It wasn’t because of any professional or moral ethics, or even because it was just a stupid idea…it was because of the potential loss of support, aka “money”
Rest assured that a lawsuit by its lawyers will follow… 🙂
Chelsea Manning accused Harvard University of caving to pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency after the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School withdrew her invitation to be a visiting fellow.
In a series of emoji-filled tweets in the early hours Friday morning Manning said she was “honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman” from Harvard’s visiting fellowship program and alleged that “pressure” from the CIA was the reason why the Ivy League school “chill marginalized voices.”
“[T]his is what a military/police/intel state looks like,” Manning said, followed by two “sleuth” or “spy” emojis.
“[T]he @cia determines what is and is not taught” at Harvard, she added.
In a statement issued at around midnight Friday, Douglas Elmendorf, dean of Harvard Kennedy School, admitted that naming Manning a visiting fellow for the fall semester was “a mistake.”
“[W]e 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,” Elmendorf wrote. “I apologize to her and to the many concerned people from whom I have heard today for not recognizing upfront the full implications of our original invitation. This decision now is not intended as a compromise between competing interest groups but as the correct way for the Kennedy School to emphasize its longstanding approach to visiting speakers while recognizing that the title of Visiting Fellow implies a certain recognition.”
Manning previously was a former intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army but was convicted in 2013 of violating the Espionage Act after providing thousands of national security documents to WikiLeaks. She originally faced 35 years in prison, but former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence and she was released in May. Manning also identifies as transgender and received military healthcare benefits to treat gender dysphoria.
After Harvard, which is located in Cambridge, Mass., announced Wednesday that Manning would be one of about 10 visiting fellows in the fall, the university faced widespread condemnation.
Notably, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell announced on Thursday that he would step down as a senior fellow at the Ivy League school in response to Manning being named a visiting fellow. In a letter to Elmendorf, Morell called the decision to invite Manning “wholly inappropriate.”
Hours later, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who has a law degree from Harvard, declined last-minute to speak at the university.
“[A]fter much deliberation in the wake of Harvard’s announcement of American traitor Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics, my conscience and duty to the men and women at the Central Intelligence Agency will not permit me to betray their trust by appearing to support Harvard’s decision with my appearance at tonight’s event,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Both men said their decisions were made based on Manning’s leak of national security information — with Pompeo going as far as to call Manning an “American traitor” — and not because Manning identifies as transgender.