Barack Hussein Obama only has nine days left in his presidency, but he is reportedly planning to go out with a bang by issuing a series of pardons before leaving the White House. One name in particular that is on his short list has millions of Americans feeling very disturbed.
Daily Mail reported that Obama has placed convicted military document leaker Chelsea Manning on his short list for a possible pardon. Manning, a transgender former Army intelligence analyst who went by Bradley Manning before transitioning, is serving a 35-year sentence for giving 700,000 sensitive military and diplomatic documents, including classified files, to WikiLeaks.
An unnamed source within the Justice Department said Wednesday that Obama is strongly considering commuting Manning’s sentence.
Manning has tried to commit suicide twice since being incarcerated at the maximum-security US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. Last year, she underwent a hunger strike to convince officials to allow her to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Deborah Manning, Manning’s aunt, told NBC News that Obama is the only person who can get her niece out of prison.
“I do think it’s the last hope for a while,” she said.
Manning’s supporters have always said that her 35 year-sentence is too harsh and that the judge was just trying to send a message to another high-profile government whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
“I think in a way she was a scapegoat for Edward Snowden,” Manning’s aunt said of her niece.
Snowden himself has taken to Twitter to urge Obama to pardon Manning.
Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency as you exit the White House, please: free Chelsea Manning. You alone can save her life.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 11, 2017
Manning handed over documents to WikiLeaks documents containing war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan, diplomatic cables, and detainee files from Guantanamo Bay. She also sent them an infamous video called “Collateral Murder,” which showed an Apache helicopter attack on Baghdad that killed civilians as well as two news cameramen.
During her trial, Manning’s defense team tried to portray her as a naive person who meant well, claiming that the prosecution failed to show that her leaks had harmed national security. Manning pled guilty to the charges against her and apologized to the court.
“I’m sorry that my actions hurt people,” Manning told the court. “I’m sorry that they hurt the United States. I understand that I must pay the price for my decisions and actions.”
Do you think Obama should pardon Manning, or should she stay in prison? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.