President Obama has put Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified material, on his short list for a possible commutation, a Justice Department source told NBC News.
A decision could come as soon as Wednesday for Manning, who has tried to commit suicide twice this year and went on a hunger strike in a bid for gender reassignment surgery.
“I have more hope right now than I have the entire time since she was sentenced,” Manning’s aunt, Deborah Manning, told NBC News.
“I do think it’s the last hope for a while.”
Manning — then known as Bradley — was locked up in 2010 after swiping 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables and giving them to Wikileaks.
Prosecutors branded Manning a “traitor” seeking notoriety in the world of hackers and anarchists. Manning’s lawyers painted their client as a naive whistle-blower who caused little more than mortification.
Manning pleaded guilty and before the sentencing delivered an apology to the court — and the nation.
“I’m sorry,” Manning said. “I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States.”
“I understand that I must pay the price for my decisions and actions,” Manning added.
Those words of contrition did not sway the military judge, who gave Manning a sentence about 10 times longer than those of recent whistle-blowers.