U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning is seeking a presidential pardon after she was convicted in July on 20 criminal counts for providing 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks three years ago. The 25-year-old soldier was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Manning’s chief attorney David Coombs filed the formal application for a presidential pardon on Manning’s behalf on Tuesday, and made the request public online.
In her letter to President Obama, dated Aug. 21, Manning wrote, “The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in.”
She went on to explain that her decision to leak classified documents were done for moral reasons. “We consciously elected to devalue human life in both Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the Enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians.”
Manning’s chances of success would be slim even under a lesser conviction. Obama has pardoned fewer people than any modern president.
The letter went on to discuss the American prison at Guantanamo Bay, patriotism, and her “sense of duty” as a soldier and American.
“When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others,” she wrote. “If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in free society.”