Hillary Clinton's chief spokesman P.J. Crowley told the audience at an MIT panel last night that Wikileaker Bradley Manning is being "mistreated" in a military jail, which is "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid." Wait, this is on the record? Shit.

Manning has lived under a "prevention of injury" regime at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., since July of last year, which means he only gets to watch one hour of television a day and has stiff blankets. More recently, he's been forced to sleep naked every night, which some people do voluntarily but is pretty humiliating in prison, we'd imagine. Anyway, some call this torture, others call it "being in jail." But at an MIT conference last night, Crowley—who has been one of Wikileaks' most vociferous and angry critics, which is sort of his job—basically admitted that Manning is being abused, according to two different bloggers who were present.

According to Chuck Toporek, Crowley said Manning responded to a question about Manning's naked nights by saying he is being "mistreated." And Philippa Thomas, who was also present, says he described the conditions of Manning's confinement as "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid" even though he "is in the right place."

These are the sorts of honest expressions of opinion that public officials are given to utter when they don't realize that they're on the record. After Crowley made the comments, Philippa asked him if they were on the record. "There was an uncomfortable pause. 'Sure.' So there we are." Wrong answer!

We called the State Department to confirm the accounts, but haven't heard back.

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