Har­vard spurs con­tro­versy after re­vok­ing Man­ning’s fel­low­ship

Santa Fe New Mexican - - NATION - By An­drew de Grand­pre

Har­vard’s con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion first to of­fer and then to re­scind a vis­it­ing fel­low­ship to Chelsea Man­ning has boiled over into an tense, un­com­pro­mis­ing de­bate.

Her de­trac­tors be­lieve she be­trayed the United States when, as an Army in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst, she di­vulged gov­ern­ment se­crets.

Man­ning’s le­gions of ad­mir­ers are in­spired by her stri­dent op­po­si­tion to gov­ern­ment se­crecy.

And the Kennedy School is now caught in the mid­dle for ap­par­ently bow­ing to pres­sure from CIA Di­rec­tor Mike Pom­peo and oth­ers, but also for what some con­sider the in­sti­tu­tion’s dou­ble stan­dard in main­tain­ing its as­so­ci­a­tion with other con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures. To quickly re­cap: On Wed­nes­day, the Kennedy School’s In­sti­tute of Pol­i­tics named Man­ning a vis­it­ing fel­low, one of four ad­di­tions to a lineup that in­cludes Sean Spicer, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s short-lived White House press sec­re­tary, and Corey Le­wandowski, who was fired as Trump’s cam­paign man­ager sev­eral months be­fore the elec­tion. As part of the pro­gram, vis­it­ing fel­lows ap­pear on Har­vard’s cam­pus for speak­ing en­gage­ments and events. Then on Thursday, cit­ing “an obli­ga­tion to my con­science — and I be­lieve to the coun­try,” the CIA’s for­mer act­ing di­rec­tor, Michael Morell, a fel­low since 2013, re­signed in protest.

On Fri­day, Har­vard pub­lished a 700-word state­ment from Kennedy School Dean Dou­glas W. El­men­dorf, who sought to ra­tio­nal­ize the mean­ing of Har­vard fel­low­ships be­fore con­clud­ing that of­fer­ing one to Man­ning was a “mis­take,” and he with­drew the in­vi­ta­tion.

Morell hailed the de­ci­sion, say­ing El­men­dorf demon­strated “courage and wis­dom.”

Ad­dress­ing Pom­peo and Morell on Twit­ter, Sen. Tom Cot­ton, R-Ark., wrote: “Thank you for stand­ing up for our troops & in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers.”

Trevor Timm, who heads the Free­dom of the Press Foun­da­tion, called this con­nec­tion “un­founded.” Writ­ing Fri­day in The New York Times, he ar­gued that no ev­i­dence has ever come to light link­ing Man­ning’s dis­clo­sures to com­pro­mised safety.

“Mr. Mor­rell, in his res­ig­na­tion let­ter, quoted un­named of­fi­cials claim­ing Ms. Man­ning ‘put the lives of U.S. sol­diers at risk,’ with­out cit­ing any spe­cific ex­am­ples. This is a com­mon charge against her, and an un­founded one: The ev­i­dence of ‘dam­age’ from Ms. Man­ning’s leaks has been grossly ex­ag­ger­ated.”

He also noted two other Kennedy School fel­lows and the ap­par­ent dou­ble stan­dard their par­tic­i­pa­tion high­lights.

“Other 2017 vis­it­ing fel­lows in­clude Sean Spicer, Pres­i­dent Trump’s first press sec­re­tary, who was ac­cused of ly­ing to the pub­lic on al­most a daily ba­sis by re­porters, and the for­mer Trump cam­paign man­ager Corey Le­wandowski, who was ar­rested for com­mit­ting bat­tery against a jour­nal­ist dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign.”

Chelsea Man­ning

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