You probably thought that the story of Bradley Manning had come to a close, and for the most part you’d be right. But there are still some inevitable legal details to play out, and one of those which everyone saw coming took place this week. Manning’s defense team has officially requested a pardon from the President of the United States. (Ed noted that this was going to happen several weeks ago.) The Daily Mail covers the details, using the oh so politically correct trend of referring to Manning as a lady.
Chelsea Manning is seeking a presidential pardon for handing U.S state secrets to the WikiLeaks website because it was done ‘out of a love for my country’.
According to documents released today, Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, has sent a Petition for Pardon to President Barack Obama.
The White House said last month that if Manning requested a presidential pardon she would be considered the same as anyone else.
In the petition she wrote that she had started questioning the morality of U.S. actions in Iraq and Afghanistan while reading secret military reports.
She said: ‘When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and sense of duty to others.’
Manning acknowledged she had broken the law, adding, ‘I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States.’
Manning signed the petition ‘Bradley Manning’, not Chelsea, as her name has not legally been changed.
This was a given, and virtually anyone who finds themselves convicted in a “controversial” case such as this with a national spotlight will often apply for a pardon. One of the legal experts contacted by the Daily Mail rated Manning’s petition as having a ‘zero per cent’ chance of success. And at least for the time being, that might not be a far fetched analysis. The President has already disappointed and disillusioned his most faithful, far Left allies by being the stingiest President of the modern era when it comes to the power of the pardon. (The Oval Office approves just 2% of applications these days.)
Of course, that may change quite a bit in 2016. Presidents are famous – or infamous – for granting a flurry of requests during the final months of their terms. Bill Clinton is an excellent example, having granted a total of 150 pardons over his eight years in office, but 140 of those all came on January 20, 2001. Would Obama do something similar? Some may believe that he would fret over his legacy in a case like this, and by the time he leaves office Manning would have only served roughly three years – or less than 10% – of his sentence. That’s far less time than convicts typically serve before getting a pardon. But who knows? Stranger things have happened.