Chelsea Manning says she had a "responsibility to the public" to leak documents

Chelsea Manning says she had a "responsibility to the public" to leak documents
Chelsea Manning Chelsea Manning/Twitter
Chelsea Manning Chelsea Manning/Twitter

In her first interview since her release from prison in May, Chelsea Manning said she had a "responsibility to the public" to leak classified documents and that she didn't believe she was risking national security.

The 29-year-old Army private told ABC's Good Morning America that she decided to leak the documents because of the carnage she had seen as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq, including the deaths of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists.

Manning said she accepts full responsibility for what she did.

"No one told me to do this," she said. "No one directed me to do this. This is me. It's on me."

Manning fought back tears during the segment when asked what she would say to former President Barack Obama for commuting her sentence.

"Thank you," she said, choking up. "I've been given a chance, that's all I wanted."

Upon Manning's release from prison on May 17, she began to share images of life on the outside with her Twitter followers, including the first new image of her face the public had seen in years. Several of Manning's friends previously told Mic about the many struggles Manning had to express herself while in prison and that, once she was out, she'd be able to tell her story on her terms.

Though Manning's sentence was commuted, she was not pardoned and is still in the middle of an ongoing trial in military court.