Hitting the ground running
White House spokesman Scott McClellan took over for Ari and the White House never skipped a beat:
Sen. Dick Durbin, who was present for a 4 1/2-hour appearance by Tenet behind closed doors with Intelligence Committee members Wednesday, said Tenet named the official. But the Illinois Democrat said that person’s identity could not be revealed because of the confidentiality of the proceedings.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan was quick to dispute Durbin’s account. “That characterization is nonsense. It’s not surprising, coming from someone who was in a rather small minority in Congress who did not support the action we took,” McClellan told reporters.
Durbin, appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” said that Tenet “certainly told us who the person was who was insistent on putting this language in which the CIA knew to be incredible, this language about the uranium shipment from Africa.”
“And there was this negotiation between the White House and the CIA about just how far you could go and be close to the truth and unfortunately those sixteen words were included in the most important speech the president delivers in any given year,” Durbin added.
Countered McClellan: “The whole idea that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was not real was something that was never under debate previously. This is an attempt to continue to rewrite history.” (my emphasis)
Of course, McClellan wasn’t in the room, but never mind that..
Now all McClellan has to do is tell us that the President is “focused” and the assimilation will be complete.