White House would consider Manning pardon request

The White House said Wednesday that it would consider a clemency petition for Bradley Manning "like any other application" after the Army private was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking a cache of documents to WikiLeaks. 

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"There's a process for pardon applications or clemency applications, I believe they're called," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "And I'm not going to get ahead of that process. If there is an application that's filed by Mr. Manning or his attorneys, that application will be considered in that process like any other application."

Manning's attorney said shortly after his sentencing that he would ask the White House for a pardon. He added that even if the president did not do so, Obama should commute Manning's sentence to time already served.

"What's at stake here is how do we as a public want to be informed about what our government does," attorney David Coombs said, according to The Wrap.

Manning will be up for parole after serving a third of his sentence. With time served, he could be considered eligible in less than a decade. His conviction on five counts of espionage and five counts of theft carried a maximum sentence of 136 years in federal prison.

Before his sentencing, Manning publicly apologized for having leaked the more than 700,00 pages of classified information.

"I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I'm sorry I hurt the United States," he told the court. "I understood what I was doing was wrong, but I didn't appreciate the broader effects of my actions."

Earlier Wednesday, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said Manning received a "light sentence" for having "put the lives of our troops and allies in danger."

"Given the vast damage he did to our national security and the need to send a strong signal to others who may be tempted to disclose classified information, this is a dangerous conclusion,” McKeon said in a statement.

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