Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army whistleblower currently serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth for divulging government documents to WikiLeaks, has joined the Twittersphere.
By 2 p.m. eastern time Friday, Manning had already attained a following of nearly 9,000 Twitter users on her @xychelsea account. The transgender rights and anti-secrecy activist plans to tweet indirectly by dictating her messages over the phone.
“It is her. She’s obviously not tweeting directly, but it is her,” Nancy Hollander, one of Manning's appellate lawyers, said Friday, per The Hill.
While Manning is currently staring down the prospect of more than three decades behind bars, she showed a playful side in her first tweets, in which she joked about the difficulty of tweeting from Fort Leavenworth:
Manning's decision to join the social media site marks her latest foray into a more public role. In February, she joined The Guardian as a contributing writer on "war, gender, and freedom of information." Since joining the publication, Manning has penned a column calling for CIA torturers to be held legally accountable for the U.S.'s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program.
Prior to taking on her new role at the paper, Manning wrote another piece in which she said that the government was violating her fundamental civil rights by denying her necessary hormone therapy as part of her gender transition. Two months ago, however, the Army approved Manning's hormone treatment.