Last week, U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley admitted that he thought the way WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning had been treated in prison has been, “ridiculous and counter-productive and stupid on the part of the Department of Defense.” Speaking to a small conference at MIT, Crowley said that he nonetheless believed that “Bradley Manning is in the right place.” But Crowley’s comments reportedly didn’t please members of the Obama administration, who were furious at his suggestion of mistreatment. On Sunday, Crowley submitted his resignation, admitting his folly:
“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under U.S. law. My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership. The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values. Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation.”
President Obama addressed Manning’s status in a press conference on Friday, stating that he’d asked Pentagon officials “whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of [Manning’s] confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. [Pentagon officials] assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.”
Mike Hammer, who had been Crowley’s deputy, will replace him. Some speculate that Crowley’s sensitivity to Manning’s condition is in part because his father was a prisoner of war during World War II.
Crowley Resigns as State Department Spokesman [Political Ticker/CNN]