Thursday, July 17, 2003

Tenet's strange reluctance...

Who insisted on the 16 weasel words?

[S]ources, who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity, said that Tenet “reluctantly” identified the official as National Security Council member Robert Joseph. Once source said that the revelation led to a series of questions about Joseph’s role.

Sources have told the network that, after Foley objected to the first draft of the passage, Joseph came up with the suggestion of attributing it to the British, asking [CIA analyst Alan] Foley if that would make it technically correct. Since the British were reporting it, Foley had to acknowledge that the passage was factually accurate, even though the CIA did not think the assertion was true, according to the sources.

Though this is what Tenet is quoted as saying, NSC member and (very?) Special Assistant Joseph himself has already denied it. ("He denies it, leave out that part," as the King says in Alice in Wonderland.)

Another functionary (Condi's) heaved over the side....

From the cornered mind of George W. Bush: Got to—think—Some professor somewhere—Yeah, that's the ticket [to repeat Atrios's post earlier today]—Do Special Assistants even have swords?—Condi will know——

Pass the popcorn!

(Thanks to alert readers Hunter, Alex.)

UPDATE: Varied wordsmithing.

UPDATE: Via Talking Points, Sucker MC caught in the headlights on his first day of his new job:

QUESTION: Let me come back to your "nonsense" statement here, and let me slice it as thinly as I possibly can, just growing out of what Scott asked. Is it nonsense to say that the White House wanted this information included in the State of the Union and negotiated with the CIA to find a way to put it in to the State of the Union?

Scott McClellan: I'm sorry?


UPDATE: Who needs BabelFish? You can figure this out for yourself! Le Monde writes that according to the Italian intelligence service:

... [C]'est Silvio Berlusconi lui-même qui aurait relancé le faux dossier à l'occasion d'une conversation téléphonique avec George Bush, trois jours avant le discours de celui-ci sur l'état de l'Union...

It's got everything! A winger-to-winger telcon, outrageous (Italian) media concentration, and the Italian services using the French connection to put it to their own Misleader! (Thanks to Likely Story.)

Passez le mais grillé et éclaté!