Former State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley said Monday that he felt "no regrets" over the comments that sparked his resignation.
Crowley, in his first public remarks since stepping down on March 13, told the BBC, "I thought the treatment of Bradley Manning was undermining what I considered to be a very legitimate prosecution of an individual who has profoundly affected US national security."
Manning, who is alleged to be WikiLeaks' source for the diplomatic cables that were released in 2010, has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest in May of 2010. The conditions of his detention, which Glenn Greenwald of Salon called "inhumane," have sparked protests by supporters and rights activists.
Crowley told the BBC that he didn't realize his comments would start such a firestorm. "Quite honestly I didn't necessarily think the controversy would go as far as it did but I don't regret saying what I said," the BBC quotes him as saying.
At the time, Crowley called the conditions in which Manning is being held, which include being being stripped naked and sleeping without a pillow or blanket, "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid," Foreign Policy confirmed at the time. "None the less Bradley Manning is in the right place," Crowley reportedly added at the lecture, which was organized by MIT's Center for Future Civic Media.
Days after the comments came to light, Crowley resigned from his position after pressure from the Obama administration. He issued a statement saying, "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."
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who insists he had never heard the name Bradley Manning until he "read it in a magazine," has called Manning a "political prisoner."