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 Atlantic3 min read
Trump's Paris Climate Accord Indecision
As G7 leaders all reaffirmed their commitment to the groundbreaking agreement, the U.S. president said he’ll think on it.
The Atlantic3 min read
Lil Yachty and Amazon Charts: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing
What Lil Yachty’s Optimism Means Carrie Battan | The New Yorker “Yachty’s music is not incidental to his image, but it is only one aspect of his brand. His songs have always been an entry to his meticulously crafted persona, not the other way around
The Atlantic6 min read
Full Employment: Are We There Yet?
There’s no economic consensus on whether or not the labor market has reached its full potential—or how to judge when it has.