After former and current CIA chiefs protested Harvard University extending a visiting fellowship to Chelsea Manning, the university withdrew its offer.
"I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility, "said Harvard's Kennedy School of Business Dean Douglas Elmendorf. "I see more clearly now that many people view a visiting fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations."
Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell left his post as senior fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government Thursday after the school hired Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow at its Institute of Politics (IOP).
Morell, who since September 2013 has been at Harvard's Belfer Center of International Affairs under the directorship of former Defense Department Secretary Ash Carter, took issue with Manning's release of classified information, subsequently published by WikiLeaks, which he said put members of the military in harm's way.
“Senior leaders have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of US soldiers at risk,” Morrell said in a letter he penned to Elmendorf. “The Kennedy School's decision will assist Ms. Manning in her long-standing effort to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence, an attempt that may encourage others to leak classified information as well.”
As Pvt. Bradley Manning, the former Army intelligence soldier transmitted more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks and was eventually convicted under the 1917 Espionage Act.
Manning walked out of Fort Leavenworth Prison on May 17 seven years into a 35-year sentence after President Obama
during his final days in office. Civil rights organizations and some elected officials called Manning's original sentence length unprecedented and called for her to be released.
She has been called both traitor and whistleblower.
“I have an obligation to my conscience — and I believe to the country — to stand up against any efforts to justify leaks of sensitive national security information,” Morell wrote.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, referring to Manning as a "American traitor," soon followed suit, pulling out of Harvard's John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Thursday night because, according to the Washington Post, he said the former Army private “stands against everything the brave men and women I serve alongside stand for.”