Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government rescinded Chelsea Manning’s invitation to become a Visiting Fellow, after CIA Director Mike Pompeo protested the move by refusing to speak at an upcoming event at the Ivey League institution.
Director Pompeo, a Harvard alumni, wrote a letter to the school’s head of defense studies, canceling his scheduled lecture. In the letter, he described Manning as an “American traitor,” explaining that, “the decision to cancel is a decision I did not make lightly.” He continued, “My conscience and duty to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency will not permit me to betray their trust by appearing to support Harvard’s decision with my appearance at tonight’s event.”
Initially Harvard explained that making the traitorous Manning a Visiting Fellow was because, “she speaks on the social, technological and economic ramifications of Artificial Intelligence.” Harvard also mentioned Manning’s gender confusion, saying, “as a trans woman, she advocates for queer and transgender rights as @xychelsea on Twitter.”
However, this shocking announcement not only prompted Director Pompeo to cancel his speech, but also led to Michael Morell, a former CIA Deputy Director – who twice served as acting director – to promptly announce his resignation from Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Morell explained that he cannot be affiliated with an organization “that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.” The CIA veteran continued, “Senior leaders in our military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of U.S. soldiers at risk.” And that, “I have an obligation in my conscience — and I believe to the country — to stand against any efforts to justify leaks of sensitive national security information.”
Just two days after their announcement to grant Manning the title of Visiting Fellow, Harvard caved to the enormous public backlash and rescinded their offer. Douglas Elmendorf, Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government released a statement late Thursday explain that the school didn’t in any way intent to honor Manning or wished to endorse her actions. The statement read, “We are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a Visiting Fellow — and the perceived honor that it implies to some people — while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum.” And that, “I apologize to her and to the many concerned people from whom I have heard today for not recognizing upfront the full implications of our original invitation.”