Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Monday, March 22, 2004  

Presto change-o, it's not about the administration, it's about disgruntled Richard Clarke:

MR. McCLELLAN: It appears from what I've seen that he's been more focused on the process than the substance. It appears to be more about Dick Clarke than about the substance. For the President, it's more about the actions that we are taking to protect the American people. Mr. Clarke has been out there talking about what title he had; he's been out there talking about whether or not he was participating in certain meetings. So it appears to be more about the process than the actual actions we have taken.

I'm going to quit harping on all this soon, but indulge me. The press briefing continues:

Q That seems a little simple, doesn't it, Scott? I mean, the process matters when you work in the White House and have to get the attention of superiors who ultimately have the President's ear to make a decision. So isn't that a little disingenuous to dismiss it as a process complaint?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, wait a second here. This is a gentleman that left the administration one-and-a-half years ago. Certainly let's go to the facts. These threats did not happen overnight. These threats have been building for quite some time. Go back to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Go back to the 1998 attacks on United States embassies. Go back to the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. These threats had been building for quite some time. Dick Clarke was here for some eight years. This administration was here for some 230 days before the attacks of September 11th....

Q Why do you think he's doing this?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, why, all of a sudden, if he had all these grave concerns, did he not raise these sooner? This is one-and-a-half years after he left the administration. And now, all of a sudden, he's raising these grave concerns that he claims he had. And I think you have to look at some of the facts. One, he is bringing this up in the heat of a presidential campaign. He has written a book and he certainly wants to go out there and promote that book. Certainly let's look at the politics of it. His best buddy is Rand Beers, who is the principal foreign policy advisor to Senator Kerry's campaign. The Kerry campaign went out and immediately put these comments up on their website that Mr. Clarke made....

Q Scott, the whole point of his book is he says that he did raise these concerns and he was not listened to by his superiors.

I guess we see how the White House is going to handle this. By now it's become a pretty familiar pattern. Once again someone close to the President offers a version of how things played out that is damning. It also happens to cleave very closely to the facts as we watched them play out externally. The White House obfuscates and offers alternative explanations about how things happened, and these don't look anything at all like what we saw play out. Will it further erode the President's credibility? Hard to see how it won't.

(Now I promise to drop the Clarke business.)

posted by Jeff | 2:53 PM |
Blogroll and Links