When Harvard's Kennedy School of Government announced its decision to invite a convicted felon — classified information leaker Chelsea Manning — to be a visiting fellow, the move raised a few eyebrows.
Some questioned Manning's qualifications for the job:
I've read Chelsea Manning's Twitter, and she's clearly Harvard teaching material
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) September 14, 2017
— Pete Hegseth (@PeteHegseth) September 14, 2017
Let me get this straight
Harvard won't accept students who had ONE “B” in high school, but they'll HIRE a traitor (Chelsea Manning)? 🤔
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) September 14, 2017
The school's decision did not sit well with graduate and former Kennedy faculty member Bill Kristol:
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.)
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) September 13, 2017
And it drove current non-resident fellow and former acting CIA Director Mike Morell — who served under the president who would eventually pardon Manning — to resign:
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 14, 2017
The Washington Times reported:
In his resignation letter on Thursday, Michael J. Morell said he “cannot be part of an organization” that “honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”
“Ms. Manning was found guilty of 17 serious crimes, including six counts of espionage, for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, an entity that CIA Director Mike Pompeo says operates like an adversarial foreign intelligence service,” Mr. Morell wrote. “Senior leaders in the military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of US soldiers at risk.”
The Kennedy School’s invitation will “assist Ms. Manning in her long-standing effort to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence,” the letter continued, and “may encourage others to leak classified information as well.”
Morell made it clear that his comments were in no way based on Manning's individual status as a trans-woman or her recent advocacy, but solely on her decision to betray the United States by turning over classified information — and he said that he felt duty-bound to act:
"But, it is my right, indeed my duty, to argue that the School’s decision is wholly inappropriate and to protest it by resigning from the Kennedy School – in order to make the fundamental point that leaking classified information is disgraceful and damaging to our nation.”
National Review's Jonah Goldberg called it the right move:
Fox News reporting former CIA acting director Mike Morrell resigning from Harvard over appoint of Chelsea Manning. Good for him.
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) September 14, 2017
Manning, undeterred, has asked that former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer be asked to resign, as well:
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) September 13, 2017
I mean, it's not like Spicer's nearly 20-year military career, master's degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, and tenure in the Republican National Committee and the White House make him a more qualified candidate for the job.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.