President Obama’s decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning, known for leaking documents to Wikileaks in 2010, attracted several critics from top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who claimed that such move sets a “dangerous precedent”.
According to the BBC, the White House, through spokesman Josh Earnest, declared that the time served by Manning was an appropriate punishment and the 29-year-old transgender US Army private, will be freed this year, on May 17.
From 35 years to just 4
This is definitely good news for Chelsea Manning, considering that her initial sentence, from 2013, consisted in 35 years behind the bars. For her role in one of the largest breaches of classified material in the history of the United States, she was supposed to be released in 2045.
Barack Obama’s commutation will reduce Manning’s sentence, but it shouldn’t be considered a pardon, like many campaigners did. Senator John McCain, for example, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the move a “grave mistake”.
“It is a sad, yet perhaps fitting commentary on President Obama’s failed national security policies that he would commute the sentence of an individual that endangered the lives of American troops, diplomats, and intelligence sources […],” he said.
Back to Paul Ryan, he also considered that Barack Obama will leave in place “a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won’t be held accountable for their crimes”.
Remember Trump’s campaign?
The Republicans’ reactions are definitely interesting, considering that President-elect Donald Trump has praised Wikileaks several times during his campaign. Also, the group released hacked Democratic emails during the same period, so the fact that the White House, where Barack Obama is still in charge, called the GOP hypocritical shouldn’t be surprising.