Josh Marshall - God bless him - nails the Bushies on more backpedaling and lies. Go read the whole thing here. A recap, with some thoughts and speculations by yours truly:
Bill Frist, as I'm sure you know, has accused Clarke of telling two entirely different stories:
Mr. Clarke has told two entirely different stories under oath, Frist said in a speech from the Senate floor, alleging that Clarke said in 2002 that the Bush administration actively sought to address the threat posed by al-Qaida before the attacks.
but later, he not only retreated from any accusation of perjury, but said he didn't actually know if there were any discrepancies:
Frist later retreated from directly accusing Clarke of perjury, telling reporters that he personally had no knowledge that there were any discrepancies between Clarke's two appearances. But he said, "Until you have him under oath both times, you don't know."
So a few hours after accusing Clarke of perjury, he says that he isn't only not sure if there's any perjury, but claims that he doesn't know if there are any inconsistencies AT ALL.
What's up with THAT, Dr. Bill? Just chucking bodily waste at the wall and seeing if it sticks again?
Actually, what it obviously means is that Frist doesn't KNOW of anything in Clarke's original testimony that is a problem for Clarke. He is just hoping to get it declassified so the Bushies and their minions can go on a fishing expedition through it, looking for even the SLIGHTEST discrepancy and hoping to find a small piece of nothing that they can pretend is something, and thus further muddy the picture.
But for Frist to come out and publicly disgrace himself in such an obvious manner must mean that the Bushies are VERY concerned. So concerned that they are helping to give the story even more legs than it already has.
IN ADDITION, on the episode of 60 minutes where Clarke was first interviewed, Steve Hadley, the Deputy National Security Advisor accused Clarke of lying about a meeting between Clarke and Bush on September 11 in which Clarke say that Bush pressed him to find a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. Hadley said that no such meeting took place.
Unfortunately for Hadley, CBS had two sources that confirmed that the meeting took place, including one who was present.
So the White House had to reverse itself:
CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart reports, until today, the Bush administration denied a meeting had taken place between the president and Clarke, during which Bush allegedly instructed Clarke to investigate Saddam Hussein and Iraq after Sept. 11.
The White House today reversed that comment, and staff members now tell reporters, "We are not denying such a meeting took place. It probably did."
Marshall asks the pertinent question: Do you think the White House would have changed its tune if CBS didn't come up with another source?
So, first, they accuse Clarke of lying. Then it turns out that they are just making the accusations up, and they are caught red-handed. So they simply contradict themselves and hope that nobody notices. And they actually don't seem to realize that such behavior makes THEM look like liars, not Clarke.
Actually, this whole thing is making me wonder. Clarke's testimony was indeed gripping and damaging, but the White House's reaction has been truly bizarre. They just started running around like lunatics, throwing out wild accusations, contradicting each other, contradicting themselves, and not even CARING if what they were saying was even slightly convincing, as long as there was a flood of it.
Frankly, they are acting guilty as hell. REALLY guilty.
FAR more guilty than Clarke's statements make them out to be.
And it really does make me wonder if there isn't some information that is REALLY damning and that they REALLY are terrified of becoming public.