- The former Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning warned Sunday that the Trump administration “clearly wants to go after journalists.”
- She said to expect more indictments, particularly against national security reporters or “disruptive” press.
- Manning was released Thursday after spending 62 days in jail on civil contempt charges, after she refused to testify to a grand jury regarding WikiLeaks.
- The Justice Department’s charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have sparked debate over whether his prosecution has press freedom implications.
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Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst turned whistleblower, said Sunday that the Trump administration “clearly wants to go after journalists.”
Manning spoke to CNN’s Brian Stelter in her first televised interview after leaving jail. She was released Thursday after 62 days in a Virginia jail on civil contempt charges, after she refused to testify to a grand jury regarding WikiLeaks.
Her remarks come amid fierce debate over whether US prosecutors’ charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange amount to an attack on press freedom. The Justice Department has accused Assange of conspiring with Manning to hack into a government computer, and First Amendment advocates have fretted that such charges set a dangerous precedent.
"This administration clearly wants to go after journalists," says Chelsea Manning @xychelsea.
Manning was just released from prison but faces another subpoena and possibly more jail time for refusing to testify about her disclosure of secrets to Wikileaks https://t.co/so8MiPQYQH pic.twitter.com/HiCYUOIF3M
— Reliable Sources (@ReliableSources) May 12, 2019
“I think that the Eastern District of Virginia is now turned into a rubber stamp for all these different prosecutions. I think that ultimately what they really want is they want to go after journalists,” she said. “This administration clearly wants to go after journalists.”
Manning said people should expect to see indictments against national security reporters, especially given President Donald Trump’s hostility towards the media.
“I think that if the administration gets its way, as its laid out in repeated statements, like the ‘media is the enemy of the people’ kind of thing, I think that we’re going to see that national security journalists and a lot of disruptive press – we’re probably going to see indictments and charges,” Manning said. “There are so many federal offenses, the average American commits three felonies a day. So whenever a journalist makes a misstep, I think they’re put on notice now that the FBI and the Department of Justice are going to go after them on the administration’s behalf.”
Manning could very well end up back in jail in the coming days, as she told Stelter she intends to refuse to comply with another subpoena from a different grand jury regarding WikiLeaks.
“They have already stipulated that they want to ask the same questions,” Manning said. “So this is not about anything new. They’re not even asking anything new. I’ve already laid all of this out.”
Manning was originally sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, but former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence after she had served seven years.
- Read more:
- Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in British prison following his dramatic expulsion from Ecuadorian Embassy
- Plans to break Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy included costumes, diplomatic bags, and secret flights to Switzerland
- Chelsea Manning may be banned from visiting Australia because she doesn’t meet the country’s ‘character’ test
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