(CNN) - A tweet by Sarah Palin attacking the U.S. State Department for a tweet to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his birthday distorted the State Department's original intent, a spokesman for the department said Friday.
"My tweet was simply to suggest that a reasonable celebration of President Ahmadinejad's birthday would be to release Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. I can't imagine why Sarah Palin would object to the release of the two hikers who remain in custody, we think inappropriately," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in response to a question about Palin's criticism.
This morning the State Department retweeted Crowley's original tweet in which he said, "Happy birthday President #Ahmadinejad. Celebrate by sending Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer home. What a gift that would be. #Iran."
Palin said on her Twitter account, "Happy B'day Ahmadinejad wish sent by US Govt. Mind boggling foreign policy: kowtow & coddle enemies; snub allies. Obama Doctrine is nonsense."
She added in a second tweet, "Americans awaken 2 bizarre natl security thinking of Obama Admn: Ahmadinejad b'day greeting after call 4 Israel's destruction speaks volumes."
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal are two of three hikers who were detained by Iran after allegedly straying into Kurdistan while hiking the Iraq-Iran border in September 2009. The third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail due to a medical condition in September; Bauer and Fattal remain jailed in Tehran's Evin prison.
Iran has accused the three of spying, a charge the United States and the hikers have denied. The State Department has asked for the hikers to be released on numerous occasions.