Har­vard drops Man­ning af­ter CIA protest

The Guardian - - INTERNATIONAL - Naa­man Zhou and agen­cies

Har­vard Univer­sity has re­scinded an offer to make Chelsea Man­ning a vis­it­ing fel­low af­ter the di­rec­tor of the CIA can­celled an ap­pear­ance at the univer­sity.

Mike Pom­peo had been sched­uled to ap­pear at Har­vard’s John F Kennedy school of gov­ern­ment to give a speech on global se­cu­rity, but with­drew on Thurs­day, call­ing the univer­sity’s in­vi­ta­tion to Man­ning a “shame­ful stamp of ap­proval”.

On Wed­nes­day, the mil­i­tary whistle­blower had been among a group of 10 – in­clud­ing the for­mer White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer – in­vited to speak at the in­sti­tute of pol­i­tics at Har­vard’s Kennedy school as vis­it­ing fel­lows. But hours af­ter Pom­peo’s with­drawal, the univer­sity stripped Man­ning of her ti­tle.

“I now think that des­ig­nat­ing Chelsea Man­ning as a vis­it­ing fel­low was a mis­take, for which I ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity,” said the dean of the Kennedy school, Dou­glas El­men­dorf. “In gen­eral across the school, we do not view the ti­tle of ‘fel­low’ as con­vey­ing a special hon­our; rather, it is a way to de­scribe some peo­ple who spend more than a few hours at the school.

“[How­ever] we are with­draw­ing the in­vi­ta­tion to her to serve as a vis­it­ing fel­low – and the per­ceived hon­our that it im­plies to some – while main­tain­ing the in­vi­ta­tion for her to spend a day at the Kennedy school and speak in the school’s fo­rum.”

He said the in­vi­ta­tion was not a po­lit­i­cal en­dorse­ment, but was aimed at let­ting stu­dents “en­gage with peo­ple with fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent world­views”.

In re­sponse, Man­ning tweeted that she was “hon­oured” to be dis­in­vited.

In a let­ter to Har­vard on Thurs­day, Pom­peo called Man­ning an “Amer­i­can traitor” and said he “could not ap­pear to sup­port Har­vard’s de­ci­sion” by at­tend­ing the event.

Ear­lier in the day, the for­mer deputy di­rec­tor of the CIA Mike Morell also re­signed from his fel­low­ship at Har­vard’s Belfer school over Man­ning’s in­vi­ta­tion.

Pom­peo said the whistle­blower, who was con­victed by court mar­tial in 2013 of dis­clos­ing clas­si­fied doc­u­ments, had en­dan­gered lives. “Many in­tel­li­gence and mil­i­tary of­fi­cials be­lieve those leaks put the lives of the pa­tri­otic men and women at the CIA in dan­ger,” he said. “I be­lieve it is shame­ful for Har­vard to place its stamp of ap­proval upon her trea­sonous ac­tions.”

Morell wrote to the univer­sity to an­nounce his res­ig­na­tion on the same day. “I can­not be part of an or­gan­i­sa­tion that hon­ours a con­victed felon and leaker of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion,” he said.

In a re­cent in­ter­view with ABC’s Good Morn­ing Amer­ica, Man­ning said she had been prompted to give 700,000 mil­i­tary and state depart­ment doc­u­ments to Wik­iLeaks be­cause of the hu­man toll of the “death, de­struc­tion and may­hem” she had seen as an army in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst in Iraq.

In May this year, she was re­leased from a mil­i­tary prison in Fort Leav­en­worth, Kansas, af­ter serv­ing seven years of a 35-year sen­tence, the harsh­est in US his­tory for an of­fi­cial leak. The sen­tence was com­muted by Barack Obama in his fi­nal days in of­fice.

Chelsea Man­ning tweeted that she was ‘hon­oured’ to be dis­in­vited by Har­vard

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