<< News Scan | Main | News Scan >>

Treason? Not a Problem!

Among the most astonishing and damaging security breaches in decades took place when then-Sergeant Bradley Manning (who now calls himself/herself "Chelsea") released massive amounts of classified national security information to Wikileaks. But, hey, we gotta have second chances!  Thus, the Hill reports:

President Obama on Tuesday commuted the prison sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, according to the White House. 

Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information about U.S. national security activities that were later disclosed by WikiLeaks.  The 35-year sentence Manning received was the longest ever imposed for a leak conviction. Manning has already served seven years of her sentence and will now be released on May 17, 2017. 

She was originally set to be released be released in 2045. 

Yup, getting your sentence chopped by 80% for grossly compromising national security while you're serving in the armed forces is just what the doctor ordered.

By any sane reckoning, this is a scandal that exponentially dwarfs the Marc Rich affair.  No wonder Obama waited until about 70 hours before he exits the White House.

UPDATE:  I was quoted on this commutation in the up-to-the-minute journal, Lifezette, here.



Obama is a thoroughly loathsome creature. The clemency to the FALN terrorist is equally disgusting.

It is, as you say, equally disgusting -- and equally revealing, in at least two ways.

First, so much for the "low level, non-violent" offender tripe. The FALN terrorist planted over 100 bombs.

Second, both commutations were given to enemies of America. Now why would a person grant clemency to America's enemies? The answer is clear to me: Because the grantor thinks America is a sinister, shameful country that deserves what these criminals had in mind for it.

The frightening thing is that Obama has another 60 hours in which to do yet more damage.

A constitutional amendment to cabin this gross abuse of the executive's clemency power is going to have to be considered.

I once got a member of the California Assembly to introduce an amendment that would limit the governor to reprieves, not pardons or commutations, during the lame duck period. It was killed in committee.

I do not seek to defend these clemencies, but I do find interesting the assertion than the Manning commutation is so much worse than the Rich pardon.

Though I am not an expect on national security offenses, it is my understanding that sentences of a decade or less are far more common for such offenses and thus a kind of sentencing parity claim could be made on Manning's behalf. Do you see any merit to even such a suggestion, Bill, or in your view is it so obvious than Manning's offense is multiple times worse than others' and thus plainly merited a sentence that was multiple times worse.

Here's another perspective, questioning whether national security was really "grossly compromised" and comparing Manning's sentence to others for similar or more serious offenses. And great balls of fire, the claim that the President granted a commutation because he "thinks America is a sinister, shameful country" is just absurd hyperbole. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2017/01/why_president_obama_was_right_to_grant_chelsea_manning_clemency.html

This is correct, but it is also fair to observe that the scope of Pvt. Manning's offense involved theft and disclosure of over 250,000 diplomatic cables and nearly a half million military communications. Just as amount of loss drives economic crime sentences, the sheer volume of Manning's unlawful disclosures may fairly be seen to be the driver of the 35-year sentence. If it is out of the heartland of such military sentences, that should not be surprising: so was the offense far outside the heartland of such offenses.

Besides, it was a parolable sentence. Manning would have served at most about as long as the ACCA would doom some poor schmuck caught with a Saturday Night Special and three prior burglaries. I just don't find the length of his parolable sentencing grossly disproportionate to his offense.

For an obvious reason, your article does not even mention the Afghan War Diaries.

Catherine Herridge reported yesterday how it provided descriptions of people who helped us in specific towns. If an informant was described as 5'10", short black hair, and 195 pounds, in the days after the release on Wikileaks Taliban soldiers were rounding up and killing ALL men who fit that description.

There are two possible logical options behind Obama's actions. 1) What Bill described above; or 2) a political move aimed at the LGBT community.

Both reasons are reprehensible.

Notablogger: I get that you are a liberal, and I get that ascribing harsh descriptors to soon-to-be ex-President Obama seems over the top, but objectively speaking, many of Obama's actions and pronouncements do not bespeak a love of country that most would associate with a President. To name a few:

(1) His comment during the 2008 election campaign: "We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there."

Spin as you want, the use of the word "just" discounted the enormous lengths to which American servicemen go to prevent civilian deaths, even at the risk of their own lives. And what patriot would wrongly disparage an American war effort?

(2) Or this humbling of America: "My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that."

Does that sound remotely patriotic? An insinuation that America has become a "colonial power" or that somehow we have the earn the respect of the Muslim world?

So yes, notablogger, there are ample reasons to question Obama's love of country. And now we see this--Manning, in the midst of a war where American (and allies') lives are at stake, decides to do a data dump of information irrespective of consequences. The NYTimes reported that we had to act quickly to protect compromised people, and there is little doubt Manning made the troops' job more difficult and, hence, more dangerous. (Query: how would you feel if you were facing enemy fire and had some little twerp like Manning indiscriminately dumping info that helped the enemy?)

What makes Obama's commutation here even more sickening--the very words Obama has used to speak of the bonds between servicemen and the commander-in-chief. He spoke in terms of a "sacred bond." Is commuting Manning's sentence to a mere 7 years remotely consistent with that rhetoric? No. It's a stab in the back.

The LA Times reports, "Defense Secretary Ashton Carter did not support the commutation of Manning's sentence, according to U.S. officials who wouldn't comment on the matter publicly."

At some point we will probably get "tell all" books that tell us what went on inside the Administration on this issue. I doubt Mr. Carter will write it, though. He doesn't seem like the type. I can just imagine what the military brass said, probably in words we couldn't quote here.

I take it, notablogger, that you have no response to the criticism here. Amazing how you will remain mute in the face of POTUS speaking in terms of a "sacred bond" between the C-in-C and the troops then chopping decades off the sentence of a guy who harmed them so grievously in the field of battle.

I get it, you like POTUS, but it is unfair to talk about "absurd hyperbole" and then not address facts.

"I get it, you like POTUS"

Hmmm. You posted that at 11:27 am EST January 20, so you probably hold the record for the shortest expiration of truth on this blog: 33 minutes.


Maybe a secret Freudian slip on my part--Four More Years!

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives