“We invited Chelsea Manning to spend a day at the Kennedy School,” said dean Douglas Elmendorf in a statement, explaining that Manning was invited to talk to interested students, and then give remarks at a forum where attendees could “ask hard questions and challenge what she has said and done.”
“We did not intend to honor her in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds,” Elmendorf continued.
Manning served more than six years in prison over her role in the massive 2010 leak of classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks, and was pardoned by then-President Barack Obama before his term concluded in January.
The invitation for Manning to visit Kennedy School stands, according to Elmendorf. However, the school is “withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a Visiting Fellow—and the perceived honor that it implies to some people.”
Manning responded to Harvard’s move overnight on Twitter. “Honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting Harvard fellow,” she tweeted, accusing the university of “chill[ing] marginalized voices under CIA pressure.”
“Harvard says [former White House Press Secretary] Sean Spicer & [onetime campaign manager for President Donald Trump] Corey Lewandowski bring ‘something to the table and add something to the conversation’ and not me,” she added in a follow-up tweet.
Harvard’s back-pedaling follows protests from high-profile figures in the U.S. intelligence community after Harvard made the initial announcement Wednesday. CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled an appearance at the university Thursday at the last minute, while former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell resigned his position as a senior fellow at the school.
According to The Hill, Manning had been designated visiting fellow to Kennedy School alongside figures like Spicer and Lewandowski, as well as Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager.
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