State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley is already the subject of one controversy today due to remarks he made about the treatment of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. But Crowley is also in trouble due to a tweet he sent out this morning -- and later deleted -- comparing the situation in the Middle East to the disaster in Japan.
"We've been watching hopeful #tsunami sweep across #MiddleEast. Now seeing a tsunami of a different kind sweep across Japan," Crowley tweeted Friday morning, a State Department official confirmed to The Cable. Crowley's Twitter site no longer includes the tweet, suggesting that he deleted it after the fact. Crowley didn't immediately respond to a request from The Cable.
Multiple administration sources told The Cable that the Defense Department leadership was very upset with Crowley about both incidents.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama was asked at his Friday press conference if he agreed with Crowley's statements at MIT on Thursday that Manning's treatment by the Defense Department was "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."
Obama said that he had personally asked the Pentagon if the conditions imposed on Manning were really necessary.
"They assured me that they are," Obama said. He wouldn't go into detail but added that, "some of this has to do with Private Manning's safety."
Reached by The Cable, Crowley confirmed that he did in fact make the remarks. "What I said was my personal opinion. It does not reflect an official USG policy position. I defer to the Department of Defense regarding the treatment of Bradley Manning," he said.
John Hudson reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for The Cable.