WASHINGTON — President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning,
the Army private serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified military secrets to
Wikileaks, the White House said Tuesday.
Manning will be released May 17 after serving nearly seven years for stealing and
releasing secret cables that divulged U.S. military and diplomatic operations The
soldier, who was convicted under the name of Bradley Manning and now identifies
herself as a woman, attracted widespread support from privacy advocates and
transgender activists who complained that she couldn’t get the medical help she
needed in the military prison in Leavenworth, Kan.
The action brought immediate rebuke from Republicans on Capitol Hill. House Speaker
Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called it “outrageous” and said it set “a dangerous precedent that
those who compromise our national security won’t be held accountable for their
crimes.” “I don’t understand why the president would feel special compassion for
someone who endangered the lives of our troops, diplomats, intelligence officers,
and allies,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. “We ought not treat a traitor like a martyr.”
Obama also granted full pardons in a number of high-profile cases, including:
► Former general James Cartwright, convicted last October of lying to the FBI in a
leak investigation. The former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was accused
of lying about his role in disclosing classified information about the use of the Stuxnet
computer virus to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.
► Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, convicted of tax evasion in 1996.
► Ian Schrager, co-founder of New York’s famed Studio 54 nightclub, convicted of
tax fraud in 1980.
Those names were among the list of 64 pardons and 209 commutations Obama
granted Tuesday, with less than four days left in his presidency, bringing his total
number of acts of clemency to 212 pardons and 1,385 commutations.
Though the Unlike full pardons, which extinguish all the legal consequences of a
conviction, a commutation has the more limited effect of shortening a sentence while
leaving other consequences intact.
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