American traitor Chelsea Manning will no longer be receiving a visiting fellowship at Harvard, the university announced late Thursday.
In a lengthy explanation posted online, Douglas Elmendorf, dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School, said the whole thing was a mistake.
“We invited Chelsea Manning because the Kennedy School’s longstanding approach to visiting speakers is to invite some people who have significantly influenced events in the world even if they do not share our values and even if their actions or words are abhorrent to some members of our community,” Elmendorf wrote.
“However, I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility.”
There was an outcry after Manning, the former U.S. Army soldier who served seven years in prison for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, was given the fellowship.
“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,” Elmendorf wrote.
The fallout was swift after Harvard announced Manning would be a fellow. CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled an appearance Thursday at Harvard over the school’s decision. And Mike Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, resigned his non-resident senior fellow position, calling the Manning fellowship “disgraceful.”
“Senior leaders in our military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of US soldiers at risk,” Morell said. “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.”
Harvard’s announcement lauded Manning as its “first transgender fellow,” calling Manning “a Washington, D.C. based network security expert and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst.” The announcement continued, “She speaks on the social, technological, and economic ramifications of Artificial Intelligence through her op-ed columns for the Guardian and the New York Times. As a trans woman, she advocates for queer and transgender rights as @xychelsea on Twitter.”