P.J. Crowley Out; Michael Hammer to Succeed

by Matthew Shaffer

This morning, P.J. Crowley resigned from his position as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (i.e. spokesman) at the State Department. According to POLITICO, Crowley had a sour relationship with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the State Department had been prepping Michael Hammer, Obama’s National Security Council spokesman, to succeed him. But Crowley’s remark at MIT on March 10th that the Defense Department’s treatment of Bradley Manning — who is suspected of leaking diplomatic cables to Julian Assange — was “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid,” quickly accelerated his ouster. After his comments, Crowley faced criticism from the Department of Defense and President Obama, who said he had been assured that Manning’s treatment was appropriate.

Crowley submitted a statement with his resignation this morning: 

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…

Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Spokesman for the Department of State.

Hillary Clinton accepted Crowley’s resignation “with regret” and said “P.J. has served our nation with distinction for more than three decades, in uniform and as a civilian.”

A few minutes ago Crowley tweeted: “Mike Hammer will do a great job as my successor at State. He and I worked together 12 years ago on the NSC staff at the White House.”

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