Thu, May 18, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Chelsea Manning expected to leave prison in Kansas

KEEPING MUM:Manning’s support network has said she intends to settle in Maryland, but it has kept quiet about where she will stay for the next few weeks

NY Times News Service, WASHINGTON

Chelsea Manning was expected to walk freely out of the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, yesterday, bringing to a close one of the most extraordinary criminal cases in US history over the leaking of government secrets to the public.

Sentenced to an unprecedented 35-year prison term for disclosing archives of secret files to WikiLeaks, Manning spent about seven years in prison — double the second-longest sentence in any leak case.

She is set to be freed 28 years early because former US president Barack Obama commuted the bulk of her remaining sentence.

Both the military and Manning’s legal team, seeking to avoid a media circus, disclosed few details about her release and immediate plans.

The military would not say what time she would depart and said it would not permit reporters to wait near the gate to the prison.

Manning’s support network, which raised about US$138,000 in online donations to help cover her initial living expenses in a crowdsourcing campaign, has said she eventually intends to settle in Maryland, where she has family, but her supporters have also been secretive about where she will be for the next few weeks.

Manning was known as Private Bradley Manning in 2010 when she was arrested on suspicion of having copied hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic files from a classified computer network. After her conviction, she announced that she was a transgender woman and changed her name to Chelsea.

Hoping to inspire “worldwide discussion, debates and reforms,” as she wrote at the time, Manning had uploaded the files to WikiLeaks. It published them in batches, working with traditional news organizations, including the New York Times.

They also vaulted WikiLeaks and its frontman, Julian Assange, to global prominence and put them at odds with the Obama administration, including then-US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That mutual enmity set the stage for WikiLeaks’ role, six years later, in disseminating campaign-related e-mails the government says were hacked by Russia to undermine Clinton’s presidential campaign and help US President Donald Trump’s.

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