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News Link • Whistleblowers

The Long, Lonely Road of Chelsea Manning

• nytimes.com By MATTHEW SHAER

On a gray morning this spring, Chelsea Manning climbed into the back seat of a black S.U.V. and directed her security guard to drive her to the nearest Starbucks. A storm was settling over Manhattan, and Manning was prepared for the weather, in chunky black Doc Martens with an umbrella and a form-fitting black dress. Her legs were bare, her eyes gray blue. She wore little makeup: a spot of eyeliner, a smudge of pink lip gloss.

At Starbucks, she ordered a white-chocolate mocha and retreated to a nearby stool. Manning has always been small (5 foot 4), but in her last few months at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, she jogged religiously, outside in the prison yard and around the track of the prison gym, and her body had taken on a lithe sharpness, apparent in the definition of her arms and cheekbones. She looked healthy and fit, if a little uneasy, as people who have served long spells in prison often do.

She had been released only eight days earlier, after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence. Her crime, even in hindsight, was an astonishing one: handing WikiLeaks approximately 250,000 American diplomatic cables and roughly 480,000 Army reports from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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