Whistleblower Chelsea Manning joins Twitter

Despite being detained in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has now joined social media.

While serving her 35-year sentence, Manning will be tweeting under the handle @xychelsea. Since she is denied internet access while incarcerated, Manning’s account will be managed by supporters who will be in contact with her over the phone.

As of Friday afternoon, the account already has nearly 12,000 followers.

"She is committed to having a voice and engaging with the public and will try to be present on twitter as much as she is able to connect with people on the outside," staff attorney Chase Strangio told Politico.

Private Manning was arrested in Iraq in 2010. After a prolonged trial, she was convicted under the Espionage Act for providing government secrets to WikiLeaks, the open-information site founded by Julian Assange.

Among the secrets were classified videos of highly controversial airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning also released thousands of diplomatic and military cables.

The twitter account isn’t Manning’s first attempt at communicating with the outside world since her imprisonment. In February, the Guardian signed her as a contributing opinion columnist, and has also written for the New York Times.

In the handful of tweets already posted, Private Manning has thanked her supporters, and stressed her desire to discuss meaningful issues.