NANTUCKET, Mass. >> Chelsea Manning is addressing a conference in Nantucket, her second public appearance since being released from a military prison in May.
Manning is attending the annual conference for The Nantucket Project on Sunday in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The Nantucket Project is a venture founded by Tom Scott and Kate Brosnan to bring together creative thinkers to uncover the ideas that matter most. Organizers say about 600 people are attending.
Scott said they invited Manning for “clarity of understanding.”
“My brother and father are Marines. They would respectfully challenge some of her decisions,” he said. “Barack Obama commuted her sentence. My instinct is that he’s a good and trustful man. How do those two things mix? Seeing her in person offers, perhaps, the best way to decipher that.”
The 29-year-old Manning is a transgender woman who was known as Bradley Manning when she was convicted in 2013 of leaking a trove of classified documents. She was released from a military prison in May after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, which was commuted by President Barack Obama in his final days in office.
Several audience members said they were intrigued to hear from Manning. Sara O’Reilly, a Nantucket resident who has attended several past conferences, said the speakers are typically a “little edgy.” She said she doesn’t judge Manning and other people have done “far worse” things.
Scott said some of the attendees were upset that Manning was invited, but he didn’t consider retracting the invitation. Harvard University reversed its decision to name Manning a visiting fellow Friday, a day after CIA Director Mike Pompeo scrapped a planned appearance over the title for Manning.