Private Chelsea Manning, the transgender woman and former Army intelligence analyst, has been released from prison today after serving seven years for leaking roughly 70,000 classified and unclassified documents to Wikileaks.
“I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years,” Manning told ABC News exclusively. “As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. The past will always affect me and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point, not my final destination.”
An Army spokeswoman confirmed to ABC News that Manning left the Fort Leavenworth disciplinary barracks in Kansas at 2 a.m. Central Time.
Manning posted her “first steps of freedom” to a newly created Instagram account around 9:40 a.m. EST Wednesday, which ABC noted in its report.
Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
During his final days in office, then-President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, saying “justice has been served” and that Manning served a “tough” prison sentence.
Manning has attempted to commit suicide twice while in solitary confinement during her sentence.
It was reported last week that Manning will remain an unpaid active duty soldier who is eligible for health care and other benefits after her release from prison.
Manning, who entered an all-male military prison as “Bradley,” will remain active duty following her release, according to Army Spokesman Dave Foster.
“Pvt. Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review,” Foster told USA Today.
The Army did not specify what post [Manning] would be assigned to or who she would report to, adding that if her appeal of her court martial conviction is denied, there is a possibility she could be dishonorably discharged, which would mean she would lose the health benefits, according to the report.