Should Chelsea Manning Be Elected For The U.S. Senate?

Should Chelsea Manning Be Elected For The U.S. Senate?

Chelsea Manning formerly known as Private Bradley Manning has recently announced that she will run for U.S. Senate. An LGBT activist and a convicted felon who leaked government documents, Manning was released from prison early after President Obama commuted the remaining 28-year sentence. Now, Manning is seeking a position in the U.S. Senate.

Chelsea Manning was serving a 35-year prison term for leaking over 700,000 classified documents

On May 21st, 2010, 22-year old Bradley Manning began a series of online conversations with former hacker Adrian Lamo after Lamo was featured in a story published at Wired.com. The discussions lasted for several days and would eventually contain Manning’s confession to releasing documents known as the Iraq and Afghan war logs, the diplomatic cables, and Guantanamo Bay files.

Bradley Manning US Army
PC: United States Army/Wikimedia Commons

Soon discovered after admitting the crimes to Lano, Bradley Manning was arrested and found guilty of leaking over 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks. He was convicted of 20 charges including espionage. However, Manning was later acquitted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison. After the arrest, Manning came out as transgender and chose her new name, Chelsea.

Serving about seven years, Manning was released in 2017 as one of President Obama’s final acts before leaving the oval office. In a press conference, President Obama said that Chelsea Manning had suffered enough. She has already served one of the longest sentences for leaking information. She has already gone to trial and has taken full responsibility for her crime by serving seven years. While the president’s exact reasons for commuting Manning were unclear, it is certain that President Obama believes that Manning has served her time and should now be given a second chance. It is important to note that Manning was commuted not pardoned. This means that her crimes were not forgiven but she was offered a lesser sentence and able to leave prison after seven years.

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Can we trust Chelsea Manning?

Technically speaking, Chelsea Manning has the right to run for the Senate. However, the bigger question is, can we trust her? President Obama may have used his powers to commute Manning, but the fact remains that Chelsea still broke the law. The offense remains on her record. If elected, will she uphold her duties in accordance with the law?

Chelsea Manning
PC: Tim Travers Hawkins/Wikimedia Commons

According to BBC News, Chelsea Manning stated that she released the documents to spark a public debate regarding the U.S. military and the U.S. foreign policy. They reported that she later apologized for her actions as she believed that she could change America for the better. Her leaked documents contained classified information that exposed the government’s negligence. While her efforts may have been noble, she still broke the law as she was charged with keeping the information safe. As part of the U.S. military, she took an oath to obey orders and keep classified information classified. If elected and faced with a similar situation would she once again break the law and risk hurting America?

What are your thoughts on Chelsea Manning? If elected, can we trust her as a U.S. Senator?  Do you think President Obama was correct in commuting her? Express your thoughts in the comments below!