Sunday, March 28, 2004

Senate Leader Assails Clarke, Asks to See Past Testimony: "The Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, today accused a former counterterrorism official of exploiting Sept. 11, 2001, and said he wanted to compare the official's recent public testimony critical of the Bush administration with secret testimony he gave two years ago while working for President Bush."

I've been thinking about this for the past few days, and want to make a few comments. While it seems, on the surface, like a good idea, this could seriously backfire. In simplistic terms, Frist wants to use Clarke's previous testimony to impeach Clarke's current assertions, a sort of self-Fisking, as Glenn Reynolds has taken to calling it. It sounds nice.

The problem is, Clarke has an easy out. 'From within the adminstration, I did not think it appropriate to use my position to publicly criticize my boss,' or 'I was forced into silence,' or 'upon reflection, we made some inappropriate choices that at the time I did not see.' Any of these would work in the court of public opinion, and betray the good work that Frist is trying to do. Watch this, I predict another PR fiasco (now becoming quite common) for the Bush White House.

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