Pentagon head opposed Manning commutation: reports

Pentagon head opposed Manning commutation: reports
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter disagreed with President Obama’s decision to commute former Army soldier Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence, according to multiple reports.

Carter “did not support” reducing Manning’s 35-year sentence for leaking classified information about U.S. national security activities, CNN said Tuesday.

CNN said it confirmed Carter’s opposition with a senior Department of Defense official following Obama’s maneuver earlier Tuesday.

A U.S. official also told ABC News that evening Carter was against the idea of Manning’s sentence getting commuted.

Obama commuted Manning’s sentence earlier Tuesday, cutting what was the longest punishment ever imposed for a leak conviction.

Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information that was later publicly disseminated by WikiLeaks.

The former Army private has already served seven years of her sentence, and will now regain freedom on May 17, 2017. Manning was originally set to be released in 2045.

Manning’s grant came in a batch of 209 commutations and 64 pardons, which were announced with four days left in Obama’s presidency.

A senior administration official said Obama believes Manning is remorseful and has faced “sufficient punishment for the serious crimes she committed.”

Manning, who is transgender, has reportedly struggled with mental health issues during her incarceration. The former soldier has twice attempted suicide, for example, actions which were penalized by her solitary confinement.

An attorney for Manning, meanwhile, voiced gratitude for Obama’s commutation during a MSNBC interview Tuesday.

“If he didn’t act now, Chelsea’s life was very much in jeopardy,” Chase Strangio said. "President Obama acted on the side of justice here. And I truly do believe that this has saved her life.”

Tuesday’s commutation marked a reversal from Obama’s past position on Manning in 2011, when he said the former soldier “broke the law” and deserved punishment.

Manning, who was then known as Bradley, leaked thousands of classified documents pertaining to the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.