One of the things that many people in government seem to lose is their sense of personal values. A former CIA chief showed that it is possible to keep your values intact, long after leaving his position with the intelligence committee.
Michael J. Morell served as a non-resident senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School until this past Thursday. He turned in his resignation letter after he discovered that Chelsea Manning was set to be a visiting fellow this year. In the letter, Morell clarified that he “cannot be part of an organization” that ” honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information,” according to The Washington Times.
Morell stated that his decision had nothing to do with the fact that Manning is a transgender American. He went on to say that he supports her rights, “including the right to serve our country in the US military.”
It was clear that his problem had to do with the traitorous behavior of Manning during her time in the military. The crimes put forward by Manning do certainly cause an eyebrow to be raised and should make one think twice about pledging support.
The resignation letter highlighted these crimes and explained why they are such a problem. It is important to note that a pardon by Obama cleared up what would otherwise be a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, according to CNN.
“Ms. Manning was found guilty of 17 serious crimes, including six counts of espionage, for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, an entity that CIA Director Mike Pompeo says operates like an adversarial foreign intelligence service,” Morell’s letter read.
Morell believes that when the Kennedy School invited Manning to the event, they were doing nothing more than legitimizing the traitorous path that she took.
The fear is that by making what Manning did acceptable, it might encourage other people to also leak information. How far would it go before that information ended up in the wrong hands and innocent people ended up dead?
The material that Manning leaked was published to WikiLeaks back in 2010. It included material such as video of a US helicopter attacking civilians in Iraq back in 2007. There was obvious blowback from human rights activists, and they demanded that something be done about the video.
Manning was found guilty on 20 out of the 22 charges, including being in direct violation of the US Espionage Act. Manning was lucky to get the 35-year sentence considering that the most serious crime, aiding the enemy, was dropped. Conviction of this crime would have landed Manning in prison for the rest of her life.
Morell closed out his resignation letter by writing, “But, it is my right, indeed my duty, to argue that the School’s decision is wholly inappropriate and to protest it by resigning from the Kennedy School – in order to make the fundamental point that leaking classified information is disgraceful and damaging to our nation.”
While the circumstances are far from ideal, it is refreshing to see someone stand up for their values against all other odds. Hopefully, Morell finds the peace he deserves after leaving the Kennedy School.