By Rebecca Shabad - 05/14/14 08:35 AM EDT
Pentagon officials are considering transferring convicted WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison so she can receive treatment for her gender disorder, multiple reports said Wednesday.
Two Pentagon officials told the Associated Press that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave the Army the green light in April to orchestrate a transfer plan with the Federal Bureau of Prisons for Manning, who was convicted last year for sending classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks.
"No decision to transfer Pvt. Manning to a civilian detention facility has been made, and any such decision will, of course, properly balance the soldier's medical needs with our obligation to ensure Pvt. Manning remains behind bars," he told the AP.
Other officials told the AP the Pentagon and Bureau of Prisons are still discussing a possible transfer.
Cases involving issues of national security, which applies in Manning’s situation, are not normally approved for transfer to the federal prison system, the AP said.
Manning’s potential transfer comes a month after the Army rejected a request for clemency.
Last August, Manning was found guilty of 20 offenses, including wrongful possession and transmission of national defense information.
Manning must serve 11 to 12 years, but has already served more than three. The earliest she could be released is 2021, with parole.
Manning is currently serving a 35-year sentence at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Manning has been diagnosed multiple times with gender dysphoria—the sense of being a woman in a man’s body.
Transgender people are not allowed to serve in the military, and the Defense Department doesn’t provide hormone therapy.
Manning’s sentence also complicates a transfer because she can’t be discharged from the service.