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Chelsea Manning Says She Leaked Classified Info Out Of Love For Country

Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst responsible for the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history, says she disclosed the information out of "a love for my country and a sense of duty to others."

For the first time since she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the leak, Manning writes at length in an opinion column published by The New York Times on Sunday.

Manning, who was formerly known as Bradley, says that as the U.S. considers renewed military action in Iraq, she thinks some of the issues she exposed have yet to be addressed.

Mainly, Manning writes about the lack of information in the United States. Manning says that even back in 2010, she saw a complicated reality on the ground, while the U.S. media painted a rosy picture of successful elections.

Manning writes:

"If you were following the news during the March 2010 elections in Iraq, you might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes and photographs of Iraqi women proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers. The subtext was that United States military operations had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq.

"Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality.

"Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Detainees were often tortured, or even killed.

"Early that year, I received orders to investigate 15 individuals whom the federal police had arrested on suspicion of printing 'anti-Iraqi literature.' I learned that these individuals had absolutely no ties to terrorism; they were publishing a scholarly critique of Mr. Maliki's administration. I forwarded this finding to the officer in command in eastern Baghdad. He responded that he didn't need this information; instead, I should assist the federal police in locating more 'anti-Iraqi' print shops."

The whole piece is worth a read, so we encourage you to click over.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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