P.J. Crowley suddenly resigned Sunday as State Department spokesman over questionable comments he made about the Bradley Manning case.
Sources close to the situation stated the resignation, first reported by CNN, came under fire from the White House, where officials were not happy about his suggestion that the Obama administration is mistreating Bradley Manning, Army private who is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, under suspicion that he leaked highly classified State Department cables to the web site WikiLeaks.
Crowley was asked by a small group at MIT last week about allegations that Manning is being tortured and his answer was, what is being done to Manning by Defense Department officials “is ridiculous and counter-productive and stupid,” started a back-lash.
“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under U.S. law,” Crowley explained in a statement Sunday. “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,” Crowley continued. “Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation.”
Crowley shared with friends that he’s concerned that mistreatment of Manning could undermine the legitimate prosecution. Crowley clarified that he has the Obama administration’s best interests at heart because he thinks any mistreatment of Manning could be damaging around the world to President Obama, who has tried to end the perception that the United States tortures prisoners.
Manning recently had to sleep in the nude because defense officials thought there was a suicide threat and decided to take away his boxer shorts, Manning’s lawyer said.
He leaves with “great admiration and affection” for his colleagues, Crowley said.