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President Obama Defends Chelsea Manning Commutation

President Obama defended his decision to commute the sentence of whistle-blower Chelsea Manning in the final press conference of his presidency Wednesday.

“Let’s be clear, Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence.” Obama said in response to a question from Reuters’ Jeff Mason.

“It has been my view that, given she…took responsibility for her crime, that the sentence that she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received…that it made sense to commute, and not pardon, her sentence,” Obama argued.

Obama continued, saying he “felt very comfortable that justice has been served.”

However, Obama expressed hope that whistleblowers in the future would “work through the established channels and avail themselves of the whistleblower protections that have been put in place.”

Manning was convicted under the Espionage Act in 2013. She served less than 7 years of her original 35-year sentence.