Crowley Resigns from State Dept. After WikiLeaks Gaffe

Top State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley resigned on Sunday after criticizing the handling of Bradley Manning, the soldier likely to be courtmartialed if found guilty of passing classified information to Wikileaks.

In front of a tiny crowd last week at MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media, Crowley–full title United States Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs–called the Dept. of Defense’s treatment of Manning “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”   The DoD is holding Manning at Quantico, in a setting comparable to Supermax conditions, prompting some to express concerns of torture.  Manning’s lawyer suggests it’s payback for his client’s sarcastic remarks.

Crowley clarified the intention of his remark in a statement, essentially calling shenanigans on the whole mess:

“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.”

A BBC reporter was in the room at MIT when discussed Manning, and confirmed the comments were on the record before blogging them.

Prior to State, Crowley held a number of public affairs positions and served in the Clinton Administration as senior director of public affairs for the United States National Security Council and Special Assistant to the President for national security affairs.