XY Chelsea (2019) - full transcript

A look at the life and career of Chelsea Manning, a trans woman soldier in the United States Army, who was sentenced to serve 35 years at an all-male military prison for leaking information about the country's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I don't know. I just
like coming-of-age stories.

There's something about them.


hero versus villain.

Maybe it's the trans
part of me that feels like

life is a coming-of-age story.

I'm not the person
that people think I am.

I just know that.

Hold on.
I've got to take this call.

I've got to take this call.




Yes, it is.

I do.

Oh, my God.

Oh, my God!

What did he commute it to?


Oh, I can't tell you...

I can't tell you how happy I am.

Thank you so much. How do I...

He's gonna announce it
in a couple of minutes?

And how do we tell her?


I'm sorry to interrupt you.

I just got a call
from the President's counsel.

It's commuted plus 120 days.

- Are you serious?
- Yeah, the...

Let's do it out here.

The President's counsel
just called me.

He's gonna announce it
in a couple of minutes.

I'm pretty speechless.

I'm gonna start crying.

Holy shit!

Fucking shit.

It's just...

I just... I just...

I can't even fucking...

It's crazy.

Jesus fucking Christ.

First of all... let's be clear,

Chelsea Manning has served

a tough prison sentence.

The sentence that she received
was disproportionate

relative to what other leakers
had received.

She took responsibility
for her crime.

It made sense to commute,
and not pardon, her sentence.

- Nancy just got the order...
- I just got it.

With the Barack Obama signature.

- Oh, my God!
- So that is in possession.

Oh, God.

- This is a lot to process.
- Yeah, it is.

- These types of huge changes.
- Yeah, yeah.


You know, we're here, Chelsea.
We're thrilled for you.

But it doesn't mean
it's all just simple.

An inmate

at a military
correctional complex...

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

This call is from
a correction facility

and is subject to monitoring
and recording.

This is a prepaid call from...


Hey. So, you're on today's
New York Times.

And your story is
upper right-hand corner, baby.


He had to be a human being
for this to work.

We didn't know
if he was or not, right?

I didn't know.


I got the Elle magazine.

Hold on.
I'm running off to get it.

Where did that thing go?
Oh, here it is.

I got the Elle.
They didn't have Marie Claire.

But it's gonna come in tomorrow.

Yes. And bow...

And a bow.
Bows on the shoulders.


Six women.

- Far left. A little suit.
- Yeah.

Yeah. That's cute.

- Vincent?
- Yes, ma'am.

Commander, sir. I'm gonna be
there to make sure she's safe.

- That's great.
- You know, we did her clemency.

We're her clemency lawyers.

We're gonna make sure
this clemency happens.

She's really worried

that she's gonna
do something stupid.

What does that mean?

Well, what she kept saying was,

"I might run away. You guys
should be aware of that."

And I said, "You're not..."

Once you're with us,
you won't be able to run away."

I don't think people realize
how traumatic

getting out of jail is.

Imagine going from
being in the military

- to being incarcerated.
- I know.

Because people who are
in the military and get out

- have difficulty transitioning.
- That's right.

She needs to go figure out
her life.

Having been in the military,

I can't imagine
making a decision like that.

I just can't.
No chance I would've done that.

It takes a rare
historical person

who is willing to sacrifice
personal freedom

and all the privileges of life,

doing what he or she thinks
is the right thing to do.

You have to have a little bit
of a sense of self-importance

about yourself...

a bit of ignorance...

a little bit of
a sense of optimism.

Mostly, they're just people
who, deep down,

feel as though
there's some problem

or something's really wrong.


I'm particularly bitter
that a Commander in Chief,

in a time of war,
would pardon a traitor.

House Speaker Paul Ryan

released a statement saying,

"Chelsea Manning's treachery
put American lives at risk."

This young man
or woman, or whatever,

should have been hung.

I don't think it's right.

She should serve her time.
35 years.

100 years ago,

they'd have just taken him out
and shot him.

The debate about
how much harm was caused,

or wasn't,
by her actions, is ongoing.

National security officials
will tell you

Manning gravely harmed
national security.

So far as
actually killing someone,

there's absolutely no credible
allegation of that happening.

And another factor,
as you alluded to,

seems to be the stress for
Manning's gender transition.

Chelsea Manning

attempted to commit suicide
twice last year.

Is it clear that
the gender transition concern

was part of this, that she'd
been going through...?

It seems to be.

- Another day.
- Hey.

Another day in the woods.

it's such a beautiful sight.

I wasn't handling it
very well initially.

- You...
- Aargh.

We were in an actually
incredibly stressful situation

where I thought
I was gonna vomit.

- Um, so...
- You wanted to vomit, too?

Yeah. I really did.
I was, like, "Oh",

I'm gonna be super embarrassed

"if I throw up in front of
these security guys."

- We're still trying to adjust.
- Yeah.

To find a soft landing.
So, I think, today,

just kind of...
vegging out a little bit

and, like, you know,
like, learning.

Learning how to...

I mean, for me,
learning how to...


Be again.

Yeah, fuck,
I mean, you're, like...


- It's still sort of amazing.
- Yeah.

And unimaginable,
like, this is...

this is where you are

on May 17, 2017.

- Yeah.
- And not 2045.

- How the fuck did I get here?
- Yeah.

You ever find yourself
asking yourself that?

- Yeah. Yeah, I do.
- "How did I get here?"


It just feels so natural
for me to do whatever I want...

- Yeah. Yeah.
- In nature.

You get past this idea

of, like,
"Oh, a miracle might happen."

I mean, I was in prison
for the rest of my life.

There was a lot of
people that...

didn't think
it was worth the effort,

didn't think Obama
would consider it,

it was never gonna happen.

It was a shot in the dark.

I am not a make-up artist,
by any means.

I had to learn in prison,

making shit up as I went along.

I'm sure there's a bazillion
tutorials on YouTube.

There's a disproportionate

of trans women in the military.

You know? Like something...

Something about, like,
our twenties,

and I was, like, running away
from, you know...

this... this weird problem

that, like, we're cross-dressing
and stuff.

Like, I was trying to,
like, man up and...

I... I think
I'm not alone in that.

There's a lot of
social pressure,

especially for people
in, like, the South

and people in the Southwest,
and the West.


Yeah, I think there's
a pressure to... conform,

and what better
conformity environment

than the military?


I saw it as kind of like
going cold turkey from, like...

a drug addiction or something,

or, like, trying to quit
cigarettes or something.

But, obviously, you can't stop
being who you are.

So, that was always...
never gonna happen.

And this is a fantastic
shade of lipstick.

I could hear the river from...

prison, on a non-windy day.

Because there was
the Missouri River...

right outside the uh...

right outside the prison itself.

Through the tree...

If you go beyond
the treeline of the prison,

there's the river... um...

And... so, but...

I haven't heard
a stream like this.

This is just... It's nice.

It's nice to have a stream.

It's nice to have leaves,
you know?

What story?

Uh... That's a good question.

I grew up in a small
TOWN: Crescent, Oklahoma.

I had a... complicated
relationship with my father.

You know, like, he would just...

take his anger out,
from being...

angry at work, and just...

My mother,
she would drink pretty heavily.

My father drank very heavily.

And they finally split up
when I was 13.

My father had a new wife.

She didn't like the fact
that I even existed.

She saw that, you know,
I was dating boys and...

eventually she had me
removed from the house...

and I was homeless.

All Americans know that
the stakes in Iraq are enormous.

On television every night,

you'd see images
of the Iraq surge.

It was chaos.

I am saying we must
significantly increase...

That realization
that I was on thin ice

and that I didn't know
who I was,

and that I needed meaning.

I understand the consequence
of committing people into war.

So, I enlisted in the Army.

I did it kind of on a whim.

They needed people,
I signed the paperwork.

And a few days later,
I was in basic training.

Oh, shit!

Where the fuck
did you come from?



What's up?

Lisa just says, "Great photo."

You know,
I'm just making sure...

Disconcerting amount
of boobage there.

Like, my eye is drawn to it,
so I'm just, like...

super aware of the fact

that dresses expose
a lot more skin

and it's uh...

I don't know if my body
movements are trained yet

for this kind of thing.

You're moving around a lot
and you're not used to it.

There's always the possibility
of, "Oop, there you go."

The whole world could see.

And I had that in prison, too.

You know, I was definitely
scrutinized by...

prison staff, you know...

inmates, visitors, you know?

Because even though I wore
a loose-fitting uniform,

you could tell...
you know, they could tell.

And they...
I could sense the judgment.

Guards would walk in
on me sometimes

while I'm doing... You know,
while I was changing my shirt

or, like, taking my bra off
or putting it on, or whatever.

So, you know, stuff happened
and people would go...

And then there are
strip searches, so...

Their reactions
could sometimes be...

you know...



I remember it was
a really hot and muggy day.

The lawyers advised
against coming out

in the middle of
a court martial.

They thought it would be

as some kind of stunt
or something.

But I came to the conclusion
that I needed to just

come out publicly.

As I transition into
this next phase of my life,

I want everyone
to know the real me.

I am Chelsea Manning.
I am a female.

I'm confused, Bill.

I don't care if you call him
a he or a she.

He's a traitor. She's a traitor.

You had these rumors.

"What does it mean
that Manning is really a woman

or is claiming to be a woman?"

"Did she leak the documents
because she's transgender?"

This is late January, 2010.

I came back from Iraq, on leave.

And I came to an empty house.

It was... surreal.

I had this sense of disconnect.

People were living normal lives

while we were killing
or being killed.

Thank you
for calling the New York Times.

For calling the Washington Post.

News outlets, they didn't care.

It wasn't newsworthy to them.

The notion of the Iraq War

has left the consciousness.

I'm trying to do
something different.

I have all these documents
and I have the data

and I need to do
something with it.

We have no reason to doubt

the reliability
of these documents.

It is up to a court to decide...

clearly, whether something
is, in the end, a crime.

That said, prima facie,

there does appear to be

evidence of war crimes
in this material.

We also have one individual,

uh... appears to be wounded,
trying to crawl away.

Come on, buddy.

All you got to do
is pick up a weapon.

They're taking him!

Bushmaster, Crazy Horse 1-8.

Come on, let us shoot.

This is Bushmaster 7. Go ahead.

Roger, we have a black SUV,
uh, Bongo truck

picking up the bodies.

Request permission to engage.

Bushmaster 7. Roger.

This is Bushmaster 7.
Roger. Engage.

1-8. Okay. Clear.

Come on.


- Clear.
- We're engaging.

- Come around. Clear.
- Roger.

Hacker Adrian Lamo,
who turned him in,

says that he contacted the Army

after a series of very intense
email exchanges

with the Army specialist
in late May.

Adrian Lamo claims
that Manning was unhappy

with some policies
in the military.

He said that there was
an ideology problem,

that he had leaked
other information

to the website WikiLeaks.

Now, among the charges,
of course, the most serious one

for Private Bradley Manning,
that of aiding the enemy.

In a way,
it's the sheer scale of it

that's hurt America's image.

That a vast volume
of sensitive documents

was so easily available
to a private soldier

with some hacking skills.

The United States Of America
is on trial today.

Let him go!

Manning stood up
as an American soldier,

put himself in harm's way,

and he should be free.

No, ma'am.

You've been
invisible for so long...

Yeah. People have already...

formed their own opinions
of who you are.

I feel pressure
to correct that and to, like,

clear that up.

I was an unknown before.

It's a little bit nerve-racking.

I'm not... I'm not ashamed
of anything.

I'm not ashamed of being trans.

I'm not ashamed
of what happened.

Everything happened and, like...

I'm okay with that.

Yeah? And...

The main thing that I had
to do was just let go...

of other people's expectations.

And that was tough.

It was one of the hardest things
I've ever had to do

because I had built my life

around other people's

And I'm not gonna
fucking do that any more.

It does feel a little
bit like a calm before a storm.

We know how fragile she is.

What I worry about
is that she'll be a big name

and there'll be all this press
that'll happen,

and then all of a sudden,
it'll be over

and she'll just be
out there on her own.

We make these in the wood shop,

but we don't paint ours.

We put oil on ours.

We made Adirondack chairs
at the prison.


Oh, it'll be like that
for a few weeks, I'm sure.

God, I missed trying to do this.

I feel old.

- Feel old?
- Yeah.

I lost...

I've lost seven years
of my life already.

That's unfair.

Last time
I walked down these streets,

down the streets of this city,

Lady Gaga had just become big

and the Iraq War
was still going on.

It just feels like I've been
through a time machine.

Time warp.

An inmate at a military
correctional complex...

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Where do you think
he got that idea?

All I was trying to get at

was this whole idea
of personal responsibility

that you seem to feel,
even though, of course,

you... didn't have any...

direct... Absolutely.

You didn't pull the trigger.

It's hard for me now,

just because I know you
and love you

and I hate the idea
of you being in prison.

And so, for me,
it's easy to wonder

if it was worth it.

It was just me
and Lisa against the world.

We actually hadn't met
before I went to prison.

But she wrote to me, you know,

this really sweet, kind,
thoughtful letter.

It'll be the first time
I've ever seen her in person.

You know,
helping her get released,

it really was
sort of like my life's work.

It's really been...

There was a point when we were
just trying to keep her alive.

Oh, shit.


You look fantastic.


- It's one thing that...
- Your pictures...

Your pictures do you justice
but, I mean, like,

in real life, wow.

- Look at you.
- Look at you.

How different do I look?

If you do a side-by-side

you can tell, right?

I don't know
if I would say that.


You don't look anything
like your old picture.

- No.
- Not even a little.

And your cheekbones and stuff.

I mean, it's really...
It's amazing to me.

I didn't realize that...

that hormones changed that much

of, like... bone structure?

No, it doesn't change
the bone structure.

Well, it changed...
It changed something.

It changes how the skin, like...

how the skin wraps around
the bones a little bit.

It's just so much different.

- It's really different.
- Yeah.


Lisa was everything.

She's family.





Even I didn't realize how much
you were hurting, Chelsea.

Even I didn't know.

You... You...
You weren't really telling me.

And... And... I want you to...

Very good at...?

You know, she watched
the firework celebration

from her window...

and then she took
the shoestrings

that were, you know,
on her boots,

attached them to a vent
hanging from the ceiling,

put a pillowcase
over her head...

bound her hands and her legs,

and then the next thing
that she remembers, actually,

is being on the floor.

She was unconscious...

and it could have
very well worked.

I wouldn't say
that I've ever seen Chelsea...

be happy.

I've seen her smile,
I've seen her laugh.

I've seen her crack jokes.

But, honestly, I don't know
that I've ever seen her

be happy.

When I was a teenager...

I was completely helpless

and I didn't have anybody
to protect me,

and I didn't have anybody
to tell me that...

it's okay for me to be who I am.

I've built up
these defense mechanisms.

I have these walls and...

I had to go through hell
to get to that point.

I can get through this.

This is just a few weeks
of chaos.

Like I said,
it'll be a one-hour interview.

They'll pick us up here
at 10:30.

- Yeah. We'll bring the outfit.
- Exactly.

Bring the outfit, and there'll
be hair and make-up.

- Cool.
- Yeah.

The main things is...

the decision-making process

in choosing to
disclose the documents.

So, let's say that
Juju asks you a question.


So, you'd looked at
the documents,

and you made the judgment

that they wouldn't harm
any individuals

before you disclosed them?

It's not possible to read
every single line

of every single document.

But I knew exactly
what was in these documents.

I knew the specific types
of information

in these documents.

And I carefully considered it
and, no, I don't believe...

I did not believe
that any harm would come

from these documents.

Some of these questions
are really hard,

so practice helps a little bit

in being able to navigate.

I'm not somebody
who's going on TV

for the sake of being on TV.

I... I-I-I...
There is an underlying...

We're in a moment of history,
where this stuff is important

and I don't want to
screw it up for somebody else.

One of the things that's nice

is, like, when you have
a historical figure like this,

is there is
something that's um...

that's quite powerful
about being so up close.

But there's also something
very powerful about seeing

her entire body,
like, head to toe.

She's, like... the entire figure
is present on this cover.

I love how she just totally...

uh... seems at ease.

I like this one
because it has...

It feels to me enormous power,

the kind of power
that she must have

to be the person she is.

There's something about
the atmosphere of that picture,

like, there's a sense
of narrative to this one...


There's also, like,
some vague suggestion

of, like, an interrogation,
or something like that,

sitting in the chair,

in a kind of, like,
stripped-down room.

And for her first time,
sort of, sitting down

and telling her story,
I think that works.

Alright. You ready
to go on the record?

About how many weeks
into the second deployment

did you get in touch
with WikiLeaks?

It was all one deployment,
but after, it was...

It was uh...
It was during leave...

It was during my leave that I...

that I started using the site.

It was never about being caught.

I... wanted the information out.


I was eventually going
to go public.

- You were?
- Yes.

I just didn't know
how to do that.

Yes, I was worried that
being trans would be...

would take over everything else.

Right. I was worried it would...

It would be used against me.

I wanted people to know then
the things I was seeing.

Life was cheap in Iraq.

And it made me realize

that... how precious
life actually is.

How precious everyone's life is.

That's right.

This is a war
that resulted in the deaths

of hundreds of thousands
of Iraqis,

four and a half thousand
American soldiers...

It was also a war
that we sped into

in no small part because of
government secrecy.

How can a nation function

if we don't know
what we've done?

And the finale of this war,

that started under cover
of secrecy and lies,

ends with the prosecution
and court martial

of someone
who got the truth out.


He was good.


So sorry, sweetheart. Um...

I'm getting used to it now.


It's tough. Tough.

He was always my baby.

He was always my...

Bradley. Hm.

He had the box room,
where he slept in.

And he had how many computers?

I think it was...
one, two, three...

Three computers set up.

And he had this desk chair,

on rollers.


And... Oh! And it was locked.

There was a bolt.

I used to say, "That's one room
I don't have to clean."

I can't remember.

Quant... Quant-something.

That's it.

It was a cinder block,
cinder block,

and just two chairs.

I-I didn't say a lot because...

I don't know.

He's, like...

I couldn't touch, couldn't hug.

He was, like...


Sorry. But I do love you.

And if I could hug you,

I'd give you the biggest hug
you ever had.

It's ten o'clock.

Twitter's quite addictive.

They're seeing me
push back from, you know...

In a reasonable way
for the first time.

"I don't agree with
what Chelsea Manning did."

There are appropriate channels
to go through.

"Our national security
is important."

And I just...
I responded to that

and said, "Ever actually
try those channels?"

And that's it.

And, like, people
went nuts after that.


"She Will."

I was trans before
I started taking hormones.

I'm the same person as I was.

I just am presenting
myself differently.

People don't understand

how young the people are
who are in the military.

I'm uniquely situated
to have been the person

that probably interacted with
Chelsea face to face the most

over the last several years now.

However many years it's been.
I don't even know.

And I have my own sense of
who she is as a person, right?

It doesn't always
line up and match

what the public perception
of Chelsea is.

And I think that she's aware

of that journey ahead of her.

And I think she also
recognizes that she can't...

You can't really dictate...

She can't dictate for herself

which path that's gonna go,

Because she's been prevented
for the last ten years

of having the kinds of
experiences that we had

that helped shape us.

And then that becomes
very overwhelming for people.

But particularly
for somebody like Chelsea,

who's still trying to be her.

You know, she's still
trying to be who she is.

So as she's finally able
to be who she is,

I just can't wait to see
what she turns into.



You are now an icon
to many people

who believe that the government
needs to be more transparent,

not just in war but in general.

If someone,

let's say a young programmer,

comes to you

who wants to work for more
government transparency,

what would you suggest?

Make your own decisions,
make your own choices,

make your own judgment...

Are there specific things
that they could do

to further
that particular cause?

No. I mean,
you have to pay attention.

You have to pay attention.

How did the turmoil
that you were going through

in terms of thinking
about transitioning...

How did that affect
your disclosures later on...

- I don't...
- as your attorney says?

I don't think it did. You know,

it was this endless, straight,
like, you know, like...

They're not connected.

I don't think they're connected.

I see the, like, endless stream

of violence and death
and destruction

as being the primary motivator.


Now, WikiLeaks, it's gone
a whole road since back then.

What did you know
about WikiLeaks in 2010?

What did you...
It was much more obscure.

Well, I mean...
Yeah, it was, it was.

I wasn't really a part of,
like, you know...

It was, like... I was, like...

I was running out of time
and decisions

and they just had
the tools available.

They knew how to use them.
That was it.

That's all it boiled own to.

It's like, I...
I was running out of time.

- Because you had to go to Iraq.
- I had to go back to Iraq.

And, you know...

There was no way I was gonna
be able to upload it from Iraq.

You know, it's a policy of
newspapers to redact names

to protect the identities of
people who might be in danger

and the head of WikiLeaks,
Julian Assange,

believes in much more
complete transparency

and he believes that it would
contaminate the evidence,

to use his phrase,

if you did redact those names.

And so he did not,
in some cases,

which potentially
endangered informants,

particularly in Afghanistan.

We strongly dispute those facts.


We strongly dispute those facts.

The government was not able
to show any indication of that.

- Yes, yes.
- Zero.

Did you not fear sending out
these things

that you didn't know
what was in them?

I did know. I worked
with this information every day.

Did you not fear
that it might hurt someone

- if you didn't know exactly...
- Absolutely not.

It was historical data.

There's no sources.
There's no methods.

There's no intelligence
information in here.

It's not there. It's people
dying and people getting killed

and people suffering

and on a massive,
incredible scale.

As a result... I'm going to
skip ahead a little bit...

It must be a difficult position

because you're an important
public figure for many people

and yet I can understand

how you want to just get on
with a new life as well

and these things
keep coming back.

How do you deal with that?

I don't know.

I haven't figured that out yet.

How did you survive
in solitary confinement?

I just remember, you know,
whenever I was in Kuwait,

that I died.

I was alive but I was dead.

And I've been dead ever since.

Sort of...
If that makes any sense.

Like, somehow I'm, like, in this
visceral, like, purgatory

between... the two.

And that time.

And then I wake up for a while.

I just want to forget
it ever happened.

I just want to not be reminded

that it ever
happened to me ever.

I think that the moments
that I've enjoyed,

you know, in the years since,

have been whenever
I've completely forgotten.

People want me to relive it
and I can't.

I'm just trying
to find some closure

and some peace to all this.

I live in a state of,
you know, uncertainty

and I feel like
every step I take

is a step on thin ice.

I mean, I'm just, you know,

I'm just another one of us
that's scared.

You know. I just...
I find myself backed in a corner

and there's no other way to go

other than to fight back

and I'm certainly not going to
wait for somebody to save me.

Or save any of us.

I'm certainly not going to wait
for anybody to save any of us

because, chances are...
nobody's coming.

Go ahead.

These are not the people
that made our country great.

But we're gonna
make it great again.

These are the people that
are destroying our country.

The Trump administration's ban

on military service

by transgender people

was announced via Tweet.

What happens to transgender
service members now?

Are they immediately
thrown out of the military?


- How are ya?
- I'm doing okay.

I just wanted to check in 'cause
I know I've been super busy.

It's nice to hear your voice.

It's like
everything's just falling apart

and getting worse
and becoming a disaster again.

- Mm-hm.
- My safe is coming.

And my surveillance cameras
are... I have them installed.

I just need to wire them.

You do what needs to be done.


As soon as I started to see...

As soon as
Charlottesville happened,

I was, like, I need security.

For the last
six months, the alt-right,

they've been, like, mobilized,

and emboldened by the fact that,

you know,
they have an administration

that appears to be
favorable to them.

Can you explain
what we're doing?

For somebody
like me, like a trans person,

or somebody who's black
or brown in this country,

or Jewish in this country...
this is an existential threat.

You know, today it might not be
an existential threat.

But five years from now, it's
an absolute existential threat.

We can be afraid to say
something sometimes.

And I'm not as afraid any more
as I used to be

of saying the thing
that needs to be said.

What are they gonna do?

Throw me in prison?

Or kill me?

They're gonna do that anyway.

If we let them, you know...

If we let them take
the reins of our society.

You know, like,
they're gonna do that anyway.

So I'd rather go down fighting.

Here I am.

- Chelsea!
- Whoo!

I was told not to come here
by numerous people.

- Fuck 'em!
- Yeah.

For so long,
I wasn't able to even be seen

or be out on the streets.

I've been in prison
for seven years.

It was being silenced that
made me so afraid and so...

You're a hero!

When I first got out,
I did not think I was gonna be

jumping straight back
into activism.

I feel embattled.

I've seen
what an occupied country is.

And I've seen what
local suppression looks like.

And I'm seeing all of this
right here

in a place
that I want to call home.

- Good? Good?
- Yes.

Good? Good?

- Consensus.
- Consensus.


We need to stop expecting

that our systems
will somehow fix themselves.

We need to actually take
the reins of power from them.

We need to fix this.


Damn right we got this.

Whistle-blower Chelsea Manning

surprised the political world
this week

by announcing she was
running for the US Senate.

Manning is challenging
Democratic incumbent Ben Cardin

in the upcoming June primaries.

You are on the air.
Go ahead, please.

My question is, so, Chelsea,

you had some suicide attempts
in prison.

For someone who's had
those kind of issues,

what makes you the candidate

to represent
the people of Maryland?

Are you suggesting that someone

who has suffered
from clinical depression

is not qualified
to run for office?

No, that's not what
I'm suggesting.


He's asking, are you
mentally stable now

given all the horrific...?
I think that's what he's asking.

Given discussions
about the President

and his mental stability,

I think that should be something

we ask about all candidates.

I strongly disagree.

You know, we shouldn't be
stigmatizing anybody

for any mental health issues.

You know. But um...

Like, I'm more than willing
to admit I'm in therapy.

As a senator, would you release
confidential information

that was being held
by Senate panel?

No, but I would certainly move
to push for as much transparency

in government as possible.

You're challenging
the Democratic incumbent

in the primary.

Your platform includes
closing prisons,

free college,
universal healthcare...

Hi, I'm Chelsea Manning.
I'm running for US Senate.

And I get asked this a lot
by reporters, you know.

"Why are you running
for Senate?"

If you look around and you look
at everything that's going on,

whether it's
the immigration debate,

healthcare or police,
police brutality,

and mass surveillance...

Like, why the hell
wouldn't I be running?

You know, in this environment,

in this toxic environment
that we live in,

where's our say?

We're just trying
to excite people.

And... And...

Yeah, we know
it's an uphill battle.

We know...

words like "Cinderella story",

"long shot", "underdog",

words like that
are going to be applied.

Is it stressful? Oh, yeah.

This is very stressful.

But we also know that

at the end of it all

we're going to be
so happy that we tried.

Changing the world isn't easy.

It's not. I mean...

Chelsea knows.

If you're
an intelligence analyst,

you really have to
understand your opponent.

And you have to think
like your opponent.

A certain amount of empathy
is a requirement

to being effective.

Whenever I've protested

against the alt-right,

I realized
that Cassandra Fairbanks

was there.

She was a supporter
in my campaign

to get me out of prison.

I decided to use that connection

to try to see what information
we could glean

from that particular
flavor of the alt-right.

It's called rapport-building
in intelligence work.

I didn't really know what the
fuck I was getting myself into.

I finally hit the jackpot.

She invited me to an event.

All of alt-right Twitter
in the same fucking room.



We're never coming down.

We took America back.

America's ours now.

We're never coming down.

- Never!
- Never!

Never coming down.

- We're never coming down.
- We're coming to get you

if you try and take
our firearms!

America's back!

- That's what's up!
- You piece of filth!

Everybody keeps
getting mad at me.

Every time I open my phone,
people are mad at me.

Every time they fucking talk
to me, I have to break shit up.

They're fucking...

And guess what, they're gonna
counter-attack for months, okay?

Every time we do something,

they're going to
fucking respond.

- Shh.
- We're not going to.

Chelsea, I'm not mad.

- I'm not mad.
- Yeah, you are.

You might not think you're mad
but you're mad.

Do you realize, this is like
a scene in the movie

when all the good guys realize

that the enemies are
manipulating them

and dividing them
against each other.

We are a roomful of allies.

We're all on the same team
in here and we're fighting.

- This is old fucking news.
- Okay.

Seven days old now.

I'm tired of fucking
hearing about this.

I am too. We all are.

This is driving us
into the fucking ground.

We've said so much
to your supporters,

so much to people
who were upset.

We can't say any more
to smooth it over.

Nothing we say
will change anyone's minds.

No matter what we do,
people's minds are set.

This week was fucking traumatic.

And I am over it.
I'm so over it.

You don't fucking...

You don't do that.
You don't play their game.

Yeah, don't play their game.
Thank you.

I messed this up.

I knew I'd fucked up.

I immediately knew
that it was indefensible.

It was wrong.

I don't know what people
are expecting out of me.

I mean, I don't know
what the fuck I'm doing.

I just got out of prison.

You know. And here we are.

We're right next to Quantico,
by the way.

Where we are.

So... About a mile and a half

from where I was held
in solitary confinement.

I was never gonna be a...
a mouthpiece.

I'm not a hero.

I'm just somebody who...

you know...

I've always been somebody

willing to, like, jump in
and do something.

I've spoken through
other family members to her

but it's very difficult
to reach her.

You know, and she's not well.

She had a stroke. Yeah.

I try to not get them involved

in all the craziness
that happens around me.

I heard from my father but...
we don't talk much.


Our positions on life
are so divergent

that I don't know
if we can reconcile.

I don't know
if we can reconcile.

He cared less
about me being gay.

I think he's kind of in denial
about my trans-ness.

I think...

I think...

I think he doesn't know
who I am.

Suspicions undoubtedly
have been raised

that this happened
to Chelsea Manning.

The police raid her home
with guns drawn

in this so-called
"Wellness Check".

She's a candidate
for the US Senate

who is known for participating

in political protests.

Come on, Janice.

Hey, I have the final statement

if you want me to read it.


"Last year, when I was
released from prison,"

I emerged into a world
of hate and injustice.

I wondered if I should spend

my first year of freedom

But I couldn't sit still.

I tried to use my platform
as a public figure

to send a message.

Every one of us has power.

Over the past several months
it has become clear

that my experiences
have taken an enormous toll

on my physical
and emotional health.

I stepped back from campaigning

to prioritize my own well-being.

I found the space and
the treatment I need to heal.

I'm not giving up.

I'm grateful for everyone
who believes in me.

"Together we got this."

Does that sound good?


It's harder
to do the right thing

than it is
to go within the process.

And so I think everybody
has to make their own call

as to what they're willing
to do.

Being trans,
being queer as a kid...

being unwanted

and being unloved...

being not cared about...

I've always felt
a close connection

with the people
who are hurting the most.

If I wasn't exposed to that,

maybe I could ignore it
or not see it.

But I can't.

I think Chelsea will always be

looking over her shoulder...

For the rest of her life.

In this country,
once you've been marked

as an enemy of the state,

I think you'll always be
an enemy of the state

and you'll always have to worry

that they'll find
some other reason.

There is this sense
of impending doom

that just never dissipates
and never goes away.

Chelsea Manning
is back behind bars

after refusing to testify

in an investigation
into WikiLeaks.

Manning can be held
for a maximum of 18 months

for refusing to testify.

Her attorney says
they'll likely appeal.

As everybody knows,
Chelsea has tremendous courage.

Our primary concern
at this point is her health

while she is confined.

Julian Assange's
arrest in London on Thursday,

inside Ecuador's embassy,
was done by British police

under a warrant from the
United States for extradition.

This is the charge
that he faces. Conspiracy.

Specifically related to hacking
a government computer

and his relationship
to Chelsea Manning.

It was a perjury trap.

Oh, it is a perjury trap.

How do you think she's holding
up? Do you have any idea?

I'm worried and I think other
people are worried about her.

I'm really concerned now
about the...

that they're holding her
in solitary.

The grand jury can go for what?
About 18 months.

And then they can start
all over again.

- They could.
- They can go forever.

She's gonna have to
do something to...

motivate herself
to go through this.

It's never gonna stop.

They're not gonna stop.

It's not gonna stop
until we stop them.

"Deep Space Probe"