Lies under oaf

condi_60min.jpg Last week Condi Rice showed herself willing to lie riotously for the cameras, but shy as a woodland faun when invited to spew the same egregious crap under oath. The administration is selecting and distorting statements made by Richard Clarke under oath (that are unavailable for public scrutiny) and threatening Clarke with all sorts of punishment. I wonder if their panicky avoidance of taking an oath themselves is being amplified by awareness of how deeply wrong it is to be doing what they’re doing right now.

[RICHARD] CLARKE: This is the president of the United States’ writing. And when they’re engaged in character assassination of me, let’s just remember that on January 31, 2003 [he wrote]: “Dear Dick, you will be missed. You served our nation with distinction and honor. You have left a positive mark on our government.” This is not the normal typewritten letter that everybody gets. This is the president’s handwriting.

He thinks I served with distinction and honor. The rest of his staff is out there trying to destroy my professional life, trying to destroy my reputation, because I had the temerity to suggest that a policy issue should be discussed. What is the role of the war on terror vis-a-vis the war in Iraq? Did the war in Iraq really hurt the war on terror? Because I suggest we should have a debate on that, I am now being the victim of a taxpayer-paid — because all these people work for the government — character assassination campaign. (03/28/04, Meet the Press)

First the Bush administration said that Condi wasn’t allowed to testify under oath because tradition prevented National Security Advisor(s) from appearing before a Congressional body. When it was proven that tradition has, indeed, given such permission in the past, BushCo looked elsewhere to pass this particular buck.

Then BushCo claimed that Condi wasn’t allowed to testify under oath because presidential advisors had to be assured of confidentiality. Yet even while making that wobbly case, they were exposing advisor Richard Clarke’s identity as an unnamed source in a background briefing on behalf of the White House, said exposure for nothing more urgent than bolstering the administration’s intent to smear him as inconsistent. (The hypocrisy of trying to smear him with a past briefing given on their orders to make their case apparently continues to elude most media.)

If this sacred confidentiality can be dispensed for nothing more urgent than a drive-by administration smear, surely it can be dispensed for their testimony before the 911 commission.

The Bush administration then said that Condi couldn’t testify because White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez advised against it. September 11th has long been the President’s excuse for flouting civility, ethics, tradition, good taste, decades of foreign policy and of course, law:

“International law? I better call my lawyer; he didn’t bring that up to me.” – George W. Bush, responding sarcastically [12/21/03] to a question about U.S. policy in Iraq violating international law (12/22/03 Newsweek)

Suddenly, he is paralyzed with respect for the law and reveals Alberto Gonzalez to be the most powerful person in the world? Please.

The latest excuse is that they don’t want to reveal intelligence methods and sources, as it might compromise national security. Fair enough, even with the reek of insincerity that comes from this being their latest rather than first excuse. (What, tradition is their marquee center and national security, the last scrub on the bench?) There’s still a considerable public record of events that need ‘splainin, though. They don’t necessarily have to go into spook territory to answer, What the fuck were you thinking???? Here are a few of examples of WTF situations:

Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, The Manchester Guardian calculated that Mr. Bush, in his first seven months of office spent 42 percent of his time on holiday, “a whopping 54 days at his Texas ranch, 38 days at the presidential retreat at Camp David and four more at his parents’ place in Kennebunkport, Maine.”

That changed when the job became fundamentally more serious after the terrorist attacks. But Mr. Bush still rests, although his month-long retreat of August 2001 – the longest presidential vacation in 32 years – is no longer politically prudent while the war on terrorism is being waged. (03/18/04 CBS/Kuhn)

Even when not on leisure time, the public record already shows several instances of inaction and neglect of the issue of terrorism:

[RICHARD] CLARKE: [A]fter Tenet had been briefing [Bush] day after day after day after day about an al-Qaeda threat, the president said, in May, “Well, let’s, you know, get a strategy.” That’s the only thing I ever heard that he got involved in personally. And when he said that, Dr. Rice called me and said, “The president wants a strategy.” And I said, “Well, you know the strategy was what I sent you on January 25, and it’s been stuck in these low-level committees.” And she said, “Fine. I’ll deal with that.” Well, she didn’t deal with it until September.

And, interestingly enough, the president never said after that May conversation, “Where’s the strategy?” And, again, if you go back to what the president himself says to Bob Woodward, he said, “I knew there was a strategy in the works. But I didn’t know how mature the plan was.” He’s saying this on September 11. He didn’t know where the strategy was. The strategy that he had asked for in May? He’d never come back and asked where it was. You know, basically, it wasn’t an urgent issue for them before September 11. … They held interim meetings, but they never actually decided anything before September 11. (03/28/04, Meet the Press)

Clarke is apparently referring to Bush (on May 8, 2001) entrusting Cheney to head the Office of National Preparedness section of FEMA to coordinate federal programs for responding to domestic attacks.(NYT 07/08/02, reg) Apparently this task force never met or if it did, it’s one of the secrets in Cheney’s bulging vault.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R) sent a copy of draft legislation on counterterrorism and national defense to Vice President Cheney?s office on July 20. On September 10, 2001, they were told by Cheney?s top aide “that it might be another six months before he would be able to review the material.” CNN Interactive Timeline

So as of September, 2001, the strategy supposedly set in action in May (and the loop Cheney claims didn’t include Clarke) still wasn’t active. The commission already has a record of appalling examples of inaction in 2001, as they’ve already been documented in the public record. BushCo’s attempt to avoid public testimony under oath follows their cheesy history of dodging accountability — only this time they’d face indictments if they try to lie about it.

The Center for American Progress has a sourced rap sheet exposing the Condi-Lies.

Update: Apologies if anyone experienced stalling or problems with the links. I boneheadedly uploaded a draft rather than my rewrite and tried to fix stuff online. I am willing to testify about it under oath.


Comments: 7


It has been repeated over and over again by every Bushco flack who has been hustled in front of a camera: We didn’t like the Clinton approach to terrorism because it “only” relied on a law-enforcement approach. We wanted a more COMPREHENSIVE attack on terrorism that would wipe it off the face of the earth with military intervention.

The difference being that: (1) the Clinton/law enforcement/covert tactics approach WORKED, as witness the Millenium Attacks and others that never happened, and (2) while devising (as this post details) the supposedly more effective absolutist approach, they let all the law-enforcement/covert tactics stuff go by the wayside. No “battle stations”, daily meetings, “shaking the trees”, etc.

THIS, imho, is the connection they are trying desperately to obfuscate here. These guys are slick–they hide things not by not saying them but by saying so MUCH that the important details get lost in the mess.


I agree, Xan — it’s what so many BushCo apologists conveniently forget when they try to blame yet another of the Miserable Failure’s miserable failures on the Clinton admin.

Clarke mentioned it a few times. When Clinton had a chance to bomb terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, congress, the media and of course the GOP attack machine screaming about “wagging the dog” were obsessed with Lewinsky.

It WILL emerge how much the fanatical RW’s determination to block Clinton’s initiatives simply because they hated him hurt the nation. It continued when the Bu’ush Party sued its way into taking office and it’s a big reason the 9/11 attacks weren’t prevented.


There is a very good reason the White House can’t let Condi testify under oath … It would be tantamount to subourning perjury.


Your graphic is too cool! I cracked up when I saw it.

I have to admit I wanted her to at least hold her own on 60 Minutes since it would make Clarke even more credible and hopefully would have elevated the entire discussion concerning Iraq. But geez, there were so many “tells” all through her interview I had to feel bad for her (but not that bad). I think she spoke 3 sentences where she didn’t rapidly blink her eyes or shake her head no to in the whole thing. With all the bucks floating around the GOP you’d think she could hve been coached a little better than that.


Blindfolded, they step on that Land Mine

A WaPost Editorial about why Condi should testify: after 9/11 everything is different. On the other hand, maybe she shouldn’t because well it’s really not….Presidents are more likely to surround themselves with political loyalists, depriving themselv…


We loved the pic too! The really sad thing is that it took a second to realize it was supposed to be a joke …


Yeah, Peanut, beautiful work on the graphics.

You know, I used to think of s.z. as being my dream girl, but lately… oh, never mind!


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