Wednesday, April 07, 2004

No Lie Too Small, Part II Amazing that Spanky McSpokesman would spin something not even comprising a "half-truth". From USA Today -- "born again liar free since February": WASHINGTON — Dealing with criticism that national security adviser Condoleezza Rice wouldn't testify in public before the 10-member commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, White House spokesman Scott McClellan complained last month that when she testified in private, "only five members showed up" to hear what she had to say. What McClellan didn't tell reporters was that on Nov. 21 — long before Rice met with the five commissioners in February — the White House counsel's office had sent the commission a letter saying no more than three commissioners could attend meetings with White House aides of Rice's rank. Given that demand, "we are a little surprised that the White House has repeatedly implied to the public that commissioners were uninterested in attending these meetings," commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said Tuesday. Commissioner Jamie Gorelick, who did not attend the interview with Rice on Feb. 7, said she finds it "infuriating" that the White House would insinuate commissioners shirked their duty and didn't have a right to press for more time with Rice. "That's hooey," she said. The suggestion from McClellan came during a press briefing March 9, before the White House reversed course and agreed to allow Rice to testify in public. McClellan told reporters that Rice, who is now scheduled to testify publicly Thursday, had spent ample time with commissioners in private. "Only five members actually showed up, despite the fact that it was scheduled for the entire commission," he said. What's more, he added, "you had another national security official under Dr. Rice who met with the commission, and I think only four showed up." He told the press corps, "I think you need to keep that in context for your reporting." Felzenberg said the commission never agreed to the terms in the November letter, which said that for a meeting with an assistant to the president, either the chairman or vice chairman of the commission must show up with no more than two other commissioners. But the commission did agree to meet with Rice at her convenience, and the date and time she chose — a Saturday afternoon — limited the number of commissioners who could attend because several live far from Washington. Tuesday, McClellan said all 10 commissioners were invited to meet with Rice on Feb. 7 and said the letter represented only "early guidelines" about meetings. Felzenberg said the commission was unaware of any such invitation.
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