Former CIA director resigns from Harvard after Manning announced as political fellow

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell (right) announced his resignation as a Harvard fellow after Harvard named Chelsea Manning a political fellow.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  — The list of political fellows coming to Harvard University now includes former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former Army intelligence officer .

Both are among a group of political figures joining the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics this fall as visiting fellows.

Harvard issued the following press release (excerpt) to announce Manning as a fellow:

“Chelsea E.  is a Washington D.C. based network security expert and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst. She speaks on the social, technological and economic ramifications of Artificial Intelligence through her op-ed columns for The Guardian and The New York Times. As a trans woman, she advocates for queer and transgender rights as @xychelsea on Twitter. Following her court martial conviction in 2013 for releasing confidential military and State Department documents, President Obama commuted her 35-year sentence, citing it as “disproportionate” to the penalties faced by other whistleblowers. She served seven years in prison.”

Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking more than 700,000 U.S. documents while serving in the US Army. Her sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama.

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell on Thursday announced his resignation as a senior fellow at Harvard following Harvard’s press release. Morell said he couldn’t be part of an organization “that honors convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”

“Senior leaders in our military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of U.S. 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.”

Harvard says as fellow’s they will come to campus for a “limited” number of events meant to spark campus discussion.  Manning will take on the role at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the school said on its website.

Popular Military contributed to this report.


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