Charlie Savage of the New York Times breaks the news:
President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted the administration and made WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures, famous.
The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to kill herself last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the men’s military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.
The act of clemency could be seen as a reversal, at least in part, of the Obama administration’s unprecedented criminal crackdown on leaking: The administration has brought charges in about nine cases, about twice as many as under all previous presidents combined.
In addition, Gen. James Cartwright was pardoned today, as reported by Katie Bo Williams at the Hill:
President Obama on Tuesday pardoned retired Gen. James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff accused of lying to the FBI about his conversations with reporters regarding U.S. efforts to cripple Iran’s nuclear program.
Cartwright pleaded guilty in October to one felony count of making false statements during the FBI’s investigation into leaks about the government’s role in a highly classified operation known as Operation Olympic Games.
The clandestine effort — untaken with Israel — deployed a computer virus known as Stuxnet that destroyed Iranian centrifuges used in creating nuclear fuel.
Both of these cases were troubling when they were first heard, and helped set the precedent for the treatment of leakers that the president-elect has already pledged to continue. Nevertheless, this is a positive development. Your move, Julian Assange.