Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief spokesman resigned Sunday, three days after he publicly criticized the treatment in confinement...
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chief spokesman resigned Sunday, three days after he publicly criticized the treatment in confinement of WikiLeaks suspect Army Pfc. Bradley Manning as “counterproductive and stupid.”
In a prepared statement, P.J. Crowley said his remarks about Manning’s treatment, made at an appearance Thursday in Cambridge, Mass., were meant to highlight the effect of actions by U.S. security agencies “on our global standing and leadership.”
Lawyers for Manning, who is charged with unauthorized sharing of classified information, allege that he has been mistreated, including being forced to sleep naked, while in confinement at a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.
A Pentagon spokesman has said the conditions of Manning’s confinement comply with U.S. laws, and suggested that officials are concerned that Manning might try to hurt himself.
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At a news conference Friday, President Obama was asked about Crowley’s remarks and said that the Pentagon had assured him that the conditions of Manning’s confinement were appropriate. “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,” Obama said.
In a prepared statement, Clinton said she had accepted Crowley’s resignation “with regret.”
While the Obama administration has not explicitly named Manning as such, he is believed to be the government’s chief suspect in the leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified Pentagon and State Department cables to the WikiLeaks organization.
His treatment in detention has been criticized by human-rights groups and liberal organizations.
Crowley, a retired Air Force colonel, was a Defense Department and National Security Council spokesman during the Clinton administration.
Crowley’s remarks were originally reported on a personal blog by a journalist who attended his Cambridge talk Thursday.