Friday, 15 September 2017 10:54

Chelsea Manning’s visiting fellow invitation, calling it a ‘mistake

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Chelsea Manning’s invite to join Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as a visiting fellow has been rescinded. Chelsea Manning’s invite to join Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as a visiting fellow has been rescinded. (Reuters)

Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government rescinded a visiting fellowship offered to Chelsea Manning, the former military intelligence analyst who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified government secrets, after the university faced forceful backlash from CIA Director Mike Pompeo among others.

“I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility,” Douglas W. Elmendorf, the school’s dean, wrote in a 700-word statement released shortly after midnight Friday.

Manning was one of four visiting fellows announced two days earlier by the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. As part of the program, visiting fellows appear on Harvard’s campus for speaking engagements and events, interacting with undergraduate students on “topical issues of today,” the school’s initial announcement explained.

Elmendorf decided to withdraw the invitation after realizing that “many people view a Visiting Fellow title as an honorific,” though the school had not intended to “honor [Manning] in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds.”

She is still welcome to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak at the school’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, the dean said.

“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,” Elmendorf added.

Manning’s website generates an automatic response to media requests and indicates she’s not giving interviews.

On Twitter, however, she accused the school of suppressing “marginalized voices” and caving to pressure from the CIA.

 

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