Chelsea Manning on Obama's 'shortlist' for commutation: report

Army document leaker Chelsea Manning is on President Obama's shortlist for a possible sentence commutation, NBC News reported Wednesday.

The decision could reportedly come as soon as Wednesday, the network reported, citing a Justice Department source.

"I have more hope right now than I have the entire time since she was sentenced," Manning's aunt, Deborah Manning, told NBC News. "I do think it's the last hope for a while."


Manning, a former Army analyst, was sentenced to 35 years in prison after leaking thousands of classified documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to WikiLeaks.

Manning pleaded guilty to the charges and apologized to the court before sentencing.

"I'm sorry," Manning said at the time. "I'm sorry that my actions hurt people. I'm sorry that they hurt the United States.

"I understand that I must pay the price for my decisions and actions."

Manning, who is transgender, asked Obama for clemency in November, citing harsh treatment in jail.

Manning has served seven years of her sentence; she has twice tried to commit suicide and went on a hunger strike in a bid for gender reassignment surgery. 

Manning's lawyers argued she has already served the longest sentence of "any other whistleblower in American history" and that Obama should be influenced by the harsh conditions she has been subjected to while in prison.

petition asking the president to commute Manning's prison sentence reached the threshold last month to receive a response from the White House.

Chase Strangio, Manning's attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, called on Obama to "do the right thing." 

“The Obama administration has done many commendable things to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, but in the case of Chelsea Manning they have systematically mistreated her and denied her access to medically recommended gender-related health care," he said. 

"Chelsea won’t survive another 5 years in prison, much less another 30. President Obama has 9 days to do the right thing and commute her sentence. The world is watching, and we hope that he stands on the side of justice, and that his legacy will be one of standing up for trans people’s rights, not having extinguished one of our community’s brightest lights," he said. 

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, added: "Chelsea Manning is a compassionate, thoughtful, brilliant human being whose actions have always been motivated by the same thing: her desire to help people and make the world a better place. She has suffered enough. President Obama should act now to right this wrong before it’s too late."  

Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who also leaked documents to Wikileaks and has also sought a pardon from President Obama, tweeted Wednesday morning: "Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency as you exit the White House, please: free Chelsea Manning. You alone can save her life."  
Kristina Wong contributed.