President Obama has now commuted more sentences than any previous President. From what I can tell, a lot of there are non-violent drug offenders and others whose sentences are arguably out of proportion to the reality of their offense. So far, so good.
But then there's this:
“Chelsea Elizabeth Manning – Oklahoma City, OKI don't know what the President's reasons were for this action. But for the life of me, I can't think of any good reasons for doing it. Why???
Offense: One specification of wrongful and wanton publication to the internet intelligence belonging to the United States; five specifications of stealing, purloining or knowingly converting U.S. government records; six specifications of willful communication of information relating to the national defense; one specification of willful communication of information in unlawful possession; one specification of willful communication of information relating to the national defense by exceeding authorized access to a U.S. government computer; one specification of willful communication of information relating to the national defense obtained by accessing a U.S. government computer; five specifications of failure to obey order or regulation; U.S. Army Court Martial
Sentence: 35 years’ imprisonment (August 21, 2013)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on May 17, 2017.”
The sentence (35 years) might be argued to be excessive. But the 7 years that results from this commutation seems horrible inadequate to the offense. So no obvious service of justice.
The politics don't look particular good either. At best, it will leave the GOP, with its new-found enthusiasm for WikiLeaks, in an awkward position. Which doesn't seem to me to be anywhere near an adequate reason.
So what was he thinking? My quick google of the subject found various other people giving reasons why it was appropriate. But no sign of what Obama himself was thinking. Maybe he will enlighten us during his last press conference....