Mar 26, 2004
Pincus and Milbank in today’s Wa Po:
Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage contradicted Rice’s claim that the White House had a strategy before 9/11 for military operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban; the CIA contradicted Rice’s earlier assertion that Bush had requested a CIA briefing in the summer of 2001 because of elevated terrorist threats; and Rice’s assertion this week that Bush told her on Sept. 16, 2001, that “Iraq is to the side” appeared to be contradicted by an order signed by Bush on Sept. 17 directing the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq.
But as the media continue to scratch their heads about who is more credible, Clarke or Rice, how about a refresher course on the flap over uranium from Niger:
Just weeks ago, Condoleezza Rice, President Bush’s national security adviser, made a trip to the Middle East that was widely seen as advancing the peace process. There was speculation that she would be a likely choice for secretary of state, and hopes among Republicans that she could become governor of California and even, someday, president.
But she has since become enmeshed in the controversy over the administration’s use of intelligence about Iraq’s weapons in the run-up to war. She has been made to appear out of the loop by colleagues’ claims that she did not read or recall vital pieces of intelligence. And she has made statements about U.S. intelligence on Iraq that have been contradicted by facts that later emerged.
“But what it suggests to me is that there is one standard — one standard of candor and morality for White House special assistants and another standard of candor and morality for the rest of America. I don’t get that.”
Perhaps Rice can explain it to him in her private, not-under-oath meeting with the commission.
Update: More at Salon.