President Obama announced on Tuesday that he will be commuting the majority of Chelsea Manning’s remaining prison sentence. Manning was sentenced to a 35-year prison sentence in 2010 for leaking classified government and military information to the website, Wikileaks, while she was a military intelligence analyst.
Chelsea Manning was previously known as Bradley Manning, but after her conviction, she announced that she identified as woman and legally changed her name. Even though she identifies as a woman, her sentence is being served at a men’s military prison. Reports from her lawyers indicate that Manning tried to commit suicide twice during her stay at the men’s prison.
During her prison sentence, she went on a hunger strike in hopes that the government would provide her reassignment surgery. Her hunger strike was a success and the government agreed to pay for the reassignment surgery as well as hormone treatment. The decision led to the government agreeing to provide the same treatment to all transgender troops. The estimated cost of the government providing hormones and surgeries would be $2.4 million to $8.4 million a year.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Josh Earnest addressed the question that many have, will Edward Snowden also be pardoned? Snowden was a whistleblower to the NSA and is currently living in Russia after his passport was revoked by the United States government. Earnest showed no signs of Preisdent Obama pardoning Snowden,
“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.”
While Snowden will not be pardoned under President Obama, Manning and 208 other prisoners look forward to their sentences being commuted shortly.
(h/t New York Times)