Harvard withdraws Chelsea Manning's visiting professor position

Harvard withdraws Chelsea Manning's visiting professor position

The conviction sent Manning to an all-male prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she spent seven of her 35-year sentence before it was commuted by President Barack Obama during the final days of his presidency.

Photo Chelsea Manning was named a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Ms. Manning said on Twitter that she was "honoured to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting Harvard fellow".

After Harvard University offered then quickly rescinded a visiting fellow invitation to Chelsea Manning, the former solider and convicted leaker decried the "military/police/intel state" over the decision. "Indeed, Ms. Manning stands against everything the fearless men and women I serve alongside stand for".

Manning responded on Twitter, writing that Harvard chills "marginalized voices under @cia pressure". Manning said Harvard bowed to pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled an appearance at the university Thursday at the last minute, while former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell resigned his position as a senior fellow at the school. I want Manning to get very tough questions at Harvard, and I'm hopeful this controversy encourages campus dissenters to be there and offer them.

The dean, Douglas W. Elmendorf, posted a statement on the school's web site just after midnight Friday calling the appointment "a mistake".

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Mike Pompeo, CIA director, on Thursday in a letter also criticized Harvard and backed out of planned talk there, saying making Manning a fellow gives students the wrong idea, and that it's "shameful for Harvard to place its stamp of approval upon her treasonous actions".

Elmendorf apologized to Manning and to "many concerned people" he said he had heard from "for not recognizing upfront the full implications of our original invitation". Let me be clear, this has nothing to do with Ms. Manning's identity as a transgender person.

Supporters say a video of a Baghdad airstrike she made public exposed war crimes the United States committed during the Iraq war, but opponents point to a subsequent dump of 251,287 State Department cables as evidence she was indiscriminately leaking information and jeopardized the lives and work of US intelligence analysts.

Manning's 35-year sentence for what has been described as one of the most serious leaks of military information in USA history was commuted by President Barack Obama shortly before he left office.

But Elmendorf withdrew the invitation after realizing "many people view a Visiting Fellow title as an honorific", and the school had no intention to "honor [Manning] in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds".

Harvard University describes Manning on its website as a 'Washington D.C. based network security expert and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst'. To others, she's a traitor.

In an interview with ABC News' Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang soon after her release, Manning said she leaked the documents because "I have a responsibility to the public". Previously announced visiting fellows include former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

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