WASHINGTON: Former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning said Sunday she again plans to refuse to testify before a grand jury about her leak of classified documents to WikiLeaks – even if it means returning to jail.
Manning, who served seven years in prison over her transfer of secret diplomatic and military documents, recently spent another two months in lock-up for contempt of court after refusing to answer the grand jury’s questions.
Federal prosecutors have for years been investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and they apparently want Manning to testify about her dealings with him.
Her release last week came on a technicality – that grand jury’s term was expiring. But a new grand jury has been convened and called on her to appear this week.
“They’ve already stipulated they want to ask the same questions,” Manning told CNN.
“I am going to refuse,” she added. “I have nothing new to provide.”
Manning admitted that while she and her legal team do not know if she will be jailed again, she believes she has a “much stronger case in terms of the legal objections.”
“We’re certainly going to raise every single legal challenge that we have,” said Manning, a transgender woman who was known as Bradley at the time of her interaction with WikiLeaks.
Her leak of classified documents, including some related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, made her a hero to anti-war and anti-secrecy activists, and her actions helped make WikiLeaks a force in the global anti-secrecy movement.
Manning said she believes that the efforts to prosecute Assange are part of a wider campaign to “go after journalists.”
Assange was arrested in April at the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where he spent seven years after seeking asylum.
He sought refuge there to escape extradition to Sweden, where he had been accused of rape and sexual assault.
Assange is now serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for jumping bail and is contesting an extradition request from the United States, where he is wanted for hacking.