With classified information being leaked by just about everyone, now is a better time than ever for political officials in this country to form a stance on how to handle the issue. Recently, former President Barack Obama chopped off almost the entirety of a 35-year prison sentence of former army soldier Chelsea Manning. Manning was convicted of leaking 750,000 documents to Wiki-Leaks, which proceeded to release the files to the public back in 2010.
The decision came in the wake of the controversy surrounding the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to aid President Donald Trump in the presidential campaign. Many opponents of Trump, including Obama, were very critical of Russia’s actions and claimed that Russia tainted the outcome of the election.
What many of those people overlook is that there were attempts by Russia to hack the Republican National Committee (RNC) as well, but their security defenses were better than the DNC’s.
Whatever stance people take regarding the leaking of classified information, it should be seen as concerning that so much of this country’s information is easily hackable.
When Obama condemns Russia for leaking classified material, but commutes a former American soldier’s prison sentence for similar actions, he is sending a conflicting message regarding the issue. The message Obama has inadvertently sent is that it is wrong to leak classified information unless the president says that it is not.
To use an analogy, the leaking of classified information is like stealing a cookie from a cookie jar. If you are told not to steal a cookie, you should follow orders and not steal the cookie. Now imagine two people who steal a cookie and only one person getting chastised or punished for it. It comes off as a double standard and is simply not fair. Yet, there may be a viable reason behind the double standard being applied here.
Some have speculated that Manning identity a transgender woman may have played a role in Obama shaving off most of her sentence. Nothing has officially been verified, but it is understandable why there would be concern about the imprisonment of a transgender convict.
Manning was to spend her sentence in a male prison. It would be naïve to think that a transgender woman in a male prison would not be treated with merciless cruelty and violence.
If that was the case, then Manning should have been sentenced to solitary confinement until there was a means of insuring her protection and safety in a public prison. Not an ideal scenario, but it is still a preferable alternative to allowing Manning to basically get off the hook for leaking classified information.
Again, some people may feel that the public needs to be informed about what is happening behind the scenes of American politics. Yet, it is important for certain things to be kept secret in order to prevent outside forces from using that information to their advantage.
If President Obama felt that Manning could be spared punishment for leaking classified information, then he should have shown the same sense of leniency toward Russia’s hacking of the DNC and attempted hacking of the RNC. Instead, Obama only furthered the sense of division and confusion many feel as Trump has officially come into power.