CIA director cancels Harvard speech over ‘traitor’ Manning
WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA Director Mike Pompeo scrapped his appearance Thursday at Harvard University over the school’s decision to make Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of leaking classified information, a visiting fellow.
Pompeo called Manning an “American traitor.” He said he agreed with military and intelligence officials who believe Manning’s leak endangered the lives of CIA personnel.
Pompeo was scheduled to appear at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to discuss allegations of Russian involvement in last year’s presidential election, the nuclear standoff with North Korea and other global security concerns.
Minutes after the event was to begin, Douglas Elmendorf, dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, took the stage and told the audience Pompeo was not there and would not speak.
“We will try to reschedule it as soon as we can, but the CIA director, is obviously, in charge of his schedule,” Elmendorf said. “We are not in charge of his schedule and he gets to decide when and where he speaks, of course.”
Several hours later, the CIA released a letter that Pompeo wrote to a Harvard official.
Pompeo, who has a law degree from Harvard, said he didn’t make the decision lightly. He wrote that he would betray the trust of CIA employees if he appeared.
Manning was released from a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 17 after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, which was commuted by former President Barack Obama in his final days in office. Obama said in January he felt justice had been served.
Manning, a 29-yearold transgender woman, formerly known as Bradley Manning, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in a recent interview that she was prompted to give the 700,000 military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks because of the human toll of the “death, destruction and mayhem” she saw as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq.