A former top CIA official and the agency's current director issued statements slamming Harvard University over the school's decision to invite Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of leaking classified information, to be a fellow.
Mike Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, sent a resignation letter Thursday to the dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Morell, who was a non-resident senior fellow, says he cannot be part of an organization that "honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information." He says leaking classified information is "disgraceful."
Current CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled his scheduled appearance Thursday at Harvard over Manning's appointment. "Ms. Manning betrayed her country and was found guilty of 17 serious crimes for leaking classified information to Wikileaks," Pompeo said in a statement.
"I am especially saddened because I hold a degree from Harvard Law School," Pompeo continued. "The students there now are owed an institution that acts responsibly; an institution that does not sanction or legitimize the criminal path Ms. Manning took to undermine our national security."
Manning, who has been invited to be a visiting fellow at the Kennedy school's Institute of Politics, responded Thursday afternoon with a simple tweeted message: "good ... #WeGotThis"
The 29-year-old transgender woman told ABC's "Good Morning America" in a recent interview that she was prompted to give the 700,000 military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks because of the human toll of the "death, destruction and mayhem" she saw as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq. She told ABC that she has "accepted responsibility" for her actions.
Manning was released from a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 17 after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, which was commuted by former President Barack Obama in his final days in office. Obama said in January he felt justice had been served.
Harvard also invited former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Harvard says Manning will be among fellows who will visit the campus for a "limited" number of events meant to spark campus discussion.