At 23 years of age, Manning was given the longest sentence for leaks of classified documents in U.S. history
Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has been critiqued as having a “war on whistle-blowers.” Today, as one of his final acts, he has commuted the sentence of whistleblower Chelsea Manning—who has already served six years of her 35-year sentence for leaking classified military documents to WikiLeaks.
The leak resulted in over 700,000 documents and a video being released. It was the largest leak in U.S. history. At 23 years of age, Manning was also given the longest sentence for leaks of classified documents in U.S. history.
But that is now in the past. President Obama has accepted her attorney’s application to commute her sentence to time served. She will be released in May. For the slew of people who believed that her treatment and sentence were unfair, this is a victory.
Since her suicide attempt in July of 2016, a litany of groups stepped up to the pressure to have her sentence commuted. She also filed a transgender prisoner lawsuit, detailing her treatment in prison as “a cycle of anxiety, anger, hopelessness, loss, and depression. I cannot focus. I cannot sleep.”
Retired Air Force Colonel Col. Morris D. Davis also advocated on Manning’s behalf. CBS reported that Col. Davis wrote a letter attached to her application, advocating for her release, saying her leaks years ago “could fairly be described as inconvenience and embarrassment.”
The president also commuted the sentences of 208 others and pardoned 64 people.