Obama May Free Controversial War Whistleblower Chelsea Manning, Says Report

Obama May Free Controversial War Whistleblower Chelsea Manning, Says Report

Chelsea Manning Reportedly on Obama ‘Short List’ For Commutation

President Barack Obama is reportedly considering commuting the prison sentence for Iraq War whistleblower Chelsea Manning. NBC News reports Manning is on the “short list” for commutation as Obama is less than two weeks away from leaving the White House.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of military files and cables to Wikileaks in 2010. She has spent the last six years in prison and has attempted suicide on multiple occasions. She has already served more time than any other whistleblower in U.S. history. Others who have been found guilty of mishandling classified information have received much less as far as criminal punishment is concerned.

NBC reporter Cynthia McFadden first reported the possibility from a source in the Justice Department on Twitter:

McFadden also points out the move would not be a full pardon:

Manning has been receiving hormone therapy while incarcerated. A petition for the White House to consider commuting her sentence reached the 100,000 signatures last month required for a response from the Executive Branch. The White House is supposed to respond to these petitions within 60 days, a deadline that won’t come up until Donald Trump becomes president.

Fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden took to Twitter to implore President Obama for a commutation for Manning:

Intelligence officers noted their perception of Manning’s leaks versus Snowden’s to NBC:

Four former and current Army intelligence officers told NBC News the documents leaked by Manning pale in significance to highly classified top secret material released by Snowden. The officers, who would not allow their names to be used, said the Manning sentence seems excessive.

Obama has issued more commutations than the last eleven presidents combined. Manning’s situation is likely to get worse under the administration of Donald Trump.

Chase Strangio, an ACLU lawyer representing Manning, noted the significance of the potential move to Manning’s health and the LGBTQ community:

“The Obama administration has done many commendable things to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, but in the case of Chelsea Manning they have systematically mistreated her and denied her access to medically recommended gender-related healthcare,” said Strangio. “Chelsea won’t survive another five years in prison, much less another 30.”

Time is running out on Barack Obama sitting in the White House and we will soon know if he will end or shorten the time whistleblower Chelsea Manning will spend sitting in prison.

Featured image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

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A very happy stay-at-home dad with a Master’s in Poly Sci which qualifies him for asking an endless number of questions on issues and having no answers.