Par­don us

A de­serter, a con­victed traitor and an NSA leaker push for clemency

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Robert Knight Robert Knight is a se­nior fel­low for the Amer­i­can Civil Rights Union.

Pres­i­dent Obama, who leaves of­fice on Jan. 20, is get­ting an ear­ful from lib­er­als urg­ing him to is­sue par­dons in three high­pro­file na­tional se­cu­rity cases. The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union (ACLU) is lead­ing an ef­fort to per­suade him to grant clemency to con­victed clas­si­fied doc­u­ment leaker Chelsea Man­ning, a for­mer U.S. Army pri­vate.

The ACLU, along with left­ist bil­lion­aire Ge­orge Soros, is also urg­ing Mr. Obama to par­don Ed­ward Snow­den, the for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency con­trac­tor who gave hun­dreds of thou­sands of clas­si­fied in­tel­li­gence doc­u­ments to Wik­iLeaks and is liv­ing in ex­ile in Rus­sia.

Hailed as a whistle­blower by the ACLU, Mr. Snow­den cost the United States “crit­i­cal for­eign in­tel­li­gence col­lec­tion sources,” Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence James

Clap­per tes­ti­fied be­fore the Se­nate Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence Congress in 2014.

“What Snow­den has stolen and ex­posed has gone way, way be­yond his pro­fessed con­cerns with so-called do­mes­tic sur­veil­lance pro­grams.… As a con­se­quence, the na­tion is less safe and its peo­ple less se­cure.”

Mean­while, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who faces an April 18 trial on de­ser­tion charges for leav­ing his unit in Afghanistan in 2009 and get­ting cap­tured by the Tal­iban, is also seek­ing a pres­i­den­tial par­don.

Sgt. Bergdahl was re­leased in May 2014 in ex­change for five Tal­iban com­man­ders who had been held at Guan­tá­namo Bay. Mr. Obama ap­peared with Sgt. Bergdahl’s par­ents in the White House’s Rose Gar­den to an­nounce the news.

Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Su­san E. Rice, whose cred­i­bil­ity has been in ques­tion since she fa­mously — and er­ro­neously — claimed on na­tional Sun­day news pro­grams that a YouTube video had trig­gered the ter­ror­ist at­tack on the U.S. com­pound in Beng­hazi in 2012, said Sgt. Bergdahl had served with “honor and dis­tinc­tion.”

This ticked off a lot of peo­ple, in­clud­ing men in his unit in Afghanistan who had con­ducted dan­ger­ous searches for the miss­ing sol­dier.

Rep. Mike Coff­man, a Colorado Repub­li­can and Marine Corps vet­eran, warned in a let­ter this week to Mr. Obama that par­don­ing Sgt. Bergdahl would “se­ri­ously un­der­mine the mil­i­tary court-mar­tial process and send the wrong mes­sage to the hun­dreds of thou­sands of men and women in uni­form who have served hon­or­ably in com­bat.”

As for Pfc. Man­ning, he was con­victed in 2013 and sen­tenced to 35 years in prison for leak­ing clas­si­fied doc­u­ments.

In 2010, then-Bradley Man­ning, who has since de­clared an iden­tity as a trans­gen­der named Chelsea, gave Wik­iLeaks 250,000 diplo­matic ca­bles, nearly 400,000 mil­i­tary re­ports and a video of a 2007 U.S. airstrike in Bagh­dad that killed two Reuters em­ploy­ees.

Mil­i­tary of­fi­cials tes­ti­fied that the pub­li­ca­tion of un-redacted “war logs” from Iraq had likely put for­eign na­tion­als in jeop­ardy who had risked work­ing with the United States.

Also, “a copy of the Afghanistan in­ci­dent re­ports was found in Osama bin Laden‘s Pak­istan com­pound af­ter the raid that killed him,” the Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported.

The ex­po­sure of hun­dreds of thou­sands of diplo­matic ca­bles caused “headaches around the globe as the pri­vate stances of al­lied na­tions — which some­times dif­fered from pub­lic com­ments — were laid bare,” ac­cord­ing to the Jour­nal. “Of­fi­cials have said the re­lease of doc­u­ments has made some na­tions more hes­i­tant to share in­tel­li­gence or work with the U.S.”

The let­ter sent on Man­ning’s be­half on Dec. 5 to Pres­i­dent Obama was signed by the ACLU and 16 other LGBT or pro-LGBT or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Women, Im­mi­gra­tion Equal­ity and the League of United Latin Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens.

The groups urge Mr. Obama to al­low Man­ning “a first chance to live a real, mean­ing­ful life as the per­son she was born to be.”

In July, Man­ning at­tempted a sui­cide. On Sept. 13, Man­ning ended a four-day hunger strike af­ter Army of­fi­cials bowed to an ACLU de­mand that the gov­ern­ment pay for male-to-fe­male surgery for Man­ning, who is in an all-male prison in Leav­en­worth, Kansas and suf­fers from “gen­der dys­pho­ria.”

“This is a mon­u­men­tal day for Chelsea… Thank­fully the gov­ern­ment has rec­og­nized its con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion to pro­vide Chelsea with the med­i­cal care that she needs,” said ACLU staff at­tor­ney Chase Stran­gio in a press re­lease.

The ACLU prob­a­bly found the

On Sept. 13, Man­ning ended a four-day hunger strike af­ter Army of­fi­cials bowed to an ACLU de­mand that the gov­ern­ment pay for male-to-fe­male surgery for Man­ning.

“con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion” to spend tax dol­lars to sur­gi­cally turn a man into a woman some­where be­tween the “penum­bras” and “em­a­na­tions” that the Supreme Court first mag­i­cally un­veiled in 1973’s Roe v. Wade and whose spirit was con­jured up again in last year’s Oberge­fell v. Hodges rul­ing re­defin­ing mar­riage.

In other words, they just made it up.

ILLUSTRATION BY HUNTER

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