Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Chelsea Manning Has a Message for Obama: 'Thank You'

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning has a message for Barack Obama.

"Thank you," the tearful transgender whistleblower said on ABC News, during her first television interview as a free woman.

Manning was released in May from a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence for leaking classified documents. In one of his last acts in office, President Obama commuted most of her remaining sentence.

"I was given a chance, that’s all I wanted. That’s all I asked for, was a chance, that’s it. And this is my chance," Manning said.

Manning had been imprisoned since 2010, when, then an Army private, she was arrested for sharing classified documents with WikiLeaks. She was convicted on 20 charges, including violations of the federal Espionage Act, in 2013; she is appealing her conviction. During her incarceration, she came out as a transgender woman.

"I’ve accepted responsibility," she said. "No one told me to do this, no one directed me to do this. This is me. It’s on me."

Manning also discussed her fight to obtain hormone treatment while imprisoned. "It's literally what keeps me alive," she said of the treatment.

"[It] keeps me from feeling like I'm in the wrong body," she said. "I used to get these horrible feelings like I just wanted to rip my body apart, and I don't want to have to go through that experience again. It's really, really awful."

A teaser clip from the interview aired Friday on Good Morning America. The full interview will broadcast next week on Nightline as “Declassified: The Chelsea Manning Story.” 

Watch the clip below.

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