Latest: Harvard scraps title for Chelsea Manning following CIA chief protest

Latest: Harvard University has reversed its decision to name Chelsea Manning a visiting fellow, a day after CIA chief Mike Pompeo scrapped an appearance over the designation for the soldier who was convicted of leaking classified information.

Latest: Harvard scraps title for Chelsea Manning following CIA chief protest

Update 1.15pm: Harvard University has reversed its decision to name Chelsea Manning a visiting fellow, a day after CIA chief Mike Pompeo scrapped an appearance over the designation for the soldier who was convicted of leaking classified information.

In a statement posted on the university's website, Harvard Kennedy School dean Douglas Elmendorf said naming Ms Manning a visiting fellow was a mistake even though, he said, the title carries no special honour.

He added that the former soldier is still invited to spend a day at the school and speak to students.

Ms Manning responded on Twitter, writing that Harvard was chilling "marginalised voices under @cia pressure".

Mr Pompeo had been scheduled to appear on Thursday to discuss allegations of Russian involvement in last year's presidential election, the nuclear stand-off with North Korea and other global security concerns.

Minutes after the event was due to begin, Mr Elmendorf took the stage and told the audience Mr Pompeo was not there and would not speak.

Mr Pompeo, who has a law degree from Harvard, said he did not make the decision lightly but that he would have betrayed the trust of CIA employees if he appeared.

Chelsea 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.

Ms Manning, a 29-year-old transgender woman formerly known as Bradley Manning, said in a recent interview that she was prompted to give 700,000 military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks because of the "death, destruction and mayhem" she saw as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Mr Elmendorf wrote: "We invited Chelsea Manning to spend a day at the Kennedy School. On that basis, we also named Chelsea Manning a visiting fellow. We did not intend to honour her in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds, as we do not honour or endorse any fellow."

He apologised to Ms Manning and to "many concerned people" he said he had heard from "for not recognising upfront the full implications of our original invitation".

Ms Manning responded on Twitter, writing that she was "honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard fellow".

Earlier: CIA Director Mike Pompeo scrapped his appearance at Harvard University over the school's decision to make Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of leaking classified information, a visiting fellow.

Mr Pompeo was scheduled to appear at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government on Thursday to discuss allegations of Russian involvement in last year's presidential election, the nuclear standoff with North Korea and other global security concerns.

Minutes after the event was due to begin, Douglas Elmendorf, dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, took the stage and told the audience Mr Pompeo was not there and would not speak.

"We will try to reschedule it as soon as we can, but the CIA director, is obviously, in charge of his schedule," Mr Elmendorf said.

"We are not in charge of his schedule and he gets to decide when and where he speaks, of course."

Several hours later, the CIA released a letter that Mr Pompeo wrote to a Harvard official.

Mr Pompeo, who has a law degree from Harvard, said he didn't make the decision lightly and that he would betray the trust of CIA employees if he appeared.

Chelsea 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.

Mr Obama said in January he felt justice had been served.

Ms Manning, a 29-year-old transgender woman, formerly known as Bradley Manning, 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.

In his letter, Mr Pompeo reiterated his earlier claim that Wikileaks is a US adversary "akin to a hostile foreign intelligence service".

He stressed that his decision had nothing to do with Ms Manning's transgender identity.

"It has everything to do with her identity as a traitor to the United States of America and my loyalty to the officers of the CIA," Mr Pompeo said.

"Harvard's actions implicitly tell its students that you too can be a fellow at Harvard and a felon under United States law," he wrote.

Harvard said Ms Manning will be among fellows who will visit the campus for a "limited" number of events meant to spark campus discussion.

AP

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