Breaking: WH ousts Crowley from State

posted at 1:03 pm on March 13, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

It didn’t take long for the White House to react to P. J. Crowley’s bizarre decision to turn the State Department into a Pentagon oversight bureau.  Ed Henry reports that Crowley’s packing his bags:

P.J. Crowley is abruptly stepping down as State Department spokesman under pressure from White House officials because of controversial comments he made last week about the Bradley Manning case, CNN has learned from senior officials familiar with the matter.

On Friday, the Guardian reported that Crowley ripped the Pentagon for its detention practices.  Crowley called them “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid” and complained that Manning was being “mistreated” by Marines in Quantico.  Less than 24 hours later, Obama told Jake Tapper that he was satisfied that the Pentagon was acting appropriately:

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said this week that the treatment of Private Bradley Manning by the Pentagon is “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

Asked by ABC News if he agreed with that, President Obama said Friday that he’d “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.”

Pentagon officials, he said, “assure me that they are. 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.”

Asked if he therefore disagreed with P.J. Crowley, President Obama sidestepped the question, saying he’d responded “to the substantive issue.”

That wasn’t the only trip off the reservation for Crowley this week, either:

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley is already the subject of one controversy today due to remarks he made about the treatment of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. But Crowley is also in trouble due to a tweet he sent out this morning — and later deleted — comparing the situation in the Middle East to the disaster in Japan.

“We’ve been watching hopeful #tsunami sweep across #MiddleEast. Now seeing a tsunami of a different kind sweep across Japan,” Crowley tweeted Friday morning, a State Department official confirmed to The Cable. Crowley’s Twitter site no longer includes the tweet, suggesting that he deleted it after the fact. Crowley didn’t immediately respond to a request from The Cable.

Multiple administration sources told The Cable that the Defense Department leadership was very upset with Crowley about both incidents.

The White House acted appropriately in kicking Crowley out at State, and should be commended for taking quick action.  However, I’d bet that Crowley will land on his feet at MSNBC.

Update: The Guardian dishonestly leaves out some important context in their report:

Commentators were quick to point out the apparent double standards within the government. Glenn Greenwald, a Salon reporter who has been outspoken about Manning’s detention, tweeted that “detainee abuse is allowed, speaking out against it isn’t”.

Last week Manning gave his own personal account of theconditions in which he is being held, saying that it amounted to harsh treatment that was designed to be punitive even before he had been put on trial. He described being stripped naked every night having made a sarcastic comment to guards about the absurdity of the regime he was under.

But what was the comment?  As Jazz Shaw wrote a week ago, even FireDogLake managed to be honest about it:

In response to PFC Manning’s question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm. PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were “absurd” and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.

“Joking” about suicide while in a brig is akin to joking about having a bomb when going through airport security.  The authorities won’t just assume you’re stupid enough to joke about it and will take it seriously, because if they don’t and the suspect was serious, they will get the blame for what follows.  The Guardian’s coverage leaves the implication that being stripped naked was punitive and had nothing to do with Manning’s actions, which is objectively not the case.


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Or the Center for American Progress which is Ground zero for the liberal agenda.

Buy Danish on March 13, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Crowley was a senior fellow and then director of national defense and homeland security at the Center for American Progress from 2003 until he got the State Dept. job.

It is hard be to believe that he got to the rank of colonel in his 26 years in the USAF. He definitely has a problem knowing when to keep his mouth shut.

slp on March 13, 2011 at 8:59 PM

So… they do have the capability to move quickly? Who would have known?

shar61 on March 13, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Folks, let this be a lesson to you; there is no such thing as Tweeting under your breath.

L.N. Smithee on March 13, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Crowley hates the Obama regime? He must be one of those teabagging teabaggers who bag tea.

V-rod on March 13, 2011 at 9:18 PM

I must admit …

Crowley looks like the guy who gets fired from his job and keeps showing up to work.

BowHuntingTexas on March 13, 2011 at 10:23 PM

PFC Manning is a douchebag. His detention is in compliance with anyone who signed their name on the dotted line and raised their right hand. We give up some of the liberties that we swear to defend when we sign our contract and we all know this. Manning is a turncoat, plain and simple…

RightXBrigade on March 13, 2011 at 11:28 PM

Manley is a traitor and deserves the firing squad. Crowley is merely a moronic Obabanist commie who should be tarred and feathered.

I wonder why this moron commie lost his job and the one who disparaged Arizona to the Chinese is still employed by the Obama Regime?

MaaddMaaxx on March 14, 2011 at 12:11 AM

Swift (and correct) action against Crowley… Who knew?

Khun Joe on March 14, 2011 at 1:21 AM

Or the Center for American Progress which is Ground zero for the liberal agenda.

Buy Danish on March 13, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Crowley was a senior fellow and then director of national defense and homeland security at the Center for American Progress from 2003 until he got the State Dept. job.

It is hard be to believe that he got to the rank of colonel in his 26 years in the USAF. He definitely has a problem knowing when to keep his mouth shut.

slp on March 13, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Why was my righteous comment in moderationland for 7 hours?

slp on March 14, 2011 at 6:00 AM

It is hard be to believe that he got to the rank of colonel in his 26 years in the USAF. He definitely has a problem knowing when to keep his mouth shut.

slp on March 13, 2011 at 8:59 PM

It has been my observation that any rank above major is driven by politics. The military is a sub-culture in itself and therefore has its own political structure. Gaining the rank of bird-colonel after 26 years is not that exceptional, actually he was probably passed over for star and was ‘asked’ to leave. He would have greater influence if he at least had one star. He was/is a flunky.

belad on March 14, 2011 at 7:54 AM

I wonder why this moron commie lost his job and the one who disparaged Arizona to the Chinese is still employed by the Obama Regime?

MaaddMaaxx on March 14, 2011 at 12:11 AM

Precisely.! Looks to me like someone at the Pentagon had a little conversation with Da One. And it looks like the point was taken. Most likely tho Vallerie just didn’t like that guy.

orbitalair on March 14, 2011 at 8:32 AM

I believe it was Jerome “The Bus” Bettis who sang it best:
The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round; the wheels on the bus go round and round, and you are under the bus!”
Granted, this guy needed to go, but it’s getting crowded under there, isn’t it?

flutejpl on March 14, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Soooooooo does this mean Obama , according to Obama’s own thoughts and opinions, is just AS bad or even worse than Bush???? Pertaining to liberal views against Bush that is.

capejasmine on March 14, 2011 at 9:57 AM

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