Chelsea Manning, the military whistleblower who leaked revealing information about the war in Iraq, announced Tuesday that she has been spending some of her time in prison writing a 139-page bill that proposes to eradicate the government’s secretive surveillance court.
The proposed legislation offers a “meaningful alternative” to relying on a court whose decisions are rarely publicly released or challenged, Manning wrote in a post on Medium.
Instead, she argues, the power should lie with the pre-existing “tried and true” district and appellate court system that regularly deals with classified information and can allow for more robust oversight and public engagement.
“The USA Freedom Act, for all that it’s trumpeted as the solution to some of the excessed, does little to institute real oversight over the Fisa courts,” Manning wrote in her column for The Guardian.
Manning described writing the bill over the summer from her prison cell in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she is serving 35 years for violating, among other laws, the Espionage Act.
While serving as a private first class in the Army in 2010, she shared over half a million sensitive documents pertaining to army intelligence with WikiLeaks. While serving her sentence, she has repeatedly been charged with minor prison offenses, like keeping a copy of Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover in her cell.
First Look Media, the publisher of The Intercept, announced a matching fund donation to Manning’s legal defense in July.
Jesselyn Radack, a national security and human rights attorney who has represented other whistleblowers, tweeted that Manning is “better than most ppl w/a law degree.”
Top photo: Sculpture titled “Anything to Say?” by Italian artist David Dormino with life-size bronze figures of whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, displayed in front of the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Sept. 14, 2015.
First came the Never Trumpers, and I did not speak out, because they stood against Donald Trump. Then came the Lincoln Project, and I did not speak out, because their videos went viral. Then came the Chamber of Commerce, and by then it was too late.