Chelsea Manning broke her silence on Sunday for the first time since being sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks.
The former military intelligence analyst was convicted in August 2013 after giving the anti-secrecy website hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic videos, accounts and documents. Until now, she has stayed relatively quiet about her situation.
In an opinion piece in the New York Times on Sunday, Manning went after the U.S. military and media for hiding information from the American people. Manning, formerly known as Bradley, accused the military of manipulating media coverage surrounding the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and attacked the limitations placed on journalists' ability to cover wars.
Manning said she is speaking out because the same "concerns" which led her to leak the documents in 2010 have still "not been resolved."
"I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance," she wrote.
Manning focused on media coverage of the 2010 elections in Iraq, and said that journalists greatly misrepresented the reality of the political situation. She wrote that while working as an analyst in Iraq, she became very aware of the major differences between the American media reports and the military and diplomatic reports she was reading. The information given to the public was "flooded with foggy speculation and simplifications," Manning noted.
"I was shocked by our military’s complicity in the corruption of that election," she wrote. "Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media’s radar."