Michael Morell, the former CIA deputy director, resigned as senior fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government after the school named Wikileaks leaker Chelsea Manning a visiting fellow.
In his letter of resignation, Morell says he cannot be part of an organization that “honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.” He called Manning’s hiring “wholly inappropriate,” stipulating however, that he “fully supports Ms. Manning’s rights as a transgender American, including the right to serve our country in the US military.”
Morell has criticized NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and defended US drone strikes and the CIA’s use of torture. He was a fellow at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted for leaking a trove of military documents while a US Army soldier. Former president Barack Obama commuted her sentence. She was released earlier this year after nearly seven years of confinement, and named a fellow by the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics (IOP) on Sept. 13 along with former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
There has been much praise for Morell’s move, although for very different reasons:
Micah Zenko, a political scientist who worked at the Kennedy School, took the opportunity to say that neither fellows at The Belfer Center nor the IOP have significant duties: