State Department spokesman steps down amid flap

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 3:30 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley is resigning his post, the department said Sunday, after reports that Crowley had called "stupid" the Pentagon's treatment of a soldier accused of leaking secret documents that appeared on the WikiLeaks website.

"It is with regret that I have accepted the resignation of Philip J. Crowley as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

"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," Crowley said in the statement.

A BBC correspondent reported that Crowley told a small audience at a university in Massachusetts the treatment of jailed former intelligence analyst Bradley Manning "is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Will Dunham)