Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst in prison for leaking diplomatic information, has had nearly all of the multi-decade sentence imposed by a military judge commuted this afternoon by President Barack Obama only three days from his exit from the seat of President. Although the news that Manning was on the short list for a Presidential commutation has been out for a good few days now, the deed is now done.
The leaks are one of the major claims Wikileaks has to fame and, alongside the Edward Snowden situation, created the current political climate surrounding whistle-blowers we live in today. The incoming president was unlikely to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning and such a high-profile commutation would be a jarring move politically, so it makes good sense that Obama postponed the commutation so late.
The entire sentence of forty-five years previously looming over Manning is now just seven short months. Manning had been showing signs of mental health deterioration during the prison term, ultimately attempting suicide twice. The sentence of Manning was record-setting, as previous cases ranged just a handful of years. This made the fact that Manning pleaded guilty outside of a plea agreement all the more shocking when the sentence came down.
Manning believed that such a plea would show the faith held in the military justice system and the reasoning behind the leak. The judge was less than understanding, but it seems this plea was heard by President Obama. Manning faces a difficult road now with media attention and political disagreement, but Manning will be able to spend it outside of prison soon.