Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier who served seven years in prison for leaking classified data, tearfully thanked former President Barack Obama for granting her clemency.
In excerpts of an interview aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday, Manning said she had not spoken to Obama since he commuted her sentence five months ago, but that if she could, she would tell him how grateful she was.
“I was given a chance, that’s all I wanted,” Manning told ABC’s “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang, her voice choked with emotion. “That’s all I asked for was a chance, that’s it.”
Manning, 29, was released in May from a U.S. military prison in Kansas where she had been serving time for passing secrets to the WikiLeaks website in the biggest breach of classified data in the history of the United States.
She had been working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. She was convicted by court-martial in 2013 of espionage and other offenses for furnishing more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, an international organization that publishes information from anonymous sources.
Manning came out as transgendered shortly after her sentencing, but the military denied her request for hormone therapy treatment while behind bars. She was placed in solitary confinement after attempting suicide twice.
Manning continued to fight for the treatment, and the authorities ultimately relented. In her ABC interview, she said the hormone therapy was essential.
“It’s literally what keeps me alive. It keeps me from feeling like I’m in the wrong body,” Manning said. “I used to get these horrible feelings like I just wanted to rip my body apart.”
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bernadette Baum)
WATCH: Climate activists chant ‘failure of leadership’ at Tom Perez after DNC votes against climate debate
Activists walked out of the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco after the organization voted against allowing a climate change debate during the 2020 primary.
DNC Chair Tom Perez imposed strict rules on the debates, which prevented a climate change debate from occurring. Climate activists had forced a vote, hoping to overrule the party boss.
"The Democratic Party needs the energy, motivation, and organizing capacity of young people to defeat Trump in 2020. But Tom Perez keeps shooting the party in the foot by rejecting that energy and turning it away," the Sunrise Movement said in a statement.
DNC votes against allowing a climate change debate amongst the 2020 hopefuls
Trump’s threat to ‘hereby’ force manufacturers to do his bidding stomped by legal analyst
President Donald Trump is claiming extraordinary powers in his escalating trade war with China.
On Friday, Trump demanded that American companies look for alternatives to China.
"Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies home and making your products in the USA," Trump tweeted.
Of course, the president has no power to order such a thing.
Trump then announced massive tariffs on China, citing the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977.