US State Department spokesman P J Crowley has resigned, days after causing a stir by criticising the Pentagon's treatment of the man accused of leaking secret cables to Wikileaks as "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid."
"Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation as assistant secretary for Public Affairs and Spokesman for the Department of State," Crowley said in his resignation statement on Sunday.
Accepting the resignation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Crowley would be replaced by Michael Hammer, who till recently was spokesman of the National Security Council, White House. Hammer had recently joined the State Department.
"It is with regret that I have accepted the resignation of Philip J Crowley as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs," Clinton said in a statement.
"PJ, (as Crowley, is popularly known) has served our nation with distinction for more than three decades, in uniform and as a civilian," Clinton said.
Noting that the unauthorised disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under US law, Crowley said his 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.
"The exercise of power in today's challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values," he said.
"I leave with great admiration and affection for my State colleagues, who promote our national interest both on the front lines and in the quiet corners of the world. It was a privilege to help communicate their many and vital contributions to our national security," Crowley said.
"I leave with deep respect for the journalists who report on foreign policy and global developments every day, in many cases under dangerous conditions and subject to serious threats. Their efforts help make governments more responsible, accountable and transparent," Crowley said.