Chelsea Manning Releases Handwritten Letter from Prison, Seeks Twitter Verification

April 16, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

Chelsea Manning, the U.S. army whistleblower serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, has released a handwritten letter to her Twitter account to prove that she is the true identity behind Twitter handle @xychelsea. As part of her sentence, Manning is not allowed to access the internet. However, she has found a clever work-around by calling a representative from FitzGibbon Media, who then transcribes Manning’s tweets and posts them to Twitter.

Though ANIMAL previously confirmed with Manning’s lawyer Nancy Hollander that Manning was indeed behind the account, verification on Twitter could boost Manning’s followers and make it immediately clear to others that it’s not a fake account. Representatives at FitzGibbon Media wrote via email that “We are sending this letter to them in the hopes that it gives [Twitter] the proof they need to verify.”

Verification may also indirectly help Manning capture the attention of another volunteer to manage the Twitter account. “This is a temporary arrangement until I can find a way to access my account more easily, or find someone else willing to put in the labor of managing the account, like Courage to Raise or another volunteer,” Manning wrote in the letter. “The tweets, except for retweets, are verbatim dictated over the phone to someone that I can call from here in Kansas.”

Manning is currently seeking an appeal, and is using her Twitter account to stay engaged with the public. Read her full letter below.