by

Harvard Withdraws Chelsea Manning’s Visiting Fellowship After CIA Chief’s Challenge

Harvard University’s Kennedy School has rescinded a visiting-fellow invitation to Chelsea Manning, according to a statement by Douglas W. Elmendorf, dean of the Kennedy School.

Ms. Manning, a former U.S. Army soldier, was convicted of leaking classified government data. Her prison sentence was later commuted.

After the university announced that Ms. Manning would be a visiting fellow on the campus, Michael Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, canceled his planned appearance at a Kennedy School forum.

He wrote a letter to the event’s organizers that called Ms. Manning an “American traitor.”

“Indeed, Harvard’s actions implicitly tell its students that you too can be a fellow at Harvard and a felon under United States law,” Mr. Pompeo wrote.

Michael J. Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA, also resigned as a nonresident senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs over the invitation to Ms. Manning.

“Unfortunately, I cannot be part of an organization — the Kennedy School — that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information, Ms. Chelsea Manning, by inviting her to be a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics,” Mr. Morell wrote in his resignation letter.

Ms. Manning was invited to speak with students and faculty members, and later to address a larger audience at the Kennedy School. With the invitation the university named her a “visiting fellow,” not to give her a special honor, but to describe someone who would spend a day on the campus, Mr. Elmendorf wrote.

She is still invited to speak on the campus, but she will not have the visiting-fellow title, he wrote.

“However, I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility,” Mr. Elmendorf went on. “Therefore, 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.”

Correction (9/15/2017, 6 p.m.): This article has been edited to reflect the fact that Ms. Manning was not pardoned, as originally stated, but that her sentence was commuted.

Return to Top