Peter Sprigg

Friday, Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council’s LGBT “expert” weighed in on the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence by President Obama. Sprigg is just one of the reasons that FRC is designated a Hate Group.

Sprigg being Sprigg and FRC being FRC, the pronouns are masculine and Sprigg, for some reason, finds it necessary to put the first name Chelsea in quotes. We get it. Sprigg does not approve. Gender dysphoria exists with, or without, approval from anyone. Mr. Sprigg’s approval is certainly not required for someone to be transgender. Incorrect names and pronouns reflect pettiness, undue disdain and ignorance.

I don’t want to go through the entire moronic piece (certainly not on a Saturday morning). Rather, I want to first point out that were Manning not transgender, Sprigg would not be writing about her sentence commutation. FRC’s crazy retired general, Jerry Boykin, already did that. Secondly, Sprigg’s conclusion requires examination:

While Manning’s defenders on the left call him a “whistle-blower” and critics on the right prefer “traitor,” perhaps a more neutral term based on Manning’s proven crimes would be “spy.” After all, several counts of espionage were among the crimes of which he was convicted.

So instead of comparing Manning’s sentence to that of other “leakers,” perhaps a more reasonable comparison would be to others convicted in prominent cases of espionage.

Aldrich Ames, for example, was a former CIA analyst convicted in 1994 of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. He is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Robert Hanssen was a former FBI agent, also convicted (in 2001) of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. He is serving fifteen consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole. …

Jonathan Pollard was an intelligence specialist for the Navy who, according to Wikipedia, “is the only American who has received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the U.S.”—namely, Israel. He was convicted in 1987, and served 28 years in prison before being paroled in 2015.…

Ames, Hanssen and Pollard have several things in common that do not apply to Chelsea Manning. The three were agents of a foreign government; Manning was not. The three were paid by that foreign government; Manning received no compensation. The three provided materials classified as top secret or codeword; Manning did not. The three provided highly sensitive “sources and methods” information; Manning did not. In an August, 2010 memorandum from then Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Senator Carl Levin of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gates wrote:

[T]he review to date has not revealed any sensitive intelligence sources and methods compromised by this disclosure.

The comparisons are simply idiotic. Manning is no hero. We cannot permit low-level enlisted personnel to make decisions about what should be public information. While the disclosures might have been beneficial, she had better options. However, Obama’s sentence reduction seems appropriate given the severity of her crime. Perhaps Sprigg is implying that Manning’s sentence was reduced because she is transgender. There is no evidence to support that theory. It has been reported that a damage analysis conducted by military intelligence officials concluded that Manning’s leaks caused no great harm to national security — according to personnel who have read the resulting  report. The military justice system does not typically take harm into account. Obama had an opportunity to apply a civilian standard for justice.

Certainly conditions are harsher for a transgender inmate, particularly in military confinement. There would have been nothing wrong if Obama considered that in his commutation decision. However, Manning ‘s sentence was excessive irrespective of her sexuality.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.