Chelsea Manning says she has ‘accepted responsibility’ for WikiLeaks documents
Chelsea Manning says she has “accepted responsibility” for her part in WikiLeaks.
The former military specialist leaked more than 700,000 classified documents via WikiLeaks, for which she spent seven years behind bars.
Manning was just 22 when she shared the US diplomatic correspondence, which included evidence of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, profiles of detainees at Guantanamo prison camp, and low-level battlefield reports.
“I’ve accepted responsibility for my own decisions and my own actions,” she said.
Manning says she wanted to go through traditional media routes, but it was not doable.
“I think it’s important to remember that when somebody sees government wrongdoing – whether it’s illegal or immoral or unethical – there isn’t the means available to do something about it.
“Everyone keeps saying, ‘You should have gone through the proper channels!
“But the proper channels don’t work.”
Manning says she technically tried to get the information out through the mainstream press – but opted to go through WikiLeaks after getting nervous about her short window of opportunity to release the information.
In early 2010 when she attempted to reach out to The Washington Post and The New York Times.
“I did this all on leave. I had only twelve days,” she said of that period, adding, “I ran out of time.”
The 29-year-old told ABC after being released: “I have a responsibility to the public … we all have a responsibility.
“Anything I’ve done, it’s me. There’s no one else. No one told me to do this.
“Nobody directed me to do this. This is me. It’s on me.”
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Obama’s decision to commute Manning’s sentence – one of the last of his presidency – was credited by many commentators to years of campaigning from advocacy groups.
The decision was criticised by then President Elect Donald Trump, who called Manning an “ungrateful traitor”.
Veteran photographer Annie Leibovitz has photographed Manning for the new issue of Vogue.
“Guess this is what freedom looks like,” she captioned the image on Instagram.