After days of speculation, Barack Obama has official commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning.
In one of his last acts as President of the United States, Obama has shown mercy on the 29-year-old transgender soldier, who attempted twice to take her own life while serving what would have been a 35 year sentence in a male prison for turning over classified and sensitive documents to WikiLeaks.
"Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing," White House spokesperson Joshua Earnest said January 13th, hinting that the president may commute her sentence.
Indeed, Manning has repeatedly expressed remorse for her crimes, writing in her commutation application, "I take full and complete responsibility for my decision to disclose these materials to the public," continuing, "I have never made any excuses for what I did. I pleaded guilty without the protection of a plea agreement because I believed the military justice system would understand my motivation for the disclosure and sentence me fairly. I was wrong."
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However, while Chelsea has seen mercy for her violations of the espionage act, Edward Snowden is unlikely to get the same treatment. "Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy," Earnest said, explaining that while the documents leaked by Chelsea had been "damaging to national security," the documents leaked by Snowden were "far more serious and far more dangerous."
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