Barack Obama shows clemency to Manning, intelligence analyst behind leaks

In one of his final acts before leaving office, President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former US military intelligence analyst behind the biggest breach of classified materials in US history.VIDEO: REUTERS
This file photo taken on July 30, 2013 shows US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning leaving a military court facility after hearing his verdict in the trial at Fort Meade, Maryland.
This file photo taken on July 30, 2013 shows US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning leaving a military court facility after hearing his verdict in the trial at Fort Meade, Maryland.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - In one of his final acts before leaving office, President Barack Obama on Tuesday (Jan 17) commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former US military intelligence analyst behind the biggest breach of classified materials in US history, the White House said.

Manning has been a focus of a worldwide debate on government secrecy since she provided more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks - a leak for which she was sentenced to serve 35 years in prison.

Manning, formerly known as US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, was born male but revealed after being convicted of espionage that she identifies as a woman.

Manning, who is held at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, military prison, accepted responsibility for leaking the material, and has said she was confronting gender dysphoria at the time of the leaks while deployed in Iraq.

 

Her sentence will now expire on May 17, the White House said.

Manning was working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2010 when she gave WikiLeaks a trove of diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts that included a 2007 gunsight video of a US Apache helicopter firing at suspected insurgents in Iraq, killing a dozen people including two Reuters news staff.

Her attorney had argued her sentence exceeded international legal norms, and she has twice attempted suicide.