In the past month, President Barack Obama has pardoned 78 individuals and commuted the sentences of 153 others. Before the 44th President leaves office next week, he may well commute the sentence of at least one more individual.
According to NBC News, Manning, who collaborated with Wikileaks to release more than 700,000 classified and sensitive documents, is on the outgoing president’s shortlist for sentence commutations, and a decision could possibly come today.
Manning, who President Obama previously said “broke the law,” is serving a 35-year sentence for violation of the Espionage Act, a broad 1917 law that aims to “punish acts of interference with the foreign relations and commerce of the United States,” which critics say unduly keeps whistleblowers from coming forward.
In December, more than 100,000 supporters of Manning signed an online petition on the White House website calling for her to be released, and Army intelligence officers have told NBC News that documents leaked by Manning “pale in significance to highly classified top secret material released by [Edward] Snowden,” who is still living in an undisclosed location in Russia as he seeks asylum.
Manning, who twice attempted suicide in the past year, told The Guardian that a personal petition she sent to Obama in November was “the last real chance to make my case to go home for a very long time.”