Thanks to former President Barack Obama, the culprit behind one of the largest leaks of classified information in American history is now free. Chelsea Manning, previously an army private named Bradley, had her 35-year sentence commuted by the outgoing commander in chief just before he left office.
According to a statement by spokeswoman Cynthia Smith, who could not offer any further details, Manning “has been released from the United States Disciplinary Barracks” located in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Manning took to Twitter on Monday to celebrate her impending release: “Two more days until the freedom of civilian life. Now hunting for private #healthcare like millions of Americans.”
Arrested in 2010 and convicted in 2013 for leaking more than 700,000 top-secret military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks, Manning used the access she gained to sensitive material as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in a way that authorities found endangered U.S. safety interests.
While she dodged the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, Manning was slapped with 20 counts, among which were six Espionage Act violations.
During her time behind bars, Manning frequently made headlines for twice attempting suicide. Her first attempt in July 2016 prompted prison officials to place her in solitary confinement, a move that her legal team blamed for the second attempt in November.
In 2014, the ACLU sued the Department of Defense for refusing to provide sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy to Manning, who pleaded with officials to allow her to transition to a woman. The battle culminated with Manning carrying out a multiple-day hunger strike last September that successfully compelled the Army to acquiesce to her demands, providing surgery as recommended by her psychologist.