In a sense, however, Pompeo’s refusal to visit may be backfiring. His withdrawal from visiting Harvard to deliver a talk is being inflated into an entire campaign by the deep state to stifle dissent. Writing in the Nation, for example, John Nichols attacked Pompeo: “Manning blew the whistle on what would come to be understood as military and diplomatic scandals because she felt Americans had a right to know what was being done in their name but without their informed consent. Mike Pompeo, a secretive and conflicted politician, has no such instinct; he serves wealth and power without questioning whether the dictates of the privileged are right or honorable.” Manning herself alleged on twitter, “this is what a military/police/intel state looks like — the @cia determines what is and is not taught at @harvard.” The course that events have taken is allowing Manning to present herself as a victim all over again. It’s a shrewd maneuver, one that will surely lead to a spate of media appearances that will dwarf anything Harvard could ever offer.
For all the huffing and puffing about the CIA, however, the real problem is something else. It isn’t that the CIA is somehow setting the course curriculum at Harvard. It’s that Morrell himself has no real standing to criticize Manning. His own government record is checkered enough to render his judgments suspect.