The WikiLeaks cables were a disaster for the State Department and now P.J. Crowley is defending the guy responsible for it?

(The Cable)State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told an audience at MIT on Thursday that he thought the Defense Department’s treatment of alleged WikiLeaks source Private Bradley Manning was “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

Blogger Philippa Thomas first reported Crowley’s remarks, which she said were part of a lecture on “the benefits of new media as it relates to foreign policy” at an event organized by MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media.

“One young man said he wanted to address ‘the elephant in the room’. What did Crowley think, he asked, about Wikileaks? About the United States, in [the questioner’s] words, ‘torturing a prisoner in a military brig’? Crowley didn’t stop to think. What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense ‘is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.’ He paused. ‘None the less Bradley Manning is in the right place’. And he went on lengthening his answer, explaining why in Washington’s view, ‘there is sometimes a need for secrets . . . for diplomatic progress to be made’,” Thomas wrote.

Reached by The Cable, Crowley confirmed that he did in fact make the remarks.

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