President Obama performed one of his last acts of mercy by commuting former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Manning a transgender female, famously caused what is known as one of the largest breaches of classified material in US history by leaking 750,000 sensitive documents that disclosed American military and diplomatic communications. She has thus spent the last 7 years, in a men’s prison. For the first 11 months of her 35 year sentence, Manning was kept in solitary confinement, and was also denied appropriate, medically necessary transition-related health care by the military. Last September she was placed back in solitary confinement as a cruel punishment for attempting suicide. What does this mean for Edward Snowden? In 2013, he revealed vital information on the NSA and its international intelligence partners’ illegal mass surveillance program. This leaked information received an unprecedented amount of attention around the world. The information revealed to the public was seen as an intrusion of their privacy and caused a massive global debate on the issue. On the 21st of June, the US department of Justice revealed to the public the charges against him which were two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property. In 2014, Snowden fled to russia and was granted asylum for one year which was later extended to 3 years.
Jake Williams, on of the most influential figures in cyber security weighs in with his opinion on this decision. Jake is a Principal Consultant at Rendition Infosec. He has more than a decade of experience in secure network design, penetration testing, incident response and forensics and has also worked with government agencies. He has spoken at Blackhat, Shmoocon, CEIC, B-Sides, DC3, as well as numerous SANS Summits and government conferences.