WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning sets sights on US Senate

Chelsea Manning

In 2010, former Army private Chelsea Manning was arrested after she provided almost 750,000 documents to WikiLeaks that included information about prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and US war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to federal election filings, Manning will look to challenge Democrat Benjamin L Cardin, who is now serving his second term as senator. Now it looks like she'll be running for Senate.

While Manning has not commented on her run, either to the press or on social media, her candidacy seems to be a bit of surprise in Maryland's political scene. Cardin has an approval rate of 50 percent, according to the latest figures cited by the Baltimore Sun, and will face Manning and three other candidates in the upcoming primary. Manning's sentence was controversially commuted by President Barack Obama in 2017 after Manning had served seven years of a 35-year sentence. Manning is also a transgender woman who won an audience among progressives for her writing on transgender rights and government transparency.

Manning has now gone from prison to USA senatorial candidate in less than a year during which she often made headlines, as the fame and infamy she gained by leaking a trove of classified documents follows her after release. In September, a profile of Manning in Vogue magazine ran alongside a picture of her in a swimsuit, taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. It does not state on their website that anyone who has a criminal record can not run for U.S. Senate.

US President Donald Trump has labeled Manning a traitor.

She came out as transgendered shortly after her sentencing, but the military denied her request for hormone therapy treatment while behind bars. "On Tuesday, which was National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, she stirred controversy when she tweeted ". the police", and then, "police kill hundreds of people every year with absolute impunity".

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Manning, whose name was formerly Bradley Manning, was convicted of 20 counts, including six violations of the Espionage Act. While serving time at Fort Leavenworth, Manning attempted suicide and went on a hunger strike before the Army approved her for gender reassignment surgery.

The case and Manning herself continue to be politically divisive in the United States. The state's senior senator is an overwhelming favourite to win.

Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo had scrapped a planned appearance at the Nantucket event over the title for Ms Manning, calling her an "American traitor".

Information for this article was contributed by Katherine Shaver of The Washington Post.

Cardin sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and recently commissioned a 200-page report on the interference by Russian Federation in European elections.

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