Among many idiotic moments the administration has had lately, consider this. Over the last two days, the papers have been full of news snippets where “an anxious White House scrambled” to offer rebuttals to Richard Clarke’s criticisms. That quote is from the LA Times, but I’m sure you’ve seen similar quotes all over the place.
This is pretty ridiculous stuff. The White House knew the book was coming out, and when. Hell, I’ve had the thing pre-ordered on Amazon for months. But even more to the point, the White House had their hands on the manuscript for at least three months, since they had to review it prior to publication (which also shoots a hole in the notion that Clarke “timed” the publication to coincide with the start of the election season).
Thus, the Administration has known for months what Clarke’s book contained, and now they’re “scrambling” to respond? Did they think nobody was going to buy it? The fact that it was a “best-seller” on Amazon on the basis of pre-orders should have told them something, along with the fact that the first printing is selling out quickly and a new printing run is apparently on the way.
It’s harder and harder to escape the fact that the White House is “scrambling” and “anxious” because they’re between a rock and a hard place. Either Richard Clarke was “out of the loop” and they were deliberately underutilizing the most talented and experienced counter-terrorism expert to work in four administrations, or Clarke was “in the loop” before 9/11 and somebody doesn’t want to admit that they didn’t pay attention.
Regardless of which is the truth, neither makes the administration look good. At best, they’re less than competent, and at worst they’re chronic blatant liars. And the most interesting part is that they can’t come clean at this point. They’re deep enough that they can’t even do the right thing and say “yeah, we lied,” because then they’d have to explain why there’s been several years of lies on top of the original ones. Think back to childhood…one lie, yeah, you can apologize and move on. Lies to hide other lies, and you’re really in trouble…Their only hope now is to gut it out, keep lying, and just hope that only a small fraction of the population is paying attention.
Doesn’t seem like a winning strategy to me…especially if everyone keeps the heat on.