5 Things to Know About the Chelsea Manning Release

The notorious transgender intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who joined the Army as Brad Manning, was released from military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, today. Transgender activists and civil libertarians celebrate, while supporters of military intelligence will be less impressed.

Here are five things to know about Manning's release.

1. The crime.

In January 2010, Bradley Manning downloaded the 400,000 documents which later would become known as the Iraq War logs, along with the 91,000 documents known as the Afghan War logs. He smuggled the data through on a CD labeled "Lady Gaga." After being turned down by The Washington Post and The New York Times, Manning sent the information to WikiLeaks in early February.

Beginning in February, WikiLeaks publicized the documents Manning sent, causing an uproar and giving the outlet the notoriety to push more classified information into the public eye. Manning was caught after contacting Adrian Lamo, a former hacker convicted in 2004. Lamo reported Manning to the authorities, and the leaker was arrested in late May 2010.

In June 2013, Manning was convicted of five counts of espionage and theft, along with other charges, but not of aiding the enemy, an official treason charge which can carry the death penalty. On August 21, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison, reduction in rank to private, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge.

Outlets criticized the sentence as "unjust and unfair," but in January, President Donald Trump declared Manning a "TRAITOR," and there is reason to agree with the spirit behind that assessment. This was, after all, the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history, even if Manning was not officially convicted of treason.