September 15, 2017 15:22 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Chelsea Manning says she's 'honored' to be disinvited

Chelsea Manning tweeted early Friday morning that she feels 'honored' to be disinvited from participating in the Harvard University visiting fellowship.

Chelsea Manning tweeted early Friday morning that she feels 'honored' to be disinvited from participating in the Harvard University visiting fellowship.

Late Thursday evening Harvard University announced it has withdrawn a visiting fellowship officer to the former US Army solider who served seven years in prison for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.

The dean of Harvard's Kennedy School posted a lengthy statement on the institute's web site explaining the decision, which follows a pair of high-profile cancellations as well as public criticism, particularly from the conservative right. 

Manning responded by tweeting that she was 'honored' to be the 'first disinvited trans woman visiting Harvard.'

Later she followed up and called out the university for bowing to pressure from the CIA, tweeting: 'This is what a military/police/intel state looks like.

'The CIA determines what is said and not taught at Harvard.' 

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Chelsea Manning tweeted early Friday morning that she feels 'honored' to be disinvited from participating in the Harvard University visiting fellowship
Chelsea Manning, seen above as Bradley Manning before he transitioned to a woman

Chelsea Manning (seen left after her transition from Bradley Manning, right) tweeted early Friday morning that she feels 'honored' to be disinvited from participating in the Harvard University visiting fellowship

Late Thursday evening Harvard University announced it has withdrawn a visiting fellowship officer to the former US Army solider - and in response Manning said she was honored

Late Thursday evening Harvard University announced it has withdrawn a visiting fellowship officer to the former US Army solider - and in response Manning said she was honored

Later she followed up and called out the university for bowing to pressure from the CIA, tweeting: 'This is what a military/police/intel state looks like'

Later she followed up and called out the university for bowing to pressure from the CIA, tweeting: 'This is what a military/police/intel state looks like'

Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer and former Trump campaign manager were also named visiting fellows at the school, which Manning pointed out in a sarcastic tweet.

'So @harvard says @seanspicer & @clewandowski_ bring "something to the table and add something to the conversation' and not me," she wrote. 

The decision by Harvard was undoubtedly a response to the public backlash that its initial invitation to Manning generated. 

Douglas Emlendorf, who initially extended the decision, took full responsibility, writing: '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.

'However, I now 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.'

Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer and former Trump campaign manager were also named visiting fellows at the school, which Manning pointed out in a sarcastic tweet

Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer and former Trump campaign manager were also named visiting fellows at the school, which Manning pointed out in a sarcastic tweet

Sean Spicer, who is pictured in June 2017, was also invited to be a Harvard visiting fellow 

Sean Spicer, who is pictured in June 2017, was also invited to be a Harvard visiting fellow 

Douglas Elmendorf
Chelsea Manning

The decision by Harvard was undoubtedly a response to the public backlash that its initial invitation to Manning (right) generated. Douglas Emlendorf (left), who initially extended the decision, took full responsibility 

CIA Director Mike Pompeo says he scrapped his appearance Thursday at Harvard University over the school's decision to make Manning a visiting fellow.

Pompeo, a Harvard graduate, called Manning an 'American traitor' and said he didn't make the decision lightly.

He is citing military and intelligence officials who believe the leaks endangered the lives of CIA employees.

He was supposed to speak at the university Thursday night, but was a no-show. 

The CIA released a letter Pompeo wrote to Harvard explaining his decision.

The dean of Harvard's Kennedy School posted a lengthy statement on the institute's web site explaining the decision, which follows a pair of high-profile cancellations as well as public criticism, particularly from the conservative right. Harvard's campus is seen above

The dean of Harvard's Kennedy School posted a lengthy statement on the institute's web site explaining the decision, which follows a pair of high-profile cancellations as well as public criticism, particularly from the conservative right. Harvard's campus is seen above

CIA Director Mike Pompeo
Mike Morell

CIA Director Mike Pompeo (left) says he scrapped his appearance Thursday at Harvard University over the school's decision to make Manning a visiting fellow. Mike Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, sent a resignation letter to Harvard in protest

In his letter of resignation, Morell writes he could not be part of an organization that 'honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.' 

In his letter of resignation, Morell writes he could not be part of an organization that 'honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.' 

Earlier Thursday, Mike Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, sent a resignation letter to Harvard saying he could not be part of an organization that 'honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.'

 Morell, who was a non-resident senior fellow says leaking classified information is 'disgraceful.'

'Senior leaders in our military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms Manning put the lives of US soldiers at risk,' Morell said.

'I have an obligation in my conscience - and I believe to the country - to stand against any efforts to justify leaks of sensitive national security information.'

Social media users reacted almost immediately to the development, with some castigating Manning for her behavior

Social media users reacted almost immediately to the development, with some castigating Manning for her behavior

One person wrote: 'How to become a Harvard Visiting Fellow: Leak 700,000 classified documents & get convicted of 6 espionage charges'

One person wrote: 'How to become a Harvard Visiting Fellow: Leak 700,000 classified documents & get convicted of 6 espionage charges'

Manning is a transgender woman who was convicted in 2013 of leaking more than 700,000 U.S. documents. 

Manning, 29, was released in May from a U.S. military prison in Kansas following her court martial conviction in 2013. 

Manning had been serving time for passing secrets to the WikiLeaks website in the biggest breach of classified data in the history of the United States.

After serving seven years in prison, President Barack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence, saying the punishment was 'disproportionate' compared to other whistle-blowers.

Following Morell's resignation, social media users took to Twitter to express their thoughts. 

Some showed support for the former spy chief's decision to leave the school, calling Manning a 'traitor' who sold out the country.

'Seriously @Harvard?? Enabling a traitor to our country? You need to check your stupidity,' one user stated.

While another sarcastically wrote: 'How to become a Harvard Visiting Fellow: Leak 700,000 classified documents & get convicted of 6 espionage charges.'

Conservative pundit Bill Kristol also chimed in, which led to the only response from Manning about the situation so far.

'I'm loyal to Harvard, but I think I'll forego IOP events this fall. (I'd feel the same way if Chelsea Manning were still Bradley Manning.)' Kristol posted to Twitter.  

FULL TEXT OF HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL DEAN'S STATEMENT

On Wednesday, the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School announced that Chelsea Manning would be one of roughly ten visiting fellows this fall. 

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. 

We do this not to endorse those actions or legitimize those words, but because engaging with people with fundamentally different worldviews can help us to become better public leaders. 

Because controversy pervades many questions in politics and public policy, some speakers are controversial. 

While we do not shy away from that controversy, we insist that all speakers take questions, and these questions are often hard and challenging ones.

Hearing a very wide range of views, regardless of what members of our community think about the people offering those views, is fundamental to the learning process at the Kennedy School.

Some visitors to the Kennedy School are invited for just a few hours to give a talk in the School's Forum or in one of our lecture halls or seminar rooms; other visitors stay for a full day, a few days, a semester, or longer. 

Among the visitors who stay more than a few hours, some are designated as 'Visiting Fellows,' 'Resident Fellows,' 'Nonresident Fellows,' and the like. 

At any point in time, the Kennedy School has hundreds of fellows playing many different roles at the School. 

In general across the School, we do not view the title of 'Fellow' as conveying a special honor; rather, it is a way to describe some people who spend more than a few hours at the School.

We invited Chelsea Manning to spend a day at the Kennedy School.

Specifically, we invited her to meet with students and others who are interested in talking with her, and then to give remarks in the Forum where the audience would have ample opportunity - as with all of our speakers - to ask hard questions and challenge what she has said and done. 

On that basis, we also named Chelsea Manning a Visiting Fellow. 

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.

However, I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility. 

I still think that having her speak in the Forum and talk with students is consistent with our longstanding approach, which puts great emphasis on the value of hearing from a diverse collection of people. 

But 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. 

In particular, I think we should weigh, for each potential visitor, what members of the Kennedy School community could learn from that person's visit against the extent to which that person's conduct fulfills the values of public service to which we aspire. 

This balance is not always easy to determine, and reasonable people can disagree about where to strike the balance for specific people. 

Any determination should start with the presumption that more speech is better than less. 

In retrospect, though, I think my assessment of that balance for Chelsea Manning was wrong. 

Therefore, we 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. 

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.

                                                                                                             -  Douglas W. Elmendorf 

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