The soldier accused of leaking Afghanistan documents to Wikileaks
Private First Class Bradley Manning -- now Chelsea Manning -- is the United States Army soldier accused in 2010 and convicted in 2013 of exposing secret government documents concerning the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning enlisted in the Army in 2007, after growing up in central Oklahoma and Wales (her mother's home). Her name first surfaced in late 2009, as the source of "Collateral Murder," a video released by Wikileaks, a online organization that specializes in publishing classified documents. The video, from 2007, shows U.S. forces firing on civilians in New Baghdad. The video was newsworthy because two victims on the ground ended up being employees of Reuters, a news gathering organization. The rest of her story is unclear. It seems that Manning, at some point in early 2010, communicated to semi-famous (and convicted) computer hacker Adrian Lamo that she had spirited away more than 250,000 classified documents as an intelligence analyst for the Army. Lamo reported this to federal agents and Wired magazine, and Manning -- who'd been in custody since May -- was officially charged in early July of leaking at least 90,000 of those classified documents to Wikileaks. The word from Wikileaks was they didn't know who sent them the documents (but they aided in the defense of Manning). The word from the U.S. military was that Manning's leak was a serious breach that endangered those in the battlefield, as well as the nation's standing abroad. The word from Manning's supporters was that she is an American hero for blowing the whistle on corrupt and immoral practices within the U.S. government. She was convicted on 20 counts and sentenced in August of 2013 to 35 years in prison. (After Manning's sentencing, she announced her intention to undergo hormone therapy and to live as a woman, identifying as Chelsea Manning.)
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