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Amid CIA row, Harvard scraps fellowship invite to Manning

Transgender activist Chelsea Manning is seen in this file photo. The new Trump order bans almost all transgenders from serving in the US military. The White House says retaining troops with a history or diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” or those who may require substantial medical treatment “presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”

Transgender activist Chelsea Manning is seen in this file photo. The new Trump order bans almost all transgenders from serving in the US military. The White House says retaining troops with a history or diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” or those who may require substantial medical treatment “presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”   | Photo Credit: AP

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Pompeo calls former transgender soldier ‘American traitor’

Harvard University on Friday withdrew a fellowship invitation to Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier who was convicted of leaking classified data, after two leaders in the U.S. intelligence community distanced themselves from the school.

Ms. Manning, 29, was released in May from a U.S. military prison in Kansas, where she had been held for passing secrets to the WikiLeaks website in the biggest breach of classified data in the history of the United States.

The Harvard Kennedy School of government announced on Wednesday that it had invited the controversial figure to be a visiting fellow and speak at a forum.

The invitation to speak still stands, Harvard Kennedy Dean Douglas Elmendorf said in a statement.

‘Designation a mistake’

“I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility,” Mr. Elmendorf said. “I see more clearly now that many people view a visiting fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations.”

The announcement came after U.S. CIA Director Mike Pompeo cancelled a speaking engagement at the university on Thursday over the invitation to Ms. Manning, whom he called an “American traitor” in a letter explaining his decision.

“My conscience and duty to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency will not permit me to betray their trust by appearing to support Harvard’s decision with my appearance,” he wrote to the school.

Ms. Manning said on Twitter that she was “honoured to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting Harvard fellow. They chill marginalized voices under CIA pressure.”

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 5:25:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/amid-cia-row-harvard-scraps-fellowship-invite-to-manning/article19694203.ece

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