Transgender Chelsea Manning was convicted in a 2013 court martial of 20 counts, including violations of the Espionage Act, for illegally leaking more than 700,000 classified government documents to WikiLeaks. Chelsea Manning, known as Private Bradley Manning at the time of the crime, received a 35-year sentence, right after which she came out as a transgender and demanded that the army pay for sex change hormone treatment. Former President Barack Obama went one step further. Obama gave Manning a free “get of jail” card just days before the end of his term in office, granting clemency to the felon of all but 4 months of her 35-year sentence. She was released from prison last May, after serving only 7 years. In his last press conference as president, Obama doubled down on his clemency decision, declaring that “I feel very comfortable that justice has been served.“
Freed only a few months, Chelsea Manning has just announced that she is running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, challenging the two-term incumbent Senator Ben Cardin in the party’s primary. The fact that Manning is a convicted felon does not appear to preclude her from being eligible to run for the U.S. Senate. If Obama were a registered voter in Maryland, he probably would vote for her.
Progressives have been fawning all over Manning as a symbol of the liberated transgender and proud supporter of the antifata movement, who has latched on to virtually every leftist cause from open borders to free health care for everyone. She is a celebrity, gracing the cover of Vogue magazine in a bathing suit last September, under the headline “Chelsea Manning Changed the Course of History.”
Samantha Allen wrote in a column appearing in _Rolling Stone _last December that Chelsea Manning’s emergence from prison “brought a ray of digital sunshine into a dreary world. Manning’s aesthetic brilliance and social media optimism were both backed up by genuine political convictions, like vocally supporting the J20 defendants – a group of protestors arrested on Inauguration Day – or condemning the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.”
Linda Sansour tweeted out her support for Chelsea Manning’s Senate candidacy: “If you are cool with Sheriff Arpaio running for Senate in Arizona but up in arms that Chelsea Manning is running in Maryland – you my friend are a HYPOCRITE. #GoChelsea”.
Perhaps as a foretaste of what lies ahead in Chelsea Manning’s Senate campaign, she tweeted the following hate-filled expletive against the police on January 9th, Law Enforcement Appreciation Day: “f..k the police.” That is the kind of language leftists who conducted or supported violent anti-police riots in Baltimore in 2015 will love to hear more of.
There are many Americans, however, who believe, rightly so, that Chelsea Manning should have been required to serve out her 35-year sentence. Many still consider Manning to be a traitor and do not understand why she was acquitted of the most serious charge – “aiding the enemy.” Nevertheless, Manning was convicted of multiple charges of espionage and other violations of federal law. She jeopardized national security by knowingly abusing her position as an intelligence analyst and releasing hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents that revealed military and diplomatic secrets. Manning’s action caused intelligence to be published, knowing that the information she released would be readily accessible by our enemies. Manning knew exactly what she was doing and the harm her actions could potentially cause, but she did not care. The commutation of her sentence by Obama did not serve justice.
In instant messenger chat communications with an ex-hacker whom Manning came to trust after Manning had apparently just leaked many sensitive documents to WikiLeaks, Manning boasted that she had “listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga’s Telephone while exfiltratrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history.” The person Manning regarded as a confidante, and who was identified by Wired.com as Adrian Lamo, ended up reporting Manning to the authorities after he realized the danger the leaks posed to national security.
Manning justified her actions by declaring in her messages that she “couldn’t be a spy” because “spies dont (sic) post things up for the world to see.” She denied having any interest in selling her secret document trove to Russia or China because, Manning claimed, they belong “in the public domain.” Of course, putting classified information in the public domain made them available to our enemies. Manning had to know this when she boasted to Lamo that “Hilary (sic) Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and finds an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format to the public.” Ironically, Hillary herself was exposing classified information to our enemies through her use, while serving as Secretary of State, of her private server to send and receive government e-mails.
When Manning was asked what she considered to be the highlights of her unauthorized disclosures, she responded: “The Gharani airstrike videos and full report, Iraq war event log, the ‘Gitmo Papers,’ and State Department cable database.”
Now, Manning brushes aside the importance of what she released, suggesting that the material was innocuous. Back then, however, she was singing a very different tune. She described the content as “crazy, almost criminal political backdealings… the non-PR-versions of world events and crises…all kinds of stuff like everything from the buildup to the Iraq War during Powell, to what the actual content of ‘aid packages’ is…theres (sic) so much… it affects everybody on earth.”
Chelsea Manning would like to have us believe that her purpose in releasing the classified information was noble. “When I chose to disclose classified information in 2010, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others,” she wrote in a 2014 New York Times op-ed column.
Manning was anything but a true whistleblower, who wanted the public to be informed of some dark, nefarious acts committed by their government. She was a self-confessed “wreck,” who released a mass data dump of classified documents just because she felt she could. “If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?” Manning asked Lamo in one of her messages.
From her own words at the time, Manning revealed herself as someone who may have acted to simply prove she really counted in the world, or to seek revenge against a system that she believed had done her wrong, or both. She wrote that she felt like “an abused work horse” who was asked to perform menial labor such as bringing coffee and sweeping the floor. Manning said that “ive (sic) been so isolated so long… i just wanted to be nice, and live a normal life… but events kept forcing me to figure out ways to survive… no-one took any notice of me.” Manning attributed much of her behavior at the time to dealing with her emerging sexual identity issues, which she had started to come to terms with during the first few months of her deployment. She believed she had been demoted, with discharge to follow, after “revealing my uncertainty over my gender identity.” Manning complained of “losing my job… losing my career options.”
Even back then, Manning had the political bug: “i’d like to insert myself into politics, as a technical person with real ideas,” she wrote to Lamo. Now, instead of serving out her sentence in jail where she belongs, Chelsea Manning is getting her wish as she runs for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat. In today’s Democratic Party, she has found the right home.