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Hero or villain, Chelsea Manning (née Bradley Manning) committed one of the greatest military security breaches in U.S. history.

In 2013, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning was convicted in a military court of multiple counts involving Espionage Act violations and other offenses after leaking highly sensitive military and State Department documents to Wikileaks.

Manning served seven years of a 35-year sentence and was released from Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas this week with plans to remain in the Army.

Manning will continue to serve without pay with the rank of private. However, under the law she (he?) will receive health and other benefits.

"Pvt. Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review,” Army spokesman Dave Foster told USAToday.

Manning was serving as a former intelligence officer in Iraq when investigators discovered that he had funneled more than 700,000 secret documents to Wikileaks.

While in prison Manning underwent sex reassignment surgery at taxpayer expense and was granted clemency by President Obama during the final days of his administration.

"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea," she said in a statement. "I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine."

To many, Chelsea Manning is viewed as an enemy of the state, although many still support his actions to expose America's growing "surveillance state."

"He came to view much of what the Army told him — and the public — to be false, such as the suggestion the military had destroyed a graphic video of an aerial assault in Iraq that killed civilians, or that WikiLeaks was a nefarious entity," investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald wrote in The Guardian.

Greenwald was the lead journalist who broke the Edward Snowden story that blew the lid off the NSA's illegal metadata collection program targeting U.S. citizens.

Whether guilty of treason or not, Manning and Snowden went outside the chain of command to make public what they believed to be gross abuses of government power.

Without transparency in government or media, whistleblowers are often the last line of defense in the service of freedom. But the price they pay often is high.

WATCH:

Do you think Chelsea Manning should remain receive benefits or continue to rot in a prison cell?

Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Source: Fox News

 

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