Bloggers weigh Condoleezza Rice’s claim that she doesn’t remember a key 2001 meeting with George Tenet. They also predict ripples from Rep. Mark Foley’s indiscretion.
Rice cooker: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has vehemently denied claims that CIA Director George Tenet warned her in July 2001 of an impending attack on the United States, as described in Bob Woodward’s new book, State of Denial. Transcripts of Tenet’s 9/11 Commission testimony have since confirmed that the meeting took place, although commission members didn’t recall being told. Bloggers’ lie detectors are abuzz.
Simon Rosenberg at progressive NDN thinks Condi’s “don’t recall” excuse is the last straw: “[Her] response is so insulting, full of lies and ass-covering that she must resign.” Independent Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice writes that the latest report “confirms that (a) the warnings were given and (b) Ms. Rice perhaps needs to take a few herbs for her memory.”
Conservative McQ at QandO argues that Tenet’s warning may not have been so different from past briefings: “Bin Laden was gearing up for another attack. What’s new? WTC, embassies, Cole, Kobar Towers. He’d already done it 4 times previously that we know of. There should be no reason to suspect, given his success on 3 of the 4, that he wouldn’t attack again.” Anderson at Thus Blogged Anderson agrees: “[I]t’s far from demonstrated that Tenet said anything to her about an attack inside the U.S. (as opposed to an attack on assets outside the U.S., as with the African embassies and the Cole).”
Prominent liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias underhandedly gives Condoleezza the benefit of the doubt: “But maybe she forgot. Maybe this is just a government composed of extraodinarily thoughtless people who never took a minute to look back at their pre-9/11 behavior and see if anything might have gone wrong. Maybe she’s not lying and she’s just incredibly irresponsible.”
9/11 Commission members have said Tenet never gave them the impression he felt “brushed off” by Rice, and Tenet has since challenged Woodward on that point. LiberalCraig at Donkey Path points out that Tenet had every reason to paint Condi’s response in a positive light before to the 9/11 Commission: “[H]e was still very interested in keeping his job … I’m sure it was quite a balancing act for administration figures to testify that they were paying attention to terrorism at the same time that they avoided blaming other administration figures for their lapses.”
Conservative blogger TexasFred confesses he “can’t take Woodward too seriously at this point”: “I doubt that Woodward was sitting in on any of these meetings and has any 1st hand knowledge, and if that’s the case, all he has is ‘hearsay’, take THAT to court, AND, this is an election time, who knows WHAT truths and half truths and outright LIES are being slung.” Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute highlights a New York Times story that claims Condi didn’t give Tenet the brushoff and cites new accounts that contradict Woodward’s.
Read more about the Rice-Tenet meeting.
Speaking up: The Washington Times called for House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s resignation Tuesday in the wake of revelations that key House Republicans knew about Rep. Mark Foley’s e-mails to teenage boys. Hastert says he will remain. Conservative bloggers are mostly unhappy with Hastert but are split on how to proceed.
Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters thinks the real scandal is Republicans’ reluctance to investigate Foley’s history: “What kind of an investigation doesn’t address the reality of patterns in allegedly predatory behavior? Foley’s uncommon interest in young teenage boys had become parlor talk among the pages, but either Hastert didn’t want to find that out or deliberately avoided it.”
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt blasts the left for fomenting “MSM-abetted hysteria” and claims Hastert did the right thing: “To have attempted to censure Foley for that e-mail would have been to impose a rule on Congressmen concerning their contacts with minor pages and interns that has no precedent anywhere. The warning about appropriateness that Foley did receive is exactly what ought to have happened and did.”
James Joyner at the conservative Outside the Beltway compares Hastert’s mistake to the Strom Thurmond-Trent Lott flap, when Lott displayed poor judgment in praising the senator: “At best, [Hastert]’s got such a poor grasp of the things going on around him that I question whether he should be allowed to drive, let alone be second in line to the presidency.”
Read more on Hastert’s nonresignation. Paul Blumenthal’s liberal blog In Broad Daylight gives a rundown of Hastert’s term as speaker. In Slate, John Dickerson cautions Democrats against appearing homophobic, and “Has-Been” Bruce Reed has some advice for Republicans.