One of the stranger stories of the last week were the Tweets and remarks by State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley about the treatment of Wikileaks conspirator Pvt. Bradley Manning. Crowley broke with the Pentagon and accused the military of mistreating the suspect.
This has now led to Crowley's resignation. Politico:
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley has resigned after publicly crossing swords with the Pentagon over the treatment of an Army soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military reports and sensitive diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.
The chain of events that led to Crowley's exit was set in motion Thursday when Crowley appeared at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology seminar and called the Pentagon's handling of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is detained at the brig at Quantico, "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."
Crowley's public criticism angered some at the Pentagon and others across the administration because it put him directly at odds with Defense Department officials who have spent weeks trying to defend Manning's treatment. The soldier is being detained under near-constant lockdown, and he filed a formal complaint about being forced to strip each night at bedtime.
The State spokesman's predicament may have worsened further Friday afternoon, when ABC's Jake Tapper asked Obama during a White House press conference whether he agreed with Crowley.
"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."
That double-talk by Obama probably sealed Crowley's fate. The military says that Manning is on suicide watch which necessitates his being stripped to make sure he can't harm himself. If Crowley thinks that's "ridiculous" he also thinks the Defense Department are violating the law by enforcing common sense procedures to make sure we have a live suspect to stand trial and not a dead martyr.
Crowley's position simply became untenable.