The US Intelligence community was shocked today as the news broke about President Barack Hussein Obama commuting (in his last moments in office) the sentence of the famous whistle-blower Chelsea Manning. Manning is an ex private first class who was behind the massive WikiLeaks scandal involving highly secretive caches, including a huge number of diplomatic cables.
The 29 years old Chelsea Manning was sentenced in 2013 to thirty five years in prison for the biggest leak of classified documents in US history. After Obama’s pardon, Manning will be released on May 17th.
Manning was demonized by US officials and prosecutors and served jail-time for years before the trial. While in detention awaiting trial, Manning complained about being persecuted and attempted suicide twice. The mistreatment charges were so serious that the UN launched a special investigation about the issue.
Today’s commuting of Manning’s sentence is a big shock considering that Barack Obama had long condemned the actions of the whistle-blower, yet he often compared Edward Snowden fleeing the country with Manning staying and facing the music, going through the military criminal justice process and the whole nine yards.
Basically, Obama positioned Edward Snowden much worse than Chelsea Manning and he dismissed any chances of clemency for the former.
Obama argued that Snowden’s leaked documents were of far higher classification than Manning’s, thus way more dangerous, and there was even a bureaucratic argument about Edward Snowden’s failure to fill in the paperwork required for asking the US President for clemency.
Interestingly enough, there’s a major petition with over one million signatures calling for Edward Snowden’s pardon and maybe, who knows, the next US President Donald J Trump will take a look at the matter and sort things out. However, I wouldn’t trust to hope, as The Donald called Snowden a traitor in the past.
Finally, Wikileaks tweeted last Thursday that if Barack Obama pardons Chelsea Manning, its founder Julian Assange will agree to be extradited to the United States. And that just happened, what next Assange? Will you come out and play now?
If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case https://t.co/MZU30SlfGK
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 12, 2017
VICTORY: Obama commutes Chelsea Manning sentence from 35 years to 7. Release date now May 17. Background: https://t.co/HndsbVbRer
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 17, 2017
Source: McClatchy, Twitter