Obama Defends Decision To Commute Chelsea Manning's Sentence
Jan 19, 2017 12:56 PM EST
President Barack Obama defended his decision to pardon the Wikileaks source Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years for leaking diplomatic cables to the group - one of the largest breaches of classified material in US history, and told to the reporters on his final news conference that "justice has been served." Manning initially has another 29 years before her scheduled release.
However, the Republicans see the commutation of her sentence as sending the wrong message to the public. According to the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain, it is a "grave mistake" since Manning endangered lives and claim that her "dishonor" will last forever, even if her prison sentence may end in a few months.
House Speaker Paul Ryan described the move as setting a "dangerous precedent" that those who compromise the U.S national security won't be held accountable for their crimes. Born Bradley Manning, the 29 year old transgender US Army Private leaked classified documents to Wikileaks in 2010. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison in August 2013, will now be released in four months, on 17 May of this year, instead of 2024.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Josh Earnest fight back at Republican criticism stating that the party was being hypocritical since President-elect Donald Trump has praised Wikileaks - as the group released hacked Democratic Party emails during the election campaign. Earnest told to CBS News that it is "outrageous" when they (the GOP) describe what Manning did is worse than what the man who they endorsed for president did.
Earnest also emphasized that Mr Obama firmly believed Manning who have been jailed for nearly seven years, had served an appropriate punishment.
Manning's decision to leak a massive trove of documents to Wikileaks - including 250,000 diplomatic cables and more than 450,000 reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - has received backslash from critics who describe that she endangered US troops, intelligence agents and diplomats, in addition to foreigners who had helped them in hotspots abroad. Critics also said this has caused major embarrassment to the United States.