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更新时间:2017-6-27 18:53:03 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Her ‘Whole Story’: How I Landed an Exclusive Interview With Chelsea Manning

On Jan. 17, I was on the phone with Nancy Hollander, a veteran litigator based in New Mexico, when Ms. Hollander abruptly excused herself: The White House was on the other line.

1月17日,我正和新墨西哥州的资深诉讼律师南希·霍兰德(Nancy Hollander)通话时,她突然说不好意思,要离开一下:白宫打电话来了。

I knew without asking what had happened. A month earlier, my editor at The Times Magazine, Mike Benoist, suggested I look into a feature on Ms. Hollander’s most famous client, the whistle-blower and soldier Chelsea Manning, who had been sentenced in 2010 to 35 years in military prison for sharing thousands of confidential military and diplomatic documents with WikiLeaks.

我不用问就知道发生了什么。一个月前,我在《时报杂志》(The Times Magazine)的编辑迈克·拜诺伊什特(Mike Benoist)建议我写一篇有关霍兰德最有名的当事人、揭秘者、军人切尔西·曼宁(Chelsea Manning)的专题文章。2010年,曼宁因向维基解密(WikiLeaks)泄露数千份机密军事和外交文件而被判在军事监狱服刑35年。

Initially, my plan had been to detail Ms. Manning’s fight with the government for access to hormone therapy and permission to live as a woman in an all-male, maximum-security facility. Because Ms. Manning was not allowed to meet with or take calls from journalists, I’d have to report the piece by speaking to her friends and by communicating with her by prison mail — an onerous and frustrating process.


But now everything had changed: President Barack Obama, in a surprise decision, was commuting the remainder of Ms. Manning’s sentence. Her release date would be set for mid-May. I dashed off a quick note of congratulations to Ms. Hollander and called Mike to discuss strategy.

但现在,一切都变了:贝拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)出人意料地决定减去曼宁剩下的刑期。她的释放日期定在5月中旬。我匆匆给霍兰德女士发了简短的祝贺信息,并打电话给迈克商量对策。

In 2010, a reporter at The Guardian had referred to Ms. Manning as “the most important story on the planet.” Seven years on, she was still an icon — “a secular martyr,” as the author of a book on her case later described her to me — and I knew that dozens of media outlets would be vying for an exclusive first post-release interview.

2010年,《卫报》(The Guardian)的一名记者称曼宁是“地球上最重要的新闻”。七年过去了,她依然是一个标志。一本记述曼宁一案的书的作者后来对我说,她是“一名世俗殉道者”。我知道,会有数十家媒体机构争夺曼宁获释后的首次专访。

In those following days, I made my pitch to Ms. Manning’s team: I’d already spoken to many of the people closest to her, and had a reasonably firm grip on the immense library of legal documents generated by her court-martial. I could hit the ground running. Later, Chase Strangio, another of Ms. Manning’s attorneys, and Christina DiPasquale, Ms. Manning’s publicist, went to the Times building to meet with Times Magazine editors and art staff, to discuss how the story might be packaged and presented visually.

在接下来的那些天里,我不断向曼宁的团队宣传自己:我已经与很多跟她关系最亲密的人有过交流,并且对她的庭审材料构成的大量法律文件有相当扎实的了解。我可以立即着手相关工作。后来,曼宁的另一名律师查斯·斯特兰焦(Chase Strangio)和曼宁的公关宣传克里斯蒂娜·迪帕斯奎尔(Christina DiPasquale)去时报大楼和《时报杂志》的编辑及美编团队见面,讨论可以如何包装并在视觉上呈现这篇报道。

On Feb. 15, Ms. DiPasquale emailed to say that Ms. Manning had agreed to give us the exclusive on the print story, meaning Ms. Manning wouldn’t be speaking to any other newspapers or magazines until the piece was published.


I spent the rest of the month, and all of March and April, in research mode, building a detailed timeline of the case and exchanging preliminary letters with Ms. Manning — in which we worked our way through some of her earliest memories and she talked about her life in a military prison. We were getting to know each other, if remotely.


In late May, the month of her release, I flew to New York, where Ms. Manning was staying at the time. I’ve since been asked if I was nervous, and I was, but only partially because of the historic nature of the interviews. (Ms. Manning had not given an in-person, on-the-record interview since she was arrested in 2010.) Above all, there was the matter of time, or the lack thereof: Ms. Manning had consented to three on-the-record talks — a pair of two-hour interviews and one at an hour — over the course of a week. I had 26 single-spaced pages of questions, however. Some were precise queries, concerning the layout of her workstation in Iraq and the common spaces in the military prison, and sky-level questions, on what she saw as the impact of her actions and how she thought the world might have changed as a result.


For someone just eight days out of prison, Ms. Manning was a remarkably voluble interview subject. I learned to admire the courage with which she was able to address her most painful memories, from her early struggles with gender identity to her suicide attempts at the military prison — and only once did she have to stand up and ask for a minute to compose herself. As she reminded me, for seven years she hadn’t been able to tell her “whole story,” and now that she could, the words were whistling out in a torrent.


My last read-over of the piece occurred on Friday, June 9, at around 10 p.m. The following Monday, at 5 a.m., it appeared online. Mike and I had deliberately held back from passing judgment on the leaks in the article: It was meant to be not a reckoning but the story of a personal journey. In the comments section and on social media, though, the reckoning was soon underway anyway: Ms. Manning was a traitor, Ms. Manning was a hero, Ms. Manning was a criminal, Ms. Manning was an inspiration.


As for Ms. Manning herself, I caught up with her via a secure text messaging app later in the week. She was happy with how the piece turned out, she said, and deeply loved the accompanying photographs. But she wasn’t going to dwell on it — she was newly free, and she had a life to live.