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United States

Friend says Chelsea Manning is safe after worrying tweet from window ledge

The tweet from the leaker of government secrets said she ‘wasn’t cut out for this world’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2018, 8:12am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2018, 9:57pm

A close friend and colleague of Chelsea Manning said Monday that the convicted leaker of government secrets and longshot candidate for US Senate was safe after a photo on her Twitter account apparently showed the 30-year-old woman standing on the edge of an upper-storey window ledge.

The photo was posted to her Twitter account late Sunday with the words: “I’m sorry”.

It was sent shortly after a separate tweet that said: “im not really cut out for this world - i tried adapting to this world out here but i failed you - i couldn’t do this anymore,” among other things. The tweets did not make clear where the photo was taken, and Manning’s friends declined to say.

The alarming tweets were deleted after about 10 minutes, followed by a message on her account saying Manning was OK and asking people to “please give her some space”.

Kelly Wright, a friend of Manning who also is the communications director for her Senate bid, said on Monday that the 30-year-old transgender woman now needs the “space to heal.” She did not reply when asked if Manning was seeking professional help.

When asked whether Manning had suspended her Senate campaign, Wright wrote: “Negative”.

In her text message, Wright said Manning’s adjustment to life outside prison has been “extremely difficult”.

“I have seen firsthand and up close the violence inflicted on her by years of imprisonment, solitary confinement and torture,” Wright said.

“This is made worse by the impossibly high expectations our society sets for public figures, especially on social media.”

Manning, who twice tried to kill herself while in a US military lockup, recently told attendees at a Berlin tech conference that she felt a “kind of cult of personality” foisted upon her that she found “really intimidating” and “overwhelming”.

Manning, who makes her living on the speaking circuit, is fresh off an appearance at an international business conference in Montreal.

Manning has been free for over a year. Former president Barack Obama commuted Manning’s 35-year sentence, the lengthiest ever for revealing US government secrets.

She has acknowledged leaking more than 700,000 military and State Department documents to anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks in 2010.

She said she wanted to spark debate about US foreign policy, and she has been portrayed as both a hero and a traitor.

Known as Bradley Manning at the time of her arrest, she came out as transgender after her 2013 court-martial.

The high-profile transgender activist and convicted leaker is now in the midst of a highly unlikely Democratic primary bid for the US Senate in her adopted state of Maryland.

She’s claimed she’s genuine in her aim to unseat Senator Ben Cardin, a Democratic powerbroker in the blue state who is seeking his third Senate term.

But last week, she tweeted the primaries were “rigged” and there was no point in voting.