Monday, July 19, 2004

Let the White House Speak for Itself

Today William Safire coughed, rolled out of bed, and spat out a column proclaiming that Chimpy's 2003 16-word State of the Union claim that Saddam sought uranium from Africa was entirely truthful.
Josh Marshall has been the go-to guy on all things Wilson, so I will leave it to him to rebut Safire as he sees fit.  But for my money the last word on the 16 words was provided by the White House on July 18, 2003, when an unnamed Senior Administration Official gave an extraordinary press briefing.  The administration officially backed off of the 16-word claim in that briefing, and have yet to revise that position.
As recently as last Thursday, GOP-USA's Jeff Gannon gave Scottie McClellan (who we learned last week is paid about $1 per lie) the opportunity to revise the official White House position on the 16 words, but Scottie did not bite:

Q Last Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report that shows that Ambassador Joe Wilson lied when he said his wife didn't put him up for the mission to Niger. The British inquiry into their own prewar intelligence yesterday concluded that the President's 16 words were "well-founded." Doesn't Joe Wilson owe the President and America an apology for his deception and his own intelligence failure?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, one, let me point out that I think those reports speak for themselves on that issue. And I think if you have questions about that, you can direct that to Mr. Wilson.

Q Well, we spent so many weeks here dissecting the 16 words that are now absolutely true. Don't you think --

Q How do you know that?

Q Excuse me, Helen. Don't you think that America deserves the opportunity to have this information brought forward, as well?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I noticed the media reports on this very issue over the weekend.

Q There were very few of them.

MR. McCLELLAN: And I certainly recognize that it was getting a lot of attention previously. But I think the reports speak for themselves on it.
Go ahead.

Maybe Safire should shut his yap until the White House revises its position on the 16 words.