Former Army Private Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) was found guilty of leaking secret military documents to WikiLeaks and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. However, President Obama commuted the sentence in his final weeks in office, meaning the former Army private only served for seven years.
The Harvard Kennedy School of Government, seemingly having no issue with Manning's record, made her a visiting fellow for the year. In their announcement, the school mentions her court martial conviction, but is much more eager to note her advocacy on behalf of queer and transgender rights, as well as her exposes on Artificial Intelligence.
With the hire, the school was also able to note at the top of the page that this year's class features their "first transgender fellow."
That was the last straw for former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell, who served as a senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy. Although he has enjoyed his tenure, he can no longer work for an institution that has hired a "convicted felon" who put the lives of U.S. soldiers "at risk," he explained in a letter to the dean.
NEW: Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell resigns as Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy school over hiring of Chelsea Manning pic.twitter.com/qrD7MCdVtx— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 14, 2017
Others shared Morell's outrage, wondering how the school chose Manning over more honorable vets.
Of all the veterans who honorably served...Harvard hires Chelsea Manning who was convicted of espionage. Unbelievable. https://t.co/3jo7vTdKUb— Jessie Jane Duff (@JessieJaneDuff) September 14, 2017
Interestingly, CIA Director Mike Pompeo is scheduled to speak at Harvard Kennedy's Belfer Center Thursday night, smack dab in the middle of controversy.