Harvard University offered Chelsea Manning a position as a visiting fellow in the John F Kennedy school of government, but revoked it after receiving backlash and pressure from top current and former CIA officials.
“This is what a military/police/intel state looks like... the CIA determines what is and is not taught at Harvard,” Chelsea manning Tweeted shortly after Harvard revoked her offer under CIA pressure. “Honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting Harvard fellow. They chill marginalized voices under CIA pressure.”
The Harvard Kennedy School of government had announced on Wednesday that it was inviting Manning to be a visiting fellow in their school, and to speak at a forum.
Following the announcement, current CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled his own speaking arrangement at Harvard, writing a letter to Harvard chastising them for hosting Manning, whom he called an “American traitor.”
“My conscience and duty to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency will not permit me to betray their trust by appearing to support Harvard's decision with my appearance.”
Former CIA Deputy Director, Michael Morell, who was a Senior Fellow at Harvard, resigned with an open letter to the school, saying that he “cannot be part of an organization... that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”
In response to Morell's resignation from Harvard, Chelsea Manning tweeted “good.”
After the pressure from the two top United States intelligence officials, Douglas Elmendorf, the dean of the Harvard Kennedy School decided to backpedal on his decision to bring Manning into the school, saying it was a "mistake."
“I know think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility. I see more clearly now that many people view a visiting fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations,” Elmendorf said in a statement.
The dean said that the invitation to speak and “spend a day at the Kennedy School” was still open to Manning however.
“It doesn't surprise me that an institution that has produced many of our most dangerous war criminals and architects of our military and prison apparatuses would remain beholden to the state,” ACLU lawyer and transgender rights activist, Chase Strangio said in a tweeted statement.
“Chelsea is a beacon of humor, brilliance and resilience in a time where her words and leadership are needed more than ever,” Strangio continued.
The 29-year-old Chelsea Manning was released in May of 2017 after seven years of confinement in a U.S. military prison after leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks revealing information about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Although originally sentenced to 35 years in 2013, her sentence was commuted by President Obama in 2016. She was formerly a U.S. Army soldier.