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‘I Have an Obligation to My Conscience.’ Former CIA Deputy Director Resigns from Harvard Over Chelsea Manning

Michael Morrell, former deputy director (and acting director) of the Central Intelligence Service, on Thursday resigned as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for its hiring of Chelsea Manning, the controversial former U.S. Army soldier who was convicted by court martial in 2013 for disclosing classified information to WikiLeaks.

In a letter addressed to Kennedy School dean Douglas Elmendorf, Morrell wrote that he “cannot be part of an organization that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.” The institution earlier invited Manning to be a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.

“Senior leaders in our military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of U.S. soldiers at risk,” Morrell wrote, adding later: “The Kennedy School’s decision will assist Ms. Manning in her long-standing effort to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence, an attempt that may encourage others to leak classified information as well.”

“I have an obligation to my conscience—and I believe to the country—to stand up against any efforts to justify leaks of sensitive national security information.”