Outgoing President Barack Obama has chosen to commute the vast majority of Chelsea Manning’s thirty-five-year prison sentence for leaking American intelligence information to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Manning has served seven years of her thirty-five-year sentence thus far, and is now scheduled to be set free in five months, on May 17th of this year.

Chelsea Manning, who was born and served as a military intelligence analyst for the United States Army as Bradley Manning before coming out as transgender, pleaded guilty in a military court martial in 2013 for copying hundreds of thousands of secret files from a secure server while deployed to Iraq in 2009.  Manning then provided that information, which included incident logs and diplomatic cables sent from American embassies around the world, to Julian Assange for mass distribution.  Assange would go on to put WikiLeaks on the map using the information Manning provided.

At the time, Manning hoped making the files public would prompt “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.”  Some of the information included in the leaks discussed Guantánamo Bay detainees that were being held without trial, sensitive discussions between ambassadors, and the abuse of prisoners at the hands of Iraqi military officers serving with American troops.  Rumors that the United States government had to scramble to remove foreign and military assets from nations around the globe swirled, suggesting that Manning’s leaks could lead to the lives of those serving America’s interests overseas being in danger, though evidence to support that didn’t surface during Manning’s trial.

At her court martial, Manning did apologize for what she’d done and claimed to take full responsibility for her actions.  She, and her defense team, claimed that she was suffering a mental crisis at the time, brought about by the stresses of serving in a war zone while struggling with her own gender identity and sexual orientation.  Prosecutors charged Manning with treason, multiple violations of the Espionage Act and Aiding the Enemy – though the latter of those charges was eventually dismissed by a military judge.

“I take full and complete responsibility for my decision to disclose these materials to the public,” she wrote to the president. “I have never made any excuses for what I did. I pleaded guilty without the protection of a plea agreement because I believed the military justice system would understand my motivation for the disclosure and sentence me fairly. I was wrong.”

Manning’s thirty-five-year sentence was significantly longer than sentences given to other leakers, though the sheer volume and sensitivity of the information Manning chose to disclose was certainly unprecedented.

Many have wondered why President Obama has chosen to commute Manning’s sentence while ignoring America’s other secret-leaker, Edward Snowden’s requests for judicial mercy.  Snowden has been in hiding since leaking classified information he gained as an employee at the National Security Agency in 2013.