Four months after then-President Barack Obama commuted her remaining prison sentence, former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was officially released from prison. An Army spokesperson confirmed her release with BBC News, saying Manning had left the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas early Wednesday morning. After serving seven years of what was originally a 35-year sentence, Manning was set free 22 years early. Her lawyer, Nancy Hollander, described her as “anxious,” but added Manning is “ready to finally be able to live as the woman that she is.”
The newly freed Manning, who was given the longest prison sentence for a whistle-blower in U.S. history for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks in 2010, issued a statement timed with the release. Per ABC News:
“I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years. As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. The past will always affect me and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point, not my final destination.”
As for what she plans to do now that she is a free woman, Manning and her representative have kept mum. And for good reason, as USA Today recently reported she would remain in the Army and receive benefits following her release — news that unsurprisingly angered her detractors, of which there are many. Like embattled President Donald Trump, who previously parroted Fox News talking points dubbing her an “ungrateful traitor.”
Speaking of Fox News, Fox & Friends briefly covered the news of Manning’s release from prison with the all-caps banner, “EARLY RELEASE OUTRAGE.” Describing her as a “convicted traitor,” the morning show reminded viewers the “disgraced soldier formerly known as Bradley” had “put lives at risk by leaking top secret documents” (while neglecting to mention their own friendly interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in January).