the very day that Poulsen's Wired article on Lamo's involuntary commitment appeared (the Wired article is time-stamped 5:46 p.m. on May 20).

      "Lamo, however, told me that Manning found him not from the Wired article—which Manning never mentioned reading—but from searching the word 'WikiLeaks' on Twitter, which led him to a tweet Lamo had written that included the word 'WikiLeaks.' Even if Manning had really found Lamo through a Twitter search for 'WikiLeaks,' Lamo could not explain why Manning focused on him, rather than the thousands of other people who have also mentioned the word 'WikiLeaks' on Twitter, including countless people who have done so by expressing support for WikiLeaks."

  93. Hansen, July 13, 2011.
  94. Nicks 2012, p. 179.
  95. Dishneau, David. "Ex-agent says he alerted DoD in WikiLeaks case", Associated Press, August 4, 2010.
  96. Caesar, December 19, 2010.
  97. Nicks 2012, p. 232.
  98. For the first Wired story, see Poulsen and Zetter, June 6, 2010.
  99. Hansen and Poulsen, December 28, 2010.
  100. Poulsen and Zetter, June 6, 2010.
  101. Poulsen and Zetter, June 16, 2010.
  102. Nicks 2012, p. 247.
  103. "see p5". Retrieved June 2, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  105. Pilkington, Ed. "Bradley Manning: how keeping himself sane was taken as proof of madness", The Guardian, November 30, 2012.
  106. 106.0 106.1 For a description of the jail, see Nakashima, Ellen. "In brig, WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning ordered to sleep without clothing", The Washington Post, March 5, 2011.
  107. Manning, March 10, 2011, p. 7.
  108. Marshall, Serena. "Court-Martial for Bradley Manning in Wikileaks Case?", ABC News, December 22, 2011, p. 2.
  109. Court, Army (January 21, 2011). "Manning's lawyer David Coombs suicide watch timeline". Retrieved June 2, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  110. Nicks 2012, pp. 240–242.
  111. Manning, March 10, 2011, p. 9ff.
  112. Pilkington, Ed. "Bradley Manning's treatment was cruel and inhuman, UN torture chief rules", The Guardian, March 12, 2012.
  113. Pilkington, Ed; Chris McGreal & Steven Morris. "Bradley Manning is UK citizen and needs protection, government told", The Guardian, February 1, 2011.
    • For Manning's view of his nationality, see Coombs, David E. "Clarification Regarding PFC Manning's Citizenship", Law Offices of David E. Coombs, February 2, 2011: "There has been some discussion regarding PFC Bradley Manning's citizenship. PFC Manning does not hold a British passport, nor does he consider himself a British citizen. He is an American, and is proud to be serving in the United States Army. His current confinement conditions are troubling to many both here in the United States and abroad. This concern, however, is not a citizenship issue."
  114. Nakashima, Ellen. "WikiLeaks suspect's treatment 'stupid,' U.S. official says", The Washington Post, March 12, 2011.
  115. They argued that it was a violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against punishment without trial. See Ackerman, Bruce and Benkler, Yochai. "Private Manning's Humiliation", The New York Review of Books. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  116. Pilkington, Ed. "Bradley Manning's jail conditions improve dramatically after protest campaign", The Guardian, May 4, 2011.
  117. "Panel Says WikiLeaks Suspect Is Competent to Stand Trial", Associated Press, April 29, 2011.
  118. Rizzo, Jennifer "Bradley Manning charged", CNN, February 23, 2012.
  119. Rath, Arun. "What Happened At Bradley Manning's Hearing This Week?", PBS Frontline, December 22, 2011.
  120. For the government overcharging Manning, see Zetter, Kim. "Army Piles on Evidence in Final Arguments in WikiLeaks Hearing", Wired, December 22, 2011.
  121. Tate, Julie and Nakashima, Ellen. "Judge refuses to dismiss charges against WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning", The Washington Post, January 8, 2013.
  122. O'Brien, Alexa. "Bradley Manning's full statement", Salon, March 1, 2013.
  123. 123.0 123.1 Kube, Courtney; DeLuca, Matthew; McClam, Erin. "I'm sorry that I hurt the United States': Bradley Manning apologizes in court", NBC News, August 14, 2013.
  124. Hartmann, Margaret. "Ahead of His Sentencing, Bradley Manning Says, 'I'm Sorry I Hurt the United States'", The New York Times magazine, August 15, 2013.
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  126. 126.0 126.1 Sledge, Matt. "Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years In Prison For WikiLeaks Disclosures ", The Huffington Post, August 21, 2013.
  127. In its editorial Bradley Manning: a sentence both unjust and unfair (August 21, 2013), The Guardian compares the hard sentence for Manning with the softer sentences for (real) spies and war criminals.
  128. Bradley Manning’s Excessive Sentence (Editorial, The New York Times, August 21, 2013)
  129. Cavaliere, Victoria "Army General upholds Manning's prison sentence in WikiLeaks case", Reuters, April 18, 2014.
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  138. Jaffe, Greg and Partlow, Joshua. "Mullen says leak put troops and Afghans in danger; WikiLeaks documents include names of informants helping U.S.", The Washington Post, July 30, 2010.
  139. Fishman, July 3, 2011, p. 8.
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  141. Horne, Nigel. "Tunisia: WikiLeaks had a part in Ben Ali's downfall", The Week, January 15, 2011.
  142. For the ice cream from Saint-Tropez, see Brooke 2011, p. 225.
  143. "The right response to WikiLeaks", The Washington Post, editorial, November 30, 2010.
  144. Nicks 2012, p. 196: "To the far right he [Manning] was clear evidence that gays were unfit for military service. And in the American mainstream, the leaks were explained away as the actions of a disaffected homosexual who had come to hate the army after being bullied into madness."
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Cite error: <ref> tag with name "Cbc2017-01-17" defined in <references> is not used in prior text.



  • Brooke, Heather. The Revolution Will Be Digitised. William Heinemann, 2011.
  • Domscheit-Berg, Daniel. Inside WikiLeaks. Doubleday, 2011.
  • Fowler, Andrew. The Most Dangerous Man in the World. Skyhorse Publishing, 2011.
  • Leigh, David and Harding, Luke. WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy. Guardian Books, 2011.
  • Nicks, Denver. Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History. Chicago Review Press, 2012.

Key articles

Key articles on the Lamo–Manning chat log, in order of publication

Further reading




External links