Cartwright will not go to prison
THE CELEBRATIONS OVER President Barack Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence have overshadowed what might be a more consequential development in the government’s long-running war against leakers and whistleblowers: Obama’s pardon of Marine General James Cartwright.
Late last year, Cartwright pled guilty to lying to the FBI about disclosing classified information on the Stuxnet computer virus to reporters from The New York Times and Newsweek. The former general, a vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who was known as Obama’s “favorite general,” was due to be sentenced this month on felony charges. Prosecutors were seeking a two-year prison term.
Obama pardoned him yesterday, which means Cartwright will not go to prison.
“It seems to me that the far bigger news from the perspective of policy and precedent-setting is the pardon of General James Cartwright,” wrote Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor who specializes on national security law. Vladeck described the Cartwright pardon as “an interesting denouement” to the controversy over the Obama administration’s war on leakers. While Vladeck stated that he doubted it was the beginning of a trend, he asked, “Is it possible, then, that the Cartwright pardon is a tacit admission on the government’s part that it has been a bit too hard on leakers and those, like General Cartwright, who have interfered with leak investigations?”