Chelsea Manning Is an American Hero. Full Stop.

. . . And both an  inspiration & challenge to Quakers & other people of faith.

Thank you to the Times for implicitly acknowledging this. And to Obama for commuting her prison sentence.

Chelsea Manning: ‘I’m Still Bound to Secrecy’

Ms. Manning is an American activist and the author of the forthcoming memoir “README.txt,” from which this essay has been adapted.

It is not possible to work in intelligence and not imagine disclosing the many secrets you bear.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when the idea first crossed my mind. Maybe it was in 2008, when I was learning to be an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army and was exposed to sensitive information for the first time. Or maybe the germ of the idea was planted when I was stationed at Fort Drum, in upstate New York. I was tasked with transporting a cache of classified hard drives in a large box in the summer heat, and I began to imagine what might happen if I screwed it up and left the box unattended. If someone managed to get ahold of a stray hard drive, what ripple effects might it cause?

Chelsea Manning

I knew the official version of why these secrets had to be kept secret. We were protecting sources. We were protecting troop movements. We were protecting national security. Those things made sense. But it also seemed, to me, that we were protecting ourselves.

While I felt that my job was important, and I took my obligations seriously, a part of me always wondered: If we were acting ethically, why were we keeping so many secrets?

The months I spent in Iraq in 2009changed the way I understood the world. Every night, I woke up in the desert at 9 p.m. and walked from my tiny trailer to the Saddam Hussein-era basketball court that the military had converted into an intelligence operations center.

3 thoughts on “Chelsea Manning Is an American Hero. Full Stop.”

  1. I’m grateful for Chelsea Manning and her sacrifices for our democracy and for our national integrity. She is, full stop, an American Hero and a shining example of what it means and sometimes costs to be a patriot.

  2. Yes.

    Thank you, Chuck, for publishing this.

    Truth telling can be dangerous. And it can be worthwhile – just ask Mary Dyer – and now, Chelsea Manning.

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