Michael Morell, ex-Cia Director turned Senior fellow at Harvard, announced his resignation from the prestigious school on Thursday. This was in direct response to Harvard's decision to appoint Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow. She will be taking a position at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government- a role that many find ironic due to her criminal history.

Chelsea Manning convicted

In 2013, Chelsea Manning- previously Bradley Manning- was found guilty of releasing over 700,000 sensitive military documents to WikiLeaks. This included everything from upsetting video of the Baghdad and Granai airstrikes, to documents detailing events that played out in the Middle East.

These leaks were determined to be in direct violation of the U.S. espionage act, and Manning pled guilty to10 of the 22 original charges. In a long and drawn out speech to the court in February 2013, Manning stated that her reason for releasing the information was "to show the true cost of war."

On August 21, 2013, Manning was convicted of crimes against her country, and sentenced to 35 years in prison. By this time, she had significantly changed her tune. She released an apology stating, "I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I'm sorry that they hurt the United states. I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people."

Manning is a transgender woman who has suffered from lifelong issues with gender confusion, as well as depression and a less than ideal home life.

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She chose to join the military as 'Bradley' Manning, but never felt completely comfortable in her role. After an initial discharge, Manning was accepted into the military and deployed to Iraq. It was here that she began struggling with her inability to come to terms with the harsh realities of war. She chose to release the documents, believing herself to be some kind of warrior for social justice. Manning disclosed the release of classified files to Adrian Lamo in May of 2010. This need to share was ultimately what led to her arrest. Lamo reported her to authorities, and Manning was picked up soon after.

Manning's release and rise to 'fellowship' status

In May of 2017, President Barack Obama commuted the remaining 28 years of Manning's prison sentence, and she was allowed to walk free. After serving only 7 years, Manning went on to experience both social notoriety and scorn. She has continued to hold a place in the public eye, but it still came as a surprise when Harvard chose to recognize her as a fellow.

This decision immediately sparked a serious debate on social media. Fox News described the reaction, saying, "Many people were flabbergasted the university gave Manning the title, calling it 'unbelievable' that a person convicted of espionage could be a 'fellow'."

When announcing his resignation, Morell stated that he could no longer be a part of any organization "that honors convicted felon and leaker of classified information."