Mar 14, 2011

P.J.Crowley resigns as State Department Spokesman

P.J. Crowley was forced to resign on Sunday as State Department spokesman over his remarks concerning the Bradley Manning case. Crowley criticized the detention conditions of Manning, the Army private who is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, under suspicion that he leaked highly classified State Department cables to the Website WikiLeaks.

During a visit to MIT last week, Crowley was asked “to address “the elephant in the room.” What did Crowley think…about Wikileaks?” wrote BBC reporter Phillipa Thomas on her blog.” About the United States, in his words, “torturing a prisoner in a military brig?”

Crowley’s answer was sharp and pointed. “What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid…Nonetheless, Bradley Manning is in the right place.”

Crowley deserves a great deal of praise for his bravity and integrity for not shying away from standing up for his principles and values.

“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under U.S. law,” he said in a written statement on his departure 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.”

Amnesty International recently was raising concerns that he has been confined to a windowless cell for 23 hours a day and that he is stripped down to his boxers at night and is not given pillows or blankets. CNN reports that his lawyer also “says the young private recently had to sleep in the nude because defense officials thought there was a suicide threat and decided to take away his boxer shorts.”

Crowley will be replaced by Michael Hammer, a White House spokesman.

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