State Department criticizes Pentagon over Manning detention

posted at 2:55 pm on March 11, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Regardless of which position one takes in the ongoing Bradley Manning saga, what the hell is the State Department thinking?

Hillary Clinton‘s spokesman has launched a public attack on the Pentagon for the way it is treating military prisoner Bradley Manning, the US soldier suspected of handing the US embassy cables to WikiLeaks.

PJ Crowley, the assistant secretary of state for public affairs at the US state department, has said Manning is being “mistreated” in the military brig at Quantico, Virginia. “What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence.”

Crowley’s comments are the first sign of a crack within the Obama administration over the handling of the WikiLeaks saga in which hundreds of thousands of confidential documents were handed to the website.

Crowley served 26 years in the Air Force, stationed at home and abroad, but with no apparent particular emphasis in detention or internal security issues.  Furthermore, he’s not at the Pentagon now, nor is he at the Department of Justice, the other agency that could exert jurisdiction.  There isn’t anything to suggest that Crowley has any expertise in this area, either in general or specific to Manning’s detention.

In fact, while I was writing this post, Barack Obama told Jake Tapper in the press conference this morning that the circumstances of Manning’s detention relate to his “safety,” and that he has already consulted with the Pentagon on the matter and is apparently satisfied.  Crowley has therefore put himself — and the State Department — in the position of criticizing not just the Pentagon but the Commander-in-Chief as well.  Is that the role of the State Department, to offer itself as a critic of all other aspects and operations of the executive branch?

The White House needs to hit the “reset button” with its State Department, or more appropriately, the “eject” button with respect to Crowley.


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loose cannon?

bofh on March 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Can we reset the whole administration?

Grantman on March 11, 2011 at 2:59 PM

“It’s opposite land! Hot snow falls up!” -Homer Simpson.

“What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence,” -Bradley Manning.

Akzed on March 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Is there an outraged resignation pending on the part of Hillary Clinton? Is she really going to challenge Obama in the Democratic primary or is this just more of the Keystone Kops saga?

sharrukin on March 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM

This poor sick administration has now started feeding on itself.

rplat on March 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Because fight amongst yourselves is a sign of strength!!!!

thebrokenrattle on March 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM

The White House needs to hit the “reset button” with its State Department, or more appropriately, the “eject” button with respect to Crowley.

Yesterday the top spy in O’s admin made a fool of them, today this guy.

Look, Obama is the Fool in Chief.

Schadenfreude on March 11, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Amateur hour with this regime.

rbj on March 11, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Does one get the feeling that no one, not a single person talks to anyone else in bho’s team? They all come off as total idiots! It would appear that each one tries to outdo the others with their idiot statements. manning is just where he needs to be and is being treated better than the rop type treat out military and citizens.
L

letget on March 11, 2011 at 3:01 PM

fighting

thebrokenrattle on March 11, 2011 at 3:01 PM

What a moron.

Howcome on March 11, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Smart Power!

BuckNutty on March 11, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Who’s running the show up there? Is anyone in charge?

BierManVA on March 11, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Crowley is a dweeb’s dweeb!

pilamaye on March 11, 2011 at 3:02 PM

“Crowley has therefore put himself — and the State Department — in the position of criticizing not just the Pentagon but the Commander-in-Chief as well.”

Meh…

Anything to get the Wisconsin loss off of the front pages.

Seven Percent Solution on March 11, 2011 at 3:03 PM

I can’t make a decision until the Clapper weighs in.

Knucklehead on March 11, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Stand by to launch a TORPEDO OF TRUTH attack!

Roy Rogers on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

What?! This man (Manning) committed treason, IMHO. Since he’s not hanging from a rope, there’s no way he could be mistreated.

JSGreg3 on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

The State Department hates America just as much as Manning so there’s no surprise there.

jawkneemusic on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Who’s running the show up there? Is anyone in charge?

BierManVA on March 11, 2011 at 3:02 PM

The inmates are running the asylum, which has been the problem since January 2009.

teke184 on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Manning’s bring forced to sleep in the buff after threatening to asphyxiated himself with an article of clothing. That’s torture nowadays.

Even though this goes on under the aegis of CIC Obooba, the State Dept figures that it can make the military look stupid and mean with this so it’s worth a try.

“Hey Obooba, tell those guards -who are under your command- to give that gay traitor his clothes back!”

Akzed on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Hillary’s shadow government.

Kini on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

You can always count on the State Department to blame America first.

cool breeze on March 11, 2011 at 3:05 PM

A billion dollars, they hope, will change the public’s currently low opinion of the Obama administration. Yet it cannot change one very good reason why the public has come to its opinion, which is that his has been a clerkship presidency. A glorified clerkship, no doubt, but a clerkship nonetheless.

Kennedy’s challenged us to ask not what we can do for ourselves, but for our country.

Logic101 says that this is the most illogical of all statements.

Vote this ignorant narcissistic turd out. It’s the best you can do for you and your progeny.

Schadenfreude on March 11, 2011 at 3:09 PM

The State Department has always been the bastard child of the US government.

Caper29 on March 11, 2011 at 3:10 PM

State Department criticizes Pentagon over Manning detention

Pentagon replies with complaints about how many wars they have to fight because of diplomatic failures.

“We’re not your boy, Hillary”

BobMbx on March 11, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Crowley needs to follow Clapper, out of town if not under the bus.

novaculus on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Manning is the next Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Cindy Munford on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

My suggestion would be to pass legislation that all members of this administration must google the current position before they are allowed to say anything.

hboulware on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The Marine Corps says it has issued a suicide-proof sleeping garment to the imprisoned Army private suspected of giving classified material to WikiLeaks.

Col. Thomas Johnson said Thursday that Pfc. Bradley Manning was given the smock Monday as a substitute for clothing that is removed each night from Manning’s cell at the brig in Quantico, Va.

Manning says in a memo to base commander Col. Daniel Choike that the clothing-removal order on March 2 was punitive. He says the bulky smock is uncomfortable.

Manning’s memo is a rebuttal of Choike’s decision on March 1 to deny Manning’s request for an easing of the maximum-custody order that keeps him locked up alone 23 hours a day.

HT: Drudge.

As Akzed noted, Manning has been making smarta$$ remarks about killing himself. The military has to take these remarks seriously. If anything happened to Manning, it would be the miltary’s fault…or that they “faked a suicide” – whichever lefty meme works.

Wethal on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Let’s see, he’s threatened to harm himself if we leave him any clothes, but we’ve got complaints about his modesty….

Throw him a few rolls of toilet paper and let the POS wrap himself up.

cthulhu on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Crowley served 26 years in the Air Force

There’s your explanation right there.

GarandFan on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

The Marines at Quantico have a response for PJ Crowley.

I guarantee it.

Roy Rogers on March 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Hillary’s shadow government.

Kini on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

HA!

Remember this…?

Seven Percent Solution on March 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM

“He’s hitting me..make him stop”

“I am not”

“yes you are”

“am not”

“are”

“Mom!”

BobMbx on March 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM

…eh?

Knott Buyinit on March 11, 2011 at 3:19 PM

They don’t call it “foggy bottom” for nada.

Schadenfreude on March 11, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Does anybody know what Crowley did in the Air Force? The best I can determine is he was long term public affairs officer.

rplat on March 11, 2011 at 3:21 PM

what a disaster of an admin

rob verdi on March 11, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Why is the State Dept. publicly commenting on issues that are none of it’s business?

Blake on March 11, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Was Crowley speaking for himself or is this the official position of the State Department….? Hillary is the Sec. of State right?

d1carter on March 11, 2011 at 3:23 PM

I’m so glad that the “adults” are now in charge.

/sarc

Religious_Zealot on March 11, 2011 at 3:23 PM

“What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence.”

He’s right. THEY OUGHT TO HANG THE LITTLE BASTARD!!!!!

Agent of the Cross on March 11, 2011 at 3:24 PM

The dingy state department puts a face on the “fifth column”.

rplat on March 11, 2011 at 3:24 PM

An astonishing position for the State Department — to the left of Obama.

Jaibones on March 11, 2011 at 3:24 PM

I’m thinking Osama Obama is the guiding force behind Crowley’s comments. After all, if both positions are covered by his lapdogs, the Traitor-in-Chief can look “balanced” and agree with anyone who questions him. Hid did say he was “looking into it….”

Personally, if Poor Li’l Bradley is feeling like doin’ himself in, I’d place a weapon, rope and plenty of pills in his cell….

MrScribbler on March 11, 2011 at 3:28 PM

The Prez wouldn’t give Jake Tapper a straight answer on this one, and when pressed said he’d addressed the main point; Manning needs special handling becuase he is not safe otherwise.

Barry wouldn’t address Crowley’s comments.

Mr. Crowley, please pick up a white courtesy phone please…urgent.

DrW on March 11, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Hillary’s shadow government.
Kini on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Primary challenge!

Vyce on March 11, 2011 at 3:30 PM

The big issue is how in the hell a private had access to such a huge quantity of information. While Manning is responsible for his actions, the State Department’s security allowed him to access sensitive diplomatic cables from all over the place, un-noticed (?).

Geez, access = clearance + NEED TO KNOW. No internal partitioning at all?

Glad the adults are in charge…

Venril on March 11, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Barry will have his cabinet czar deal with this right away.

DamnCat on March 11, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Akzed on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Manning’s bring forced to sleep in the buff after threatening to asphyxiated himself with an article of clothing. That’s torture nowadays.

Yes, which is why in this war against man made stuff, we don’t take prisoners anymore.

It’s much more humane to obliterate folks like Manning with a MACH 1.8 missile up his wazoo!

DSchoen on March 11, 2011 at 3:34 PM

The presidency is now an apprenticeship and does it show. Obama couldn’t manage his way out of a paper bag.

bopbottle on March 11, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Who would have thought that someone could go backwards on a learning curve? The clown in chief is actually looking less capable than when he entered with no credible experience.

Vashta.Nerada on March 11, 2011 at 3:41 PM

@PJCrowley:Been watching a hopeful #tsunami sweep across the #MiddleEast.Now seeing a tsunami of a different kind sweep across Japan

HAHA

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=been%20watching%20hopeful

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/11/crowley_deleted_tweet_comparing_middle_east_tsunami_to_japan_crisis

ninjapirate on March 11, 2011 at 3:54 PM

This is great! I will enjoy watching this administration destroy itself. I think it says a lot about our Dear Leader.

woodNfish on March 11, 2011 at 3:58 PM

What sort of ego must Crowley have to (a) believe his opinion on the issue is even relevant; and (b) voice the same publicly.

If State has issues with Manning’s detention, they should be expressed “in house, through channels” – and if the ultimate decision goes against them, they should STFU about it.

We’ll see if there’s any disciplinary action taken. I’ll be shocked if there is.

BD57 on March 11, 2011 at 4:01 PM

I am gobsmacked by the mindboggling incompetence of these people. At least with Bush and Clinton their people were all on the same page. Obamas people fight with each other in public and then get all upset because their”messaging” isn’t working. Really? Maybe if you could get the message to be consistent you’d be better off.

hboulware on March 11, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Is he truely speaking for HRC? She’s been at odds with the rest of the admin before and it was dismissed as noob screwups.

I’m not so sure. . .

dts-01 on March 11, 2011 at 4:07 PM

OK, first, if Crwoley doesn’t have any expertise in this, neither do any of us.

Second, making Manning sleep naked because he made a sarcastic comment about how he could have committed suicide already if he was really suicidal? That’s just stupid.

That’s the sort of mindless “zero tolerence” bullshit that leads to kids getting expelled because they had a motrin pill in their pocket, or because they drew a picture of a gun.

Lock this guy up like any other traitor, try him and then let him hang.

Third, what the hell is Clinton doing bringing this up in public? Can’t she talk to Gates and Obama one one one, off line?

EFG on March 11, 2011 at 4:12 PM

OK, first, if Crwoley doesn’t have any expertise in this, neither do any of us.

Crowley

Dang typo.

EFG on March 11, 2011 at 4:13 PM

The big issue is how in the hell a private had access to such a huge quantity of information. While Manning is responsible for his actions, the State Department’s security allowed him to access sensitive diplomatic cables from all over the place, un-noticed (?).

Venril on March 11, 2011 at 3:32 PM

He probably Googled the information. You can pretty well get anything you want to know or see from Google’s links. I think if the history of the final fall of America if ever written, (hopefully it never will be) future historians will conclude that the great secret weapon the enemies of America had in their victory was Google.

Basil Fawlty on March 11, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Primary challenge!

Vyce on March 11, 2011 at 3:30 PM

On top of Slick’s comments regarding Libya, one has to wonder. I’m not sure Hillary has enhanced her resume as SoS, though.

a capella on March 11, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Crowley served 26 years in the Air Force
There’s your explanation right there.

GarandFan on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Hey buddy, I usually enjoy your posts but now you’re pushing your luck. I spent twenty six years in the Air Force and I’d like to see that little turd dangling from the end of a rope. After the fair trial, of course…

Big John on March 11, 2011 at 4:26 PM

But let me add, Garand, that I was enlisted and therefore worked for a living…

Big John on March 11, 2011 at 4:28 PM

More of Obama’s WTF Doctrine.

profitsbeard on March 11, 2011 at 4:29 PM

So now simply jailing a criminal is “mistreatment”?

I’m really at my wits end with the liberal f@#$tards!

catmman on March 11, 2011 at 4:44 PM

Okay, so I NEVER agree with Hamsher, Greenwald, et.al. – but in this case I do:

1) Currently, Bradley Manning has not been convicted of ANYTHING. If he is accused of treasonous activities, by all means have a trial, then shoot him if he’s guilty. To have an American Citizen detained and incarcerated for months with no official charges is not only counterproductive, it is criminal.

2) Read the following, detailing his treatment while in custody – and this is ongoing:

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/the-shameful-treatment-of-bradley-manning/http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/the-shameful-treatment-of-bradley-manning/

3) It is unacceptable for a civilized people to treat one of their own citizens in such a manner.

According to everything I’ve read about Manning’s treatment, it is designed to break him psychologically.

Consider. He made a smart-assed comment about committing suicide with his briefs – after he was being treated as a suicide risk when all the psychiatrists said he was not a risk. So he has to sleep nude, and then stand outside his cell, NUDE, every morning. He is only allowed out of his cell 1 hour out of 24 – and then he is shackled. He is under constant surveillance. If he curls up (naked) in his bed, the guards wake him up and make him move to where they can see him.

HE HAS NOT YET BEEN CONVICTED OF ANY CRIME!

So. If he is guilty – try the SOB. Let the full hammer of justice rain down upon his head. But to treat an American citizen this way just because he’s under suspicion…Think, if the Obama Administration can do this to an individual just under suspicion, what else can they get away with?

I am appalled at the nonchalance at his treatment. Again, hold a trial. Convict him. Give him the maximum penalty. But the fact that an unconvicted citizen is being treated this way is an abomination to all that we as Americans (and conservatives) should hold dear.

ElvenPhoenix on March 11, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Another angle on this from the La-La Times

Crowley, the assistant secretary of State for public affairs, participated in a student forum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday, and was asked his thoughts on the “torturing” of Manning.

He didn’t respond to the allegation, but then went on to describe Manning’s treatment as “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid, and I don’t know why DoD is doing it.” Crowley said, however, that “Bradley Manning is in the right place,” adding that “there is a need for secrets” in Washington.

I’m guessing that the M.I.T. kid who asked this silly question also takes classes there taught by Noam Chumpsky.

Del Dolemonte on March 11, 2011 at 4:47 PM

GarandFan on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

To be fair, Manning is in the Army, so there’s that…

*ducks*

Nuhtin but love GF!

catmman on March 11, 2011 at 4:47 PM

They keep Manning stripped bare at night so he won’t have anything to hang himself with.

J_Crater on March 11, 2011 at 4:50 PM

OK, first, if Crwoley doesn’t have any expertise in this, neither do any of us.

Second, making Manning sleep naked because he made a sarcastic comment about how he could have committed suicide already if he was really suicidal? That’s just stupid.

That’s the sort of mindless “zero tolerence” bullshit that leads to kids getting expelled because they had a motrin pill in their pocket, or because they drew a picture of a gun.

Lock this guy up like any other traitor, try him and then let him hang…

EFG on March 11, 2011 at 4:12 PM

My brother was a cop in the AirForce and he did a lot of time guarding prisoners. He would probably do the same thing because he said if a prisoner did the deed on your watch there was no end to the paperwork and investigations as to why a prisoner that stated he would commit suicide was not watched.

I agree this guy thought it was cute to dump classified information, as he thought he would get away with it just like all the other people leaking stuff in the previous administration. Didn’t work out the way he thought and I hope the military make a shining example of this twit for the next would be leaker.

belad on March 11, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Soooo, where are Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson when we really need their take on a matter? Don’t they care about Bradley?

Robert17 on March 11, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Okay, so I NEVER agree with Hamsher, Greenwald, et.al. – but in this case I do

LOL! Admitting that you read those two wastes of bandwidth in the first place wasn’t a smart thing to do.

So he has to sleep nude, and then stand outside his cell, NUDE, every morning. He is only allowed out of his cell 1 hour out of 24 – and then he is shackled. He is under constant surveillance. If he curls up (naked) in his bed, the guards wake him up and make him move to where they can see him.

See: Wethal on March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM for a debunking of the nude sleeping meme.

BTW, Manning signed away some of his rights as a US citizen when he joined the service. But military-haters like Jane Hamster and Glenn Greenwald would never know that.

Del Dolemonte on March 11, 2011 at 4:56 PM

ElvenPhoenix on March 11, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Its called ‘pre-trial confinement’ for you non-military types. He can and will be held in such a manner until the outcome of any court martial. I can’t remember the actual MCM reference, but there it is.

Manning belongs to the military, not the pansy-a$$ DoJ.

As to his “mistreatment”: If he wanted clothes, he shouldn’t have smarted off as you put it. Suicidal remarks made by a person in confinement necessarily require a SOP to be followed. Its his own damn fault he’s under ‘suicide watch’ or closer scrutiny.

Is he being fed? How many times a day? Is he getting medical treatment if he needs it? Does he have access to counsel? Is his cell temperature controlled? Is he exposed to the elements? Can he send and receive mail? He gets one hour outside – pretty standard for anyone in pretty much any American system if they are in solitary.

Not to put to fine a point on this if he didn’t want to be in the situation he’s in, he should have acted the way befitting an honorable person. He didn’t. He committed a crime, everyone knows it, he’s admitted it. Yeah, the military justice system can plod along, but thats the way it is.

In the military, jail is jail not a resort.

catmman on March 11, 2011 at 5:00 PM

It seems like teh State Department always gives P.J. Crowley the dirty jobs and P.J. is never up to the task.

bw222 on March 11, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Re primary challenge, when Hillary laid-off her makeup and hair staff and let her appearance go to h, that was a sure sign that she was hanging it up on running for anything ever again. Howie Dean is a more likely challenger.

A challenge to little Bammie from the left would be a wonder to behold.

slickwillie2001 on March 11, 2011 at 5:41 PM

State department acted stupidly…Time for all traitors in administration and in the brig to come to the summit.

anikol on March 11, 2011 at 6:29 PM

When friendly fire isn’t.

unclesmrgol on March 11, 2011 at 6:50 PM

If you’re old enough to remember 1950s “Reader’s Digest” articles about Soviet political prisoners, you’ll recognise the treatment being handed out to Manning. The State Department may be finding the similarity embarrassing.

PersonFromPorlock on March 11, 2011 at 7:38 PM

PersonFromPorlock on March 11, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Get serious.

slickwillie2001 on March 11, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Honestly, between all these conflicting messages, this Administration makes the Keystone Cops look as organized as the USC Trojan marching band!

Khun Joe on March 11, 2011 at 9:07 PM

I guess the “Cabinet Czar” was a good idea, afterall…How soon can “it” start?

Gohawgs on March 11, 2011 at 9:16 PM

Look, Obama is the Fool in Chief.

Schadenfreude on March 11, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Fool in Chief, Chief of Fools. Either fits.

91Veteran on March 12, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Third, what the hell is Clinton doing bringing this up in public? Can’t she talk to Gates and Obama one one one, off line?

EFG on March 11, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Maybe she thought a little man-to-man talk wouldn’t work.

91Veteran on March 12, 2011 at 12:22 AM

Is there anything left for this administration to screw up? Seriously, they still have a couple years left and I think they’re all out of ideas.

the wolf on March 12, 2011 at 1:44 AM

sharrukin on March 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Kennedy v. Carter? Can’t wait!

Trochilus on March 13, 2011 at 10:39 AM