An Army judge has denied Chelsea Manning’s request for clemency and upheld the 35-year sentence she received after being convicted of leaking a trove of classified information to the whistelblower website Wikileaks in 2010.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan had rejected Manning’s request on Thursday, but the Army issued a press release Monday announcing his decision. Manning was convicted last year of 20 different offenses and was sentenced by Judge Denise Lind. She was acquitted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, a crime punishable by death.
Manning’s lawyer said Monday that the decision did not come as a surprise, and that this is only one setback. ”We anticipated it, and we’re prepared to go forward with the appeal,” Nancy Hollander, Manning’s new appeals lawyer, told the Huffington Post. Manning’s legal team has said it will seek a presidential pardon, although the White House has said it will not consider a pardon until all appeals have finished.
Manning’s sentence is the longest given to anyone convicted of leaking information and her case ignited widespread debate over the Obama adminstration’s uneven treatment of whistleblowers and leakers. Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden also faces decades in prison for leaking information about the NSA’s secret mass surveillance programs. The Washington Post and The Guardian US won the Pulitzer Prize Monday for reporting on Snowden’s revelations.
Manning has been held at a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., since August 2013. The day after her sentencing, Manning announced through her attorney David Coombs that despite being known until that point as Bradley Manning, she was a transgender woman. “I am Chelsea Manning,” she said in a letter read on TODAY. “I am a female.”