Tuesday :: May 17, 2005

McClellan Lied At Press Gaggle Yesterday


by Steve

It looks like Scott McClellan was caught in a lie yesterday, during his impromptu press briefing to pile on Newsweek:

Q: Can you 100 percent say for sure that it is wrong, that there were no incidents of American interrogators putting Korans in the toilets?
MR. McCLELLAN: I know of no such incidents. And the Department of Defense said last week that they could find no credible evidence of it either. They have looked into it.

Really? That's not what the Pentagon actually said last week Scott, on May 10th:

Q: Different issue. There have been protests in Pakistan over reports that investigation over abuses in Guantanamo has found that guards have apparently put Korans in the toilet. And I'm wondering if either of you can comment on whether that's accurate, or whether the investigation has found that, and what's being done about it?
MR. DIRITA: I can't speak to any particular -- I've not seen the reports on that specific point. As we've said many times, we have conducted multiple investigations into the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere in the world, and we are facing an adversary -- in the case of many of these detainees, particularly at Guantanamo -- who are exceedingly well-trained in counter-interrogation tactics. And the procedures that are provided for by field manuals, as well as other authorization, have taken that into account. But I can't speak to a particular assertion about what may have happened.
Q:( Inaudible) -- at least the status of that investigation at Guantanamo?
MR. DIRITA: Which investigation?
Q: This is -- I believe this is an investigation that was sparked by allegations by FBI officials --
MR. DIRITA: Oh, right. That was an investigation that because of these FBI e-mails that we learned of, the commander down there asked for it to be pursued. I know that the investigators down there have coordinated with the FBI, which apparently is doing its own separate investigation. The Department of Justice inspector general is involved because there are FBI interrogators as well as other -- as well as military.
So I think where we are is that the commander is coordinating closely with the Department of Justice so that we have -- we can be as linked together as we need to be. He, I think, received some -- the commander received some initial assessments early, asked for some additional inquiries, and those have not been completed.
And I think we're probably -- because of the desire to make sure that we're working closely with other agencies, it's a little bit more complicated. And I think we're probably several weeks away from being able to say that the commander has made his final assessments there.

So, as of last Tuesday, May 10th, (the day after the story broke) we were "several weeks away" from the Guantanamo commander being able to make his final assessments as to whether or not the "Korans down the toilet" stories were credible.

Yet sometime between last Tuesday and yesterday afternoon, the White House was able to say with certainty that in six days a multi-agency effort involving the Department of Justice's Inspector General and the FBI's own investigation had fast-forwarded "several weeks" of work into a conclusion that the Pentagon "could find no credible evidence of it either."

So I guess the FBI's own report, and that of the Department of Justice IG are done and available for the media to see, right? Or did Rove and McClellan just pull that one out of their ass yesterday afternoon and hope the media didn't look at the May 10th transcript?

Steve :: 1:34 PM :: Comments (27) :: Digg It!