Harvard withdrew a visiting fellowship offer to convicted WikiLeaks leaker Chelsea Manning Friday after a firestorm of criticism.
Harvard Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf insisted the school “did not intend to honor her in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds, as we do not honor or endorse any Fellow,” but admitted “I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake.”
“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,” he said.
Harvard’s concessions comes after CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled an appearance at Harvard at the last minute citing the school’s awarding of a fellowship to Manning.
Pompeo stressed that his decision to skip his Thursday evening appearance “has nothing to do with Ms. Manning’s identity as a transgender woman” but “it has everything to do with her identity as a traitor to the United States of America.” Pompeo has previously likened Wikileaks, the organization Manning assisted, as a “hostile intelligence agency.”
CIA Director Withdraws from Harvard Kennedy School Forum pic.twitter.com/N7YKyGy9H4
— CIA (@CIA) September 15, 2017
Manning is a transgender U.S. Army soldier who handed over thousands of classified diplomatic cables to Wikileaks in 2009. Wikileaks’ release of the cables caused several diplomatic rows for the U.S. and may have even endangered U.S. allies in un-friendly nations. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison for his crimes but subsequently had his sentence commuted by former President Barack Obama in the waning days of his presidency.
Manning walked free in March 2017 and has since maintained a robust social media presence agitating against the U.S. intelligence community and espousing left wing politics.
Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell’s also resigned from Harvard’s Belfer Center of International Relations Thursday, similarly citing Manning’s visiting fellowship.
NEW: Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell resigns as Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy school over hiring of Chelsea Manning pic.twitter.com/qrD7MCdVtx
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 14, 2017
Morrell slammed Harvard for assisting Manning’s “long standing effort to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence.”