Anyone who releases private information to WikiLeaks is a traitor, according to Mike Pence — except when it benefits the Trump camp, it seems.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence said on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier” Wednesday that President Obama’s decision to shorten Private Chelsea Manning’s 35 year prison sentence “was a mistake.”
Manning, a transgender woman who was born Bradley Edward Manning, was convicted in 2013 for leaking three-quarters of a million classified or sensitive military and diplomatic documents that were published by WikiLeaks. Manning’s 35-year sentence was the longest punishment imposed for leaking secretive information.
However on Wednesday, Obama ordered the intelligence analyst to be released on May 17, 2017 because he believed the sentence that she was given was much higher than was deserved.
“The president is commuting her sentence to time served plus 120 days in order to ensure that the sentence that she served is comparable to the sentence handed down to others who committed comparable crimes,” said a White House official Wednesday. “...The president believed those six years [served] behind bars was sufficient punishment.”
But, it seems some Republicans disagree. Pence echoed the sentiments of Republican Sen. Tom Cotton on Fox News and stated, “Private Manning is a traitor and should not have been turned into a martyr.”
As for Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, he said that if he is extradited to the U.S., Trump’s government will “bring to bear the law on his actions and bear him accountable.”
Yet, he did not criticize Assange’s tactics when he published emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, because they obviously benefited the Trump establishment.
“We have to be so serious on the subject of protecting our nation’s secrets,” said Pence, yet his condemnations are always absent when Trump himself tweets to the world about sensitive subjects important for the nation’s security or diplomatic relations.
Here is what Twitter users have to say about the hypocritical Republicans’ comments.
As for Obama, he said his decision arose from the fact that Manning had “served a tough prison sentence.”
“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 would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served,” he said in the news conference.
Manning has previously applied for leniency through the Department of Justice. Given her suicide attempts in addition to abuses in prison, including solitary confinement, it was expected her sentence would be commuted.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Handout via Reuters