Kitten with a whip…and plausible deniability.

Our Dominatrix of State, Condoleezza Rice, makes a firm no-doubt-about-it denial with a few qualifiers thrown in because, you know, sometimes the truth gets out:

WASHINGTON – The United States “was not involved in any way” in a short-lived coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez but wants assurances that he is committed to democracy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (news – web sites) said Wednesday.

The United States has denied a role in the 2002 coup before, but Rice made a broad and emphatic point of it during testimony before a House Appropriations Committee panel.

“The United States, despite protestations to the contrary by President Chavez, was not involved in that coup, to my knowledge,” Rice said. “To my fullest knowledge, the United States was not involved in any way.”

“And that’s very important because we do respect the democratic process.” (my emphasis)

That respecting the “democratic process” part was also to the best of her knowledge, at least until she hears from the Justice Department.

This should make you feel confident:

Rice was President Bush (news – web sites)’s national security adviser at the time of the coup in Venezuela and privy to sensitive intelligence.

…and we all know how that turned out. We’ll cut Condi a little slack. She wasn’t in her happy place then, but lately she seems to have moved on.

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....