Chelsea Manning's Twitter account says she is 'safe' after concerning photo

A poster to Chelsea Manning’s Twitter account said that the Senate candidate from Maryland was “safe” after a pair of tweets Sunday raised concerns among her followers.

The tweets, since deleted, have been described by several news organizations.

One read: “I'm sorry - I tried - I'm sorry I let you all down. Im not really cut out for this world - I tried adapting to this world out here but I failed you - I couldn't do this anymore - I can take people I don't know hating me but not my own friends. I tried and I'm sorry about my failure.”

The other included a photo that showed the legs and feet of a person with painted toenails standing on what appears to be a window ledge high over a city street and the words “im sorry.”

The account was flooded with concern from some of Manning’s 323,000 followers. A small minority accused her of staging a publicity stunt or being a “traitor.”

The posts were soon deleted and replaced with an unsigned message.

“chelsea is safe,” the message reads. “she is on the phone with friends, thanks everyone for your concern and please give her some space.”

Kelly Wright, her campaign spokeswoman, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

Manning, a 30-year-old transgender activist, is challenging Sen. Ben Cardin in the Democratic Senate primary on June 26.

She was Bradley Manning when she enlisted in the Army from Maryland in 2007. She was deployed to Iraq, where in early 2010, she downloaded hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including diplomatic cables, war logs and gunsight video of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack that killed Iraqi civilians. She eventually gave the documents to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks.

Manning was tried by court martial at Fort Meade in 2013, convicted of espionage, theft and disobeying orders, and sentenced to 35 years in prison. President Barack Obama commuted the sentence in the final days of his presidency. She was released in May 2017 and is continuing to appeal the conviction.

Born in Oklahoma, Manning came to Maryland in 2006 and studied at Montgomery College. After her release from prison, she settled in North Bethesda. She announced her campaign for Senate last year, and filed the necessary papers in January.

When she decided she wanted to run for office, she told The Baltimore Sun in February, there was never a question that it would be from Maryland.

“This is the place that I have the strongest roots and ties to out of anywhere else,” she said

Wright, her spokeswoman, told The Sun on Friday that Manning “isn’t your typical politician but she definitely has had a presence around the state.”

“We had a campaign event recently at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, and Chelsea has met extensively with activists around the state, particularly in Baltimore.”

Wright said Manning has met with local Black Lives Matter representatives, the Sex Worker Outreach Project and Palestine solidarity organizations.

Her candidacy has inspired social media threads of impassioned and often expletive-filled debate from followers arguing whether she is a hero or traitor.

jebarker@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sunjeffbarker

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