Thursday, May 23, 2002

If Tamara Baker ran the press briefing:

May 22, 2002 -- St. Paul, MN (APJP) -- Here's a sneak peek inside a Bush White House daily press conference we may well see:

Ari Fleischer: First of all, I want to let you know that we have not ignored the terrorist threats --

First Reporter: Ari, why did Ashcroft turn down the FBI's 2001 request for more counter-terrorism agents?

Ari: Uh, uh --

Second Reporter: Ari, why did Bush ignore the memo he got on August 6 warning him about a possible plane attack by Al-Qaeda?

Ari: Uh, well --

Third Reporter: And why didn't Ashcroft, who had himself stopped flying in commercial aircraft back in July of 2001, pass on the Phoenix memo?

Fourth Reporter: And why did Condollezza Rice and her bosses blow off Sandy Berger's warning to keep a close watch on Al-Qaeda?

Ari: I can't tell you about all of that --it's national security! Didn't you hear Cheney and Rumsfeld -- we're under imminent danger of attack, so your asking icky questions is aiding the terrorists! Stop it!

First Reporter: Ari, Tom Ridge's "Homeland Security" color-coded danger indicator is still at merely the "Elevated" level as of May 21, 2002 -- it hasn't budged upwards at all, not even after everything Cheney and Rumsfeld have said. Why is that?


Fifth Reporter: Ari, Diane Feinstein said that on Sept. 10, 2001, she had talked to Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, to convey her concerns and that his response was "We'll get back to you in six months." Care to comment on that?

Ari: That's it! You're all under arrest! Ashcroft, take 'em away! We can do that now, you know! Habeas corpus doesn't exist anymore...