Evangelist Franklin Graham expressed his displeasure at President Obama on Jan. 18 for commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning and releasing nonviolent drug offenders, whom Graham insisted were dangerous.
Writing on Facebook, Graham demonized people who use drugs, and claimed that Manning did "irreparable damage":
Yesterday President Obama commuted the sentence of convicted traitor Chelsea Manning. Chelsea (born Bradley Edward Manning) was an Army intelligence officer who leaked U.S. secrets and was court-martialed and sentenced to 35 years in prison for violations of the Espionage Act in one of the largest breaches of classified material in U.S. history.
It seems our outgoing president could care less that this put the lives of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen at risk and did irreparable damage. What kind of message does this send? He also reduced or eliminated the sentences for hundreds more convicts serving sentences for what are called non-violent drug offenses, bringing the total to a record 1,385. Our streets will be more dangerous because of these decisions.
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Law enforcement will tell you that the #1 cause of crime in America today is drugs. Join me in praying for our new president and his administration taking office later this week facing many challenges.
Graham did not explain how nonviolent drug offenders pose a violent danger to citizens.
Jack Cole, a former lieutenant with the New Jersey State Police and a current board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, told Vice News in 2015 that the war on drugs is causing multiple problems in society:
It's exacerbating every social problem we have in the United States. You name the problem and I can explain the way it's being affected by the drug war. Let's talk about the institutionalized racism and brutality in law enforcement. Both of those things are tremendously affected by the war on drugs. What happens when you take police officers who are supposed to protect and serve communities and you train them to go to war?
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Brigadier General Robert Carr, who led a task force that investigated the WikiLeaks disclosures by Manning, told a court in 2013 that he could not name any specific examples of any American killed because of the content that Manning leaked, noted The Guardian.
One of the leaks from Manning was a 2007 video of U.S. soldiers in a helicopter opening fire on a group of innocent people, killing Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his assistant, Saeed Chmagh, noted Reuters.
Moments later, when a van came to the scene to help the wounded, U.S. forces opened fire on the van, which included children, and killed more people.
No U.S. soldiers were charged, but Manning was charged with the Espionage Act of 1917, a law that that was passed to stop Americans from giving classified information to an enemy of the United States. Manning did not directly give information to any declared enemy of the country, but rather provided it to WikiLeaks.