Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) criticized President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence for espionage and theft for leaking classified and sensitive documents, which will allow her to leave prison this May after spending seven years behind bars.
“Manning broke the law and betrayed her country,” said Faso in a release earlier today. “With this ill-advised action, President Obama sets a dangerous precedent for our national security.”
Faso said the leaks put “our fighting forces on the ground as well as embedded allies at risk.”
Manning, a former U.S. Army soldier assigned in 2009 as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, was convicted of violating the Espionage Act in connection with the 2010 leak of nearly three-quarters of a million classified and sensitive military and diplomatic documents. Manning, born Bradley Manning, is a transgender woman; following her arrest, she announced she wanted to be known as Chelsea.
The cables were released through Wikileaks, launching the previously little known transparency organization into worldwide prominence and ushering in a new era of digital leaks on a mass scale. Unlike Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who, three years later would leak documents concerning previously unknown global and domestic surveillance programs and flee the country before his identity could be known, Manning remained at her post in Iraq and was quickly detained.
In chat logs with a former hacker named Adrian Lomo, Manning said she’d become disillusioned with the U.S. role in Iraq. “i was actively involved in something that i was completely against,” she wrote, saying she hoped the leaks would result in “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms. if not … than [sic] we’re doomed as a species.”
Manning has been imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.