Dazzled by his crooked grin, his profound gravitas, and that weird dying old man smell, James Taranto interviews Dick Cheney and can’t seem to get a handle on the concept of saying something along the lines of, “But didn’t you just say…?“:
Mr. Cheney says key members of Congress–the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, and sometimes both parties’ top leaders from each chamber–were fully informed. “These sessions with Congress, most of which I presided over . . . answered every question that they wanted to ask. We’ve always said, look, if there’s anything else you need to know, just let us know.”
Yet after the Times broke the story, Democratic members of Congress changed their tune from the one Mr. Cheney says they had sung in private. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the top Intelligence Committee Democrat, released a handwritten July 2003 letter to Mr. Cheney in which he said he was “writing to reiterate my concern regarding the sensitive intelligence issues we discussed.” We asked Mr. Cheney if he remembered Mr. Rockefeller iterating his concern in the first place. “No, I recall the letter just sort of arriving, and it was never followed up on.”
For those who parse words for a living you will note that Mr. Cheney explicitly said:
“We’ve always said, look, if there’s anything else you need to know, just let us know.”
He makes no mention of ever responding.
Hence the expression: It can’t hurt to ask.