During President Obama’s final White House press conference on Wednesday, he said that Chelsea Manning has “served a tough a prison sentence” and defended his decision to commute Manning’s prison sentence.
Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking roughly 700,000 classified documents.
Obama said that he commuted the sentence because Manning went to trial, took responsibility for the crimes that were committed, and received a sentence that was harsher than other leakers have received in the past.
“The sentence she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received,” the President said.
He added that even though Manning only served seven years of the 35 year prison sentence, the message will still deter others from leaking classified information.
“I feel very comfortable that justice has been served and that a message has still been sent,” President Obama added.
“So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital, classified information would think that it goes unpunished, I don’t think they would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served,” he said.
Julian Assange recently tweeted about agreeing to extradition to the U.S. if Obama commuted Manning’s sentence. President Obama said that he didn’t take that into consideration.
“I don’t pay much attention to Mr. Assange’s tweets, so that wasn’t a consideration,” he said.
Manning was sentenced in to 35 years imprisonment in 2013 after being convicted by a military court. Manning was originally arrested in 2010.
On Tuesday, Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence, as a part of 209 commutations he had issued that day. Manning is now scheduled to be released on May 17.