The Obama administration's pursuit of an "aiding the enemy" charge against Army Private Bradley Manning for giving classified documents to WikiLeaks "is eroding the credibility of the U.S. justice system," P.J. Crowley, who resigned as State Department spokesman after criticizing Manning's treatment in custody, says on this week's episode of "Conversations with Nicholas Kralev."
"Manning has admitted guilt to a series of charges and has accepted potential punishment of up to 20 years in prison -- I believe that is an adequate judicial judgment that reinforces the importance of protecting classified information," Crowley says. "I happen to oppose what the government is doing now in terms of pursuing the charge of aiding the enemy."
Crowley was the administration's main spokesman on the WikiLeaks cables' release in the fall of 2010, which he repeatedly condemned. In March 2011, he stepped down after publicly expressing a personal opinion. "I said the treatment was counterproductive, because it was undermining what otherwise is a very important prosecution," he recalls. "That judgment has been validated by both the United Nations and the presiding judge" in Manning's trial, which is currently underway.
A retired Air Force colonel and National Security Council spokesman in the Clinton White House, Crowley now teaches at The George Washington University. On the program, he also talks about how the media covers diplomacy, the Arab Spring as a case study of the effectiveness of U.S. diplomacy, and about former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who is also charged with releasing classified information.