Chelsea Manning Leaves Prison a Free Woman

While in prison, Manning-born Bradley-came out as transgender and changed her name to Chelsea, but was forced to remain in the all-male prison.

February 23, 2012: Manning declines to enter a plea to 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, at an arraignment at Fort Meade near Baltimore.

Previously known as Bradley Manning, the former intelligence analyst in Iraq said she wanted to expose what she considered to be the US military's disregard of the effects of war on civilians.

Manning was convicted for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents and videos downloaded from intelligence databases to WikiLeaks.

While most mundane activities - such as eating pizza and drinking Dom Pérignon - don't usually grab national attention, Manning was finally able to take part in what she's been missing out on since entering Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas seven years ago.

Manning was acquitted of "aiding the enemy" by a military judge, but was convicted on several violations of the Espionage Act. Her sentence was commuted earlier this year by former President Barack Obama just three days before he left office.

The government paid for hormone treatment while he was in prison, and he's eligible for sex reassignment surgery to be paid for unless the appeal for his conviction is denied.

"After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived", Manning said in Wednesday's statement.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who is friends with Manning and also played a role in publishing leaks from famous whistleblower Edward Snowden, tells the BBC that Manning will likely face a number of challenges now that she's out of prison. "Chelsea Manning's treachery put American lives at riskand exposed some of our nation's most sensitive secrets", Ryan responded to the news of Manning's sentence commutation.

"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea", she said. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley resigns after causing a stir by describing Manning's treatment in the Quantico brig as "ridiculous" and "stupid".

Manning was convicted under the Espionage Act, a World War I era law that was meant to stop people from supporting enemies of the USA during wartime. Chelsea Manning will be on a special, unpaid off-duty status that will allow the transgender soldier to wear her preferred civilian clothing, including women's attire. The attorneys cited her prison conditions, including the solitary confinement that her legal team says she received as punishment for her July suicide attempt, as contributing to their client's fragile mental state.

An Army spokeswoman says Manning remains subject to the military's criminal code until her discharge from the Army.

Pulse Films announced Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival in France that Manning would be the focus of a documentary titled "XY Chelsea" and has granted filmmakers "unprecedented access". It was not immediately clear how that would be affected by the Defense Department and Army restrictions.

The Army said that while Manning is being assigned to Oklahoma's Fort Sill, she doesn't need to report for duty there, meaning she has discretion about where she lives.