Chelsea Manning explains why she leaked classified documents

In her first interview since leaving jail, Chelsea Manning revealed what made her decide to reveal classified info

By Matthew Rozsa

Published June 9, 2017 11:37AM (EDT)

Chelsea Manning (WikiMedia)
Chelsea Manning (WikiMedia)

Chelsea Manning is speaking out for the first time since being freed from the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

During an interview with Juju Chang of "Nightline" on "ABC News," Manning explained why she decided to leak over 700,000 military documents to Wikileaks.

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"We're getting all this information from all these different sources and it's just death, destruction, mayhem," Manning told Chang.

As she explained, "We're filtering it all through facts, statistics, reports, dates, times, locations, and eventually, you just stop. I stopped seeing just statistics and information, and I started seeing people."

Manning said she was hoping her actions would inspire public debate: "I work with this information every day. 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."

She also said that working through the chain of command wasn't an option because "the channels are there, but they don't work."

Manning said she accepts full responsibility for her actions, a fact that contributed to President Barack Obama's decision to commute her sentence.

"Anything I've done, it's me. There's no one else," Manning said. "No one told me to do this. Nobody directed me to do this. This is me. It's on me."

She also said that she would thank Obama if she had an opportunity to speak to him, saying that "I've been given a chance. That's all I asked for was a chance. That's it, and now this is my chance."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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