Chelsea Manning says she won't be 'intimidated' by CIA
© Instagram/Chelsea Manning

Whistleblower and transgender activist Chelsea Manning says in a new interview that she won't let comments from CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIs America headed toward war? Is America headed toward war? Polar bear spotted hundreds of miles south of normal hunting grounds MORE "intimidate" her from speaking out on political issues.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Manning accuses Pompeo and others in the intelligence community of trying to "stifle dissent" after she was was disinvited from the Harvard Institute of Politics' visiting fellows program following an outcry.

“What’s important here is that the Central Intelligence Agency and associated people in the intelligence community, they think they can stifle dissent, all forms of dissent, all across America and use academic institutions as a battleground,” Manning said.

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“I’m not going to be afraid and I’m not going to be intimidated,” she added.

Pompeo canceled a talk at the university and former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell resigned from his post as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School over the invitation of Manning last month.

"I'm not ashamed of being disinvited," Manning said at the time. "I view that just as much of an honored distinction as the fellowship itself."

Harvard University apologized to Manning and her critics over the controversy in September, saying the "perceived honor" that the university had granted Manning was unintentional.

"We are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a Visiting Fellow — and the perceived honor that it implies to some people — while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum," Douglas Elmendorf, dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, said last month.

"I apologize to her and to the many concerned people from whom I have heard today for not recognizing upfront the full implications of our original invitation," the statement continued.

Manning served seven years of a 35-year sentence for leaking classified documents about the Iraq War to WikiLeaks, and told the Daily Beast that one of the most striking things she noticed after leaving prison was the prevalence of the surveillance state in the United States.

Manning said that leaving prison was “like I’m walking out into the most boring dystopian novel I can imagine.”

“It feels like American cities, certain parts of them, are occupied by an American force, the police department,” she added.