Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Credit where credit is due: Pat Roberts (R) Kansas Via Atrios comes this Bill Frist Smackdown and Bukkake (ok, the last part was a little over the top I admit) from Pat Roberts one of those rare breed of individuals in the Senate who do not let party label, trump integrity. Unlike say, the Majority Leader. From The Hill: Roberts contradicts Frist on Clarke By Alexander Bolton Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says former Bush counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke’s testimony before a joint congressional panel on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks did not contradict his later testimony before a presidentially appointed commission. Roberts’s comments to The Hill contradict a stinging condemnation of Clarke by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on the Senate floor after Clarke accused President Bush of failing to take Osama bin Laden seriously before Sept. 11. Roberts said Frist did not consult him before making his floor speech, which has been criticized by Democrats. Roberts’s words make perjury charges against Clarke highly unlikely. .... Speaking of Clarke’s private testimony in 2002 before a joint House-Senate panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, compared to more recent public testimony, Roberts said, “It’s not that he said one thing in one place and said another in another place. It’s just that the subject never came up during the investigation by the House and Senate. “The prime topic was basically, Did the intelligence community have the authority to take advantage of opportunities in regard to Osama bin Laden. “But I don’t recall any questions in regard to whether the Bush administration was responding well … I don’t think the words ever came up.” When asked if Clarke contradicted himself, Roberts said he did not. Roberts said Clarke’s 2002 testimony was on small-bore process issues related to the intelligence community while the later testimony took a big-picture view of policymakers’ handling of evidence of a pending attack. He wished that Frist had consulted with him before making his floor statement. ... Bob Stevenson, Frist’s spokesman, told The Washington Post that on March 24, while Clarke testified before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, “a number of staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee familiar with Clarke’s 2002 joint intelligence committee testimony contacted the senator’s staff and said ‘the tone’ was ‘quite different from 2002.’” Roberts said Republican staffers on the intelligence panel “will be in trouble” if he finds out they took the initiative to relate Clarke’s closed-door testimony to Frist’s staff. Roberts said the appropriate handling of the matter would have been for Senate intelligence staff to brief him and for Roberts to brief Frist directly. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the intelligence panel, said that it would have been inappropriate for Intelligence Committee staffers to contact staff in the leader’s office to relate the contents of Clarke’s 2002 testimony. Durbin added that Frist’s condemnation of Clarke was excessive and out of character for the leader. “It’s like he was handed a script from the White House,” Durbin said. I believe that requires an... ...Indeed. Oh, and this:
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