Chelsea Manning wishes she could say 'Thanks, Obama'

Chelsea Manning said if given the chance to speak with former President Barack Obama, she would say thank you.

In her first interview since her May 17 release from prison, Manning was in tears when asked by ABC News journalist Juju Chang what she would say to the president.

“Thank you for giving the chance, that’s all I wanted,” said Manning. “That’s all I asked for was a chance. That’s it, and now this is my chance.”

Manning, a transgender U.S. Army private, was arrested in 2010 for releasing over 700,000 documents to WikiLeaks. As Bradley Manning, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but came out as transgender during her time at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. During a fight with the military for hormone treatments, Manning attempted suicide, which resulted in solitary confinement. Obama granted her clemency in the final days of his presidency, commuting her sentence after seven years served.

“It has been my view that given she went to trial, that due process was carried out, that she took responsibility for her crime, that the sentence that she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received, and that she had served a significant amount of time, that it made sense to commute and not pardon her sentence,” Obama said in his final press conference as president.

A Pentagon review of the documents leaked by Manning determined that they did not result in the deaths of any U.S. personnel.

When asked if she owed an apology to the American people, Manning took responsibility for her actions.

“I accept the responsibility.” Manning said. “No one told me to do this, no one directed me to do this, this is me, it’s on me.”

The full interview will air on an upcoming “Nightline” special on ABC.

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