Yesterday, the Defense Department announced that it will transfer Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to the open government website WikiLeaks, to a facility at Ft. Leavenworth, KS from a detention facility in Quantico, VA. Human rights groups and even members of Congress have criticized the Pentagon for holding Manning in inhumane conditions, reportedly forcing him to sleep naked and holding him in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.
State Department spokesman PJ Crowley recently resigned after he publicly criticized DOD for Manning’s treatment, calling it “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” Referring to the White House, Crowley told Politico, “I knew I had lost their trust and confidence and in that circumstance I knew that I had to resign.”
Over at the American Prospect, Adam Serwer noted that Pentagon officials said yesterday that “the decision to move Manning to Fort Leavenworth was at least in part based on mental-health reasons” and wondered if the move vindicated Crowley. And today on Fox News, Crowley again stood by his criticism of DOD and himself suggested that it had been vindicated by DOD’s decision to move Manning:
CROWLEY: I think yesterday the Pentagon without saying as much affirmed that the situation at Quantico had become unsustainable. The level of solatary confinement and arduous nature of his treatment was inconsistent with how we normally handle soldiers or inmates in a pretrial situation. They’ve now corrected that with his movement to Kansas. So it’s the right step to take. [...]
For us to lead around the world in the future, we have to take aggressive action and to make sure that action is consistent with our laws and our values and in this particular case, we’ve corrected what I thought was a mistake at Quantico.
“I started off in a mlitary career during the Vietnam era where there was a gap between what we said and what people saw on television from the reporting from Vietnam,” Crowley said, explaining part of his motivation for criticizing Manning’s treatment while a State Department official. “I always was determined that in my government career we would keep that gap as narrow as possible,” he said. Watch it:
“The Pentagon admitted yesterday, sort of,” Crowley said on Twitter today, “that Bradley Manning spent more months in severe confinement at Quantico than was appropriate.”