Chelsea Manning Opens Up in Her First Television Interview: 'I Had to Be Who I Am'

On Friday morning, whistleblower Chelsea Manning made her first television appearance since her release from prison in mid-May.

Speaking with Good Morning America’s Juju Chang, Manning touched on a number of sensitive topics, including why she chose to leak what became known as the Iraq War Logs to Wikileaks, as well as her decision to come out as transgender shortly after entering prison.

“I had to be who I am,” Manning explained.

At one point during the interview, Manning grew visibly emotional, when asked about President Obama’s decision to commute her prison sentence—the largest ever handed down to a leaker in U.S. history.


“Thank you,” Manning said, holding back tears. “I’ve been given a chance. It’s all I wanted.”

On Twitter, the night before her segment aired, Manning was decidedly more upbeat, gently mocking the tone of the GMA interview:

Welcome back Chelsea. It’s great to hear your voice.

Senior writer. When in doubt he'll have the soup.

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