While much of the information had previously been known, the highlight of the presentation — as reported by ABC World News — was that it was “the first time military officials…made the link to the highest level of Iran’s government.” But the briefing “offered no evidence” to substantiate that claim. After coming under intense scrutiny for an intelligence presentation that was approved by the highest levels of the administration, the White House has slowly backed off its claims of Iranian government involvement.Incredible. Now we know why the briefers at that meeting in Iraq insisted on being anonymous - they figured their heads would be on the block eventually.
Today, CNN reported that the White House is now blaming the anonymous intelligence briefer who presented the information.According to CNN’s Ed Henry, the White House says the anonymous intelligence briefer went “a little too far” in stating the evidence.
HENRY: Some new information coming from my colleague Barbara Starr at the Pentagon that General Peter Pace is expected to have a media availability later today. All eyes will be on that to see exactly how he puts this given this confusion over the last couple of days.
Other information we have gotten is that apparently this anonymous intelligence briefer went a little too far in saying that the highest levels of the Iranian government were behind this. But that begs the question why the administration has taken so long to clarify those comments, Soledad.
O’BRIEN: And that’s a big going too far. I mean, that’s a critical piece of information.
HENRY: Especially given what happened in the run-up to the Iraq war. The administration knows full well about the credibility questions. And you would think in this case they would want to make sure they have all their ducks in a row.
O’BRIEN: One would think. Ed Henry for us, thanks.
(Ed Henry, you may recall, is the guy who asked Bush why the administration seemed to be contradicting itself on this issue during Bush's presser yesterday. Nice follow up, Mr Henry. Thanks.)
The Carpetbagger Report has a couple of questions:
First, if military briefers in Baghdad went “a little too far” on Sunday in talking to the media and providing information for the American public, why did it take until Thursday afternoon — and an embarrassing press conference exchange — to correct the record? (Answer: probably because they were happy to let the mistake linger, and wouldn’t have set the record straight at all were it not for the president’s public comments.)CNN's claim is an incredible development, and an absolute vindication of everyone who said that the narrative on Iran was exactly like the narrative for war with Iraq. Aren't the uber-right going to be pissed?
Second, the Baghdad briefing had been delayed for weeks, specifically so officials could make sure every piece of information was perfectly accurate. With this in mind, how did they manage to screw up perhaps the most important accusation in the entire briefing?
We should all be thankful for General Peter Pace, who by his repeated refusal to toe the warmonger's line created this opportunity to nail the bloodthirsty lying bastards to the door.
We should also all be asking our Senators and Congressmen to demand that the anoymous briefer in question be outed and fired.
THEN...let's see what he has to say. Did he overstate on his own or did he do exactly what he was ordered to do?
Enquiring minds want to know.