Wikileaks not so evil after all
In the final days of his presidency, President Obama commuted most of the remaining sentence for intelligence leaker Bradley (Chelsea) Manning.
Manning, who has served seven years of a thirty-five-year sentence, will be released by May 17 of this year.
White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest was asked why Manning’s sentence was commuted while fellow intel leaker, Edward Snowden’s, application for clemency has not yet been accepted:
Asked about the two clemency applications on Friday, the White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, discussed the “pretty stark difference” between Ms. Manning’s case for mercy with Mr. Snowden’s. While their offenses were similar, he said, there were “some important differences.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
He also noted that while the documents Ms. Manning provided to WikiLeaks were “damaging to national security,” the ones Mr. Snowden disclosed were “far more serious and far more dangerous.” (None of the documents Ms. Manning disclosed were classified above the merely “secret” level.)
Ms. Manning was still known as Bradley Manning when she deployed with her unit to Iraq in late 2009. There, she worked as a low-level intelligence analyst helping her unit assess insurgent activity in the area it was patrolling, a role that gave her access to a classified computer network.
She copied hundreds of thousands of military incident logs from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which, among other things, exposed abuses of detainees by Iraqi military officers working with American forces and showed that civilian deaths in the Iraq war were likely much higher than official estimates.
The files she copied also included about 250,000 diplomatic cables from American embassies around the world showing sensitive deals and conversations, dossiers detailing intelligence assessments of Guantánamo detainees held without trial, and a video of an American helicopter attack in Baghdad in two Reuters journalists were killed, among others.
She decided to make all these files public, as she wrote at the time, in the hope that they would incite “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.” WikiLeaks’ disclosed them — working with traditional news organizations including The New York Times — bringing notoriety to the group and its founder, Julian Assange.
As the NYT points out, commuting Manning’s sentence excused the DOD from dealing with Manning’s gender confusion issues:
The commutation also relieved the Department of Defense of the difficult responsibility of her incarceration as she pushes for treatment for her gender dysphoria — including sex reassignment surgery — that the military has no experience providing.
Manning has attemped suicided twice since being imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth.
President Obama’s decision to commute the sentence of an individual who leaked confidential information to Wikileaks is in direct conflict with Democratic rhetoric lambasting Wikileaks for publishing illegally obtained emails from the DNC and Hillary adviser, John Podesta.
Wikileaks is only evil when it’s politically expedient. At least if you’re a Democrat.
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