Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul says Bradley Manning has already served enough time in jail for leaking classified materials to the website Wikileaks and should be released from prison.
During an online Reddit AMA chat session
, the Texas Republican said that while Manning, who now says he wants to become a woman named Chelsea, should have been punished for civil disobedience and breaking the law, his time in jail since 2010 is sufficient.
"He deserves some punishment, but he has already received (in my estimation) excessive amounts of punishment. He has been in prison for over 3 years as well as tortured, and most military personnel who are caught committing war crimes never receive any penalties," Paul wrote.
"I think he should be released now, that he has done us a great service by letting the people know the truth," Paul, a former presidential candidate, added. "[He's] a whistleblower in my estimation, and I believe his goal was to inform the American people of the truth about what was happening in the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars."
Manning, who was a private in the Army, was behind the biggest breach of classified data in the nation's history. He provided hundreds of thousands of classified files to WikiLeaks. He was sentenced on Wednesday to 35 years in prison
, but is expected to be eligible for parole in 7 years.
His attorneys are petitioning the White House for a presidential pardon.
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