The Transom, Ben Domenech, September 15, 2017

Yesterday former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell resigned as Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy school over hiring of Chelsea Manning.  “Morell, a CBS News senior national security contributor, wrote in a letter to Doug Elmendorf, dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, that he can’t remain at an organization “that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information, Ms. Chelsea Manning.” Manning responded in a tweet featuring the trademark series of emojis.

Mary Katharine Ham, herself a fellow at the Kennedy school, on the controversy and what happened next.   “Harvard’s Institute of Politics announced late last night convicted felon Chelsea Manning will not be a Visiting Fellow at the university this fall after two pillars of the national security community protested the convicted felon’s inclusion.

“Manning, who was found guilty in 2010 on 20 of 22 counts in the biggest leak of classified records in history, was announced Wednesday as a member of a class of about ten public figures who would spend a day or more on campus speaking to students and taking questions. Others in the class include Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezenski, Sean Spicer, Robby Mook, and myself.

“Manning indiscriminately downloaded and leaked some 250,000 government documents as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq. Seven years into a 35-year sentence, Manning received a commutation from President Obama. During the trial and sentencing, Manning’s lawyers blamed Manning’s gender dysphoria for leading to his crimes, and in 2016 then-Bradley Manning declared in a commutation application, “I am Chelsea Manning, a proud woman who is transgender and who, through this application, is respectfully requesting a first chance at life.”

“Since then, Manning has been feted by elite society as a symbol of trans heroism and overcoming hardship. The announcement of Manning’s Harvard fellowship came on the heels of an Annie Liebovitz photoshoot for the September issue of Vogue.

“A former CIA director, Michael Morell resigned the day after Manning was named a Fellow at Harvard, saying he couldn’t be part of a program “that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.” Current CIA Director Mike Pompeo also canceled a speaking appearance at Harvard’s Kennedy School this week in protest.

“[A]fter much deliberation,” Pompeo wrote, “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 (to hire Manning) with my appearance at tonight’s event.”

“Douglas Elmendorf, who runs the Harvard Institute of Politics, called the title of fellow for Manning a “mistake,” saying it was not intended to convey honor or endorsement of Manning’s actions or views.”