P.J. Crowley has resigned from his position as chief spokesman of the State Department. A few days ago, Crowley, a retired Air Force colonel, had publicly criticized the Pentagon over the treatment of Bradley Manning, the soldier who is accused of passing thousands of classified documents to the whistleblower website Wikileaks.
According to Politico, Crowley ‘had been on the outs with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and rarely accompanied her on her travels abroad.’
When asked by ABC’s Jack Tapper about Crowley’s remarks, Obama said:
“With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are,” Obama said. “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.”
When Tapper pressed the president further, Obama replied tersely, “I think I gave you an answer to the substantive issue.”
Noting that his comments about Manning were his ‘”personal opinion,”‘ Crowley made no apology for his remarks in a public statement released on Sunday:
- The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under U.S. law. 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.
Michael Hammer, President Barack Obama’s NSC spokesman, is the likely replacement for Crowley; Hammer had been sent to State earlier this year.
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