President Barack Obama has put former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning on his short list for a possible commutation, with an announcement expected to arrive possibly as soon as Wednesday.
Although currently serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified material, a Justice Department source told NBC News on Wednesday that Obama is seriously considering commuting Manning's sentence. The whistleblower has been in prison since 2010 for stealing 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables and giving them to WikiLeaks.
Part of the concern over Manning's incarceration stems from the unique tribulations she has suffered as a transgendered woman. Initially named Bradley, Manning announced that she was a woman shortly after her sentencing. Manning has tried to commit suicide twice this year and went on a hunger strike in order to receive gender reassignment surgery. The military finally allowed Manning to undergo the procedure in September.
One prominent supporter of a commutation for Manning was Edward Snowden, another major Obama-era leaker.
Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency as you exit the White House, please: free Chelsea Manning. You alone can save her life.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 11, 2017
The material leaked by Manning included details on the Vatican hiding sex abuse cases in Ireland, America trying to convince Spain to curb its probes of torture at Guantanamo Bay, the FBI training Egyptians on torture tactics (allegedly to denounce them as human rights violations), acknowledgment that the American government knew that the Tunisian government was corrupt even as it continued supporting it, and Israel admitting it wanted to bring Gaza "to the brink of collapse," among other things.