PJ Crowley resigned from his position as a U.S. State Department spokesperson on March 13 after commenting that the treatment of Bradley Manning was “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” Hillary Clinton announced the resignation:
“It is with regret that I have accepted the resignation of Philip J. Crowley as assistant secretary of state for public affairs. P.J. has served our nation with distinction for more than three decades, in uniform and as a civilian. His service to country is motivated by a deep devotion to public policy and public diplomacy, and I wish him the very best.”
As Slate‘s David Weigel reported, the comments were made in “A non-reported, non-televised talk to a small group that happened to be blogged. He wasn’t saying he spoke for the administration, much less that he knew the facts of the case. It was a comment in confidence; that was enough to embarrass the administration and boost him out.”
The open letter, published on Tumblr, told Clinton of their “severe disappointment” over his resignation. The open letter, see here, states:
“A number of us were present at the meeting where Mr. Crowley expressed his personal opinions, but all of us are concerned to learn that Mr. Crowley’s statements appear to have led to his resignation. In the context of an open and honest discussion in an academic institution, we were eager to hear Mr. Crowley’s views and willing to give him our opinions and advice.
“It is this type of openness to dissenting opinions, frankness of assessments, and honesty of discourse that leads to both the advancement of human knowledge and the healthy function of an open, democratic society. We are discouraged to find such dialogue prompting the resignation of a public official. If public officials are made to fear expressing their truthful opinions, we have laid the groundwork for ineffective, dishonest, and unresponsive governance.