White House Demands Media 'Correct' Itself
The White House is fumbling over today's report that it knew there were no WMD's before Bush made his fateful speech.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the account "reckless reporting" and said Bush made his statement based on the intelligence assessment of the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), an arm of the Pentagon.Field reports are raw, they say. It always needs some cooking.
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A U.S. intelligence official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, confirmed the existence of the field report cited by the Post, but said it was a preliminary finding that had to be evaluated.
"You don't change a report that has been coordinated in the (intelligence) community based on a field report," the official said. "It's a preliminary report. No matter how strongly the individual may feel about the subject matter."
But then why bother sending experts?
The authors of the reports -- nine U.S. and British civilian experts -- were sent to Baghdad by the DIA, the newspaper said.I wonder who were the key members of the 'Iraqi Survey Group' responsible for the finished product?
A DIA spokesman told the paper that the team's findings were neither ignored nor suppressed, but were incorporated in the work of the Iraqi Survey Group, which led the official search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
The team's work remains classified. But the newspaper said interviews revealed that the team was unequivocal in its conclusion that the trailers were not intended to manufacture biological weapons.
McClellan said the Post story was "nothing more than rehashing an old issue that was resolved long ago," pointing out that an independent commission on Iraq had already determined the intelligence on alleged Iraqi biological weapons was wrong.Feeble pleas for help. McClellan demands the media 'correct' their report, like the ISG 'corrected' that of the field experts.
When an ABC reporter pressed McClellan on the subject at his morning briefing, McClellan upbraided the network for picking up on the report.
"This is reckless reporting and for you all to go on the air this morning and make such a charge is irresponsible, and I hope that ABC would apologize for it and make a correction on the air," he said.
Their house of cards is falling.