11:48 GMT31 October 2020
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    Harvard invited CIA head Mike Pompeo and US whistleblower Chelsea Manning to speak as visiting fellows, a move that outraged the CIA chief and prompted him to refuse holding his speech on campus. Harvard dean Douglas W. Elmendorf rushed to withdraw his invitation to the WikiLeaks whistleblower. Manning returned "the favor."

    CIA director Mike Pompeo called Chelsea Manning "an American traitor" and said that the Harvard university's recent invitation to a person who was found guilty of leaking sensitive information to Wikileaks a "shameful stamp of approval."

    A Harvard dean, Douglas W. Elmendorf, said on Friday that he was withdrawing his invitation and apologized for the inconvenience, saying he had made a mistake.

    "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," Elmendorf wrote in a letter released on the Harvard Kennedy School website on Friday.

    "I apologize to her and to the many concerned people from whom I have heard today for not recognizing upfront the full implications of our original invitation," he added.

    Commenting on Elmendorf's statement, Manning wrote in her Twitter that she was "honoured" to be disinvited.

    Despite revoking its decision to give an honorary title to US whistleblower Chelsea Manning, Harvard University still invites the former US soldier to "spend a day" at the campus talking to students.

    In 2010, Manning was found guilty of leaking sensitive information regarding US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks. The court-martial found that Manning made the leaks "with reason to believe such information could be used to the injury of the US or the advantage of any foreign nation." She was subsequently sentenced to 35 years in prison.

    Manning was released from a military prison at Ft. Leavenworth in May, after her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama.


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