The Atlantic

In Defense of the Chelsea Manning Commutation

Those who worry that it undermines state secrets would do better to start addressing the core reasons that the classification system is losing legitimacy.

Source: Elijah Nouvelage / Reuters

On Tuesday, President Obama commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, a former Army analyst who violated several laws that forbid disclosing facts that have been declared classified by the U.S. government. Laws against revealing state secrets are intended to protect national security and the safety of the men and women who serve in the military and intelligence services. Those are worthy aims and the laws are defensible in principle.

In practice, the legitimacy of state-secrets laws has been undermined

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic10 min read
The Most Polarizing Education Reformer in New York City
In a new memoir, Eva Moskowitz recounts how her revered—and notorious—Success Academy charter-school network came to be.
The AtlanticPolitics
Theresa May's Case for a Two-Year Transition Period After Brexit
The Atlantic3 min read
Building Mentorship Out of Trauma
The haunting things Bob Lang once saw as a firefighter have influenced the advice he now gives to young colleagues in his work as a lawyer.