P.J. Crowley will no longer be chief spokesman at the State Department after publicly criticizing the Pentagon for their treatment of Private Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier accused of leaking State Department cables to secrets outlet WikiLeaks.
Michael Hammer had been sent to the State Department to replace Crowley earlier this year, but the process was sped up after Crowley said Friday that Manning’s treatment was “counterproductive and stupid,” a senior administration official told Politico.
“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under U.S. law,” Crowley said in a statement. “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,” he continued. “Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she accepted Crowley’s resignation with “regret” and that “his service to country is motivated by a deep devotion to public policy and public diplomacy.”
Manning attorney David Coombs revealed last week that for at least two nights in row, the Army private had been “stripped naked” for as long as seven hours at a time.
In the mornings, he was left without clothes and forced to stand at attention.
“There can be no conceivable justification for requiring a soldier to surrender all his clothing, remain naked in his cell for seven hours, and then stand at attention the subsequent morning,” Coombs wrote. “This treatment is even more degrading considering that PFC Manning is being monitored — both by direct observation and by video — at all times.”
“This type of degrading treatment is inexcusable and without justification,” he added. “It is an embarrassment to our military justice system and should not be tolerated. No other detainee at the Brig is forced to endure this type of isolation and humiliation.”
With prior reporting by David Edwards