Redstate reported Thursday that former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell had tendered his resignation as a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School for Government. Morell said he could not be a part of a program that would offer Chelsea Manning – a criminal convicted of espionage and leaking classified information – a position as a Visiting Fellow.
Senior leaders in our military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of US soldiers at risk. Upon her conviction, then Rep. Mike Rogers and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee at the time, praised the verdict, saying ‘justice has been served today’. They added, ‘PFC.Manning harmed our national security, violated the public’s trust and now stands convicted of multiple serious crimes’”
Morell’s resignation letter was passionate and reasonable and detailed why in good conscience he could not serve alongside someone who had willfully endangered so many honorable lives.
Now it looks as though Morell’s letter had at least some effect on Harvard authorities.
The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School released a counter statement from the Dean in which he explained their reasoning behind Manning’s invitation to be a Visiting Fellow at the IOP.
We invited Chelsea Manning because the Kennedy School’s longstanding approach to visiting speakers is to invite some people who have significantly influenced events in the world even if they do not share our values and even if their actions or words are abhorrent to some members of our community.
The letter then goes on to explain that hundreds of “Visiting Fellows” are invited to speak at any given time and often they are only present for a day or even just hours, conceding that perhaps designating Manning as a “Visiting Fellow” lent some undue legitimacy to his actions as a member of the military.
We did not intend to honor her in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds, as we do not honor or endorse any Fellow.
Douglas Elmendorf concludes his response by admitting that giving Manning that designation was “a mistake for which I accept responsibility…Therefore we are withdrawing the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in Forum.”
Elmendorf ends by explaining the decision was not based on any kind of partisan compromise but was meant as a way to realign with the program’s stated missions.
NBC News tweeted out the full letter on Thursday evening. At the time of this publication, Manning’s Twitter feed was void of any mention of the change in plans.
JUST IN: Harvard Kennedy School dean says "designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake" and withdraws Fellow title pic.twitter.com/zaEPCafhPg
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 15, 2017