US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley has said the Pentagon is being 'ridiculous and stupid' in subjecting American soldier Bradley Manning to mistreatment at Quantico in Virginia over the alleged leak of US diplomatic cables through the Wikileaks website.
Crowley said Manning was being "mistreated" in the military brig, adding: "What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the Department of Defence."
His controversial remarks sent rippled through Washington, forcing President Barack Obama to address the subject of Manning's treatment for the first time, The Guardian reports.
On being asked about the controversy, Obama said that he had asked the Pentagon "whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are."
Obama, however, avoided responding specifically to Crowley's comments.
Manning is being held for 23 hours in solitary confinement in his cell and stripped naked every night.
As of now, the US government had appeared united, promising to aggressively pursue anyone involved in leaking state secrets. Clinton herself had described the WikiLeaks material as "an attack on America" adding that "we are taking aggressive steps" to hold those who leaked it to account. (ANI)