Recently convicted leaker Bradley Manning guaranteed he will be in the media spotlight for a long time when he announced he wanted to change his gender during his stay in Fort Leavenworth, according to NBC News Today Show Thursday, Aug. 22. Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified government documents Wednesday, said through his attorney he will request hormone therapy while at Fort Leavenworth prison.
Manning, 25, could be paroled in seven years or he could serve the entire 35 year sentence.
Manning's attorney David Coombs read his clients statement on Today Thursday that he wants to proceed with the gender change process while he is in prison.
"I am Chelsea Manning. I am female," Manning said in his statement which was read Thursday on Today.
Coombs, who represented Manning during his court martial, used his client's gender confusion as a part of his defense. Whether or not the gender confusion argument resulted in a lesser sentence is not known. His lawyer succeeded in obtaining a not guilty verdict on the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, although he was found guilty of espionage. Manning leaked the information to WikiLeaks. Had he been convicted of the more serious charge he would've faced a life sentence.
A spokesperson for the prison told NBC News that the U.S. Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder. Coombs set the stage for future legal battles which may go on to infinity when he said he's hoping Fort Leavenworth would provide hormone therapy for Manning. He vowed he would do anything in his power to force the prison system to do so.
Manning apologized for any harm he caused the U.S. in court prior to his sentencing.
Manning created a website at age 10 and was born in Crescent, Oklahoma.
The former private was arrested in May of 2010 after a computer hacker told the FBI Manning had confided he had downloaded classified information and passed it on to WikiLeaks. Manning reportedly leaked approximately 250,000 diplomatic cables which some say contributed to the so-called Arab Spring.
He gained access to databases when he was assigned to an Army unit in 2009 near Baghadad.
Coombs said his client was not necessarily seeking sex re-assignment surgery, but that he definitely was seeking female hormone therapy.
His sister said at his trial she was his primary caretaker during his childhood. He was reportedly bullied at school.
Coombs' pronouncement that he will seek to force military prison authorities at Fort Leavenworth to provide his client with transgender procedures likely sets the stage for a protracted legal battle which could well end up in the U.S. Suprme Court someday. And it also may create problems for prison officials as to what part of Leavenworth Manning will be residing. Will the leaker seek to be placed in a female unit?
Anyone interested in receiving free updates of future National Places and Faces articles may click on the subscribe link adjacent to this article.