Chelsea Manning tells ABC News why she leaked secret military documents, fought for transgender rights behind barsEntertainment News, Online Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Friday, June 9th, 2017
This morning on “Good Morning America,” ABC News “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang presented the first look of her exclusive TV interview with Chelsea Manning. Chelsea opened up about why she leaked secret military documents, fought for transgender rights behind bars.
Manning’s incarceration was longer than any whistleblower in U.S. history. After releasing approximately 750,000 classified and sensitive military records to WikiLeaks in 2010, she served seven years of her commuted 35-year sentence which included time in solitary confinement as a disciplinary measure for attempting suicide. She sought and received treatment for gender dysphoria and was on hormones for two years while behind bars in a men’s prison.
In referring to the military documents she was reviewing and what compelled her to risk her career and break the law by leaking them, Manning told Chang, “We’re getting all this information from all these different sources and it’s just death, destruction, mayhem.”
“We’re filtering it all through facts, statistics, reports, dates, times, locations, and eventually, you just stop,” she continued. “I stopped seeing just statistics and information, and I started seeing people.”
Manning said she leaked the documents because she wanted to spark public debate. She said she didn’t think leaking them would threaten national security.
“I work with this information every day,” Manning said. “I’m the subject matter expert for this stuff. You know, we’re the ones who work with it the most. We’re the most familiar with it. It’s not, you know, it’s not a general who writes this stuff.”
When asked why she, a low-level analyst, didn’t raise her concerns up through the chain of command, Manning said, “the channels are there, but they don’t work.”
The full interview will air early next week on a special edition of “Nightline,” “Declassified: The Chelsea Manning Story.” Portions will air on “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight with David Muir,” ABC News Radio, ABC NewsOne, the ABC News apps, streaming platforms and ABCNews.com.
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