Barack Obama explained why he commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence as held his last press conference as president on Wednesday.
“First of all, let’s be clear,” Obama said. “Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence. The notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital classfieid information would think that it goes unpunished, I don’t think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelse aManning has served.”
“The sentence she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received,” he continued. “It made sense to commute, and not pardon, her sentence. I feel very comfortable that justice has been served and a message has still been sent. When it comes to our national security, we have folks who may have legitimate concerns about the agencies where they work that they work through the established channels and whistleblower protection.”
“When it comes to national security, we are dealing with people whose lives may be put at risk. That has to be kept in mind. With respect to WikiLeaks, I don’t see a contradiction. I haven’t commented on WikiLeaks often. I don’t pay a lot of attention to Mr. Assange’s tweets so that wasn’t a consideration in this instance.”
Obama said commuting Manning’s sentence was “entirely appropriate.”
On Tuesday, the president commuted the majority of Manning’s sentence — who was supposed to be released in 2045.