Condoleezza Watch Day One

I was tempted to start the watch back on July 6th when I made this post, but I thought it was premature. Now, via Atrios, I see that Rice’s top assistant, Stephen Hadley, is trying to do a George Tenet:

“‘I have failed in that responsibility,’ Hadley said during the off-camera briefing at the White House today. ‘The high standards the president sets for his speech were not met.'”

I don’t think blaming Hadley will work, because if he really has culpability for the questionable uranium and aluminum tube references, then it’s nearly impossible for Condoleezza Rice not to have known how sketchy the claims were. Moreover, Hadley didn’t “fail in a responsibility”, he actively abrogated his responsibilities, according to Josh Marshall who wrote this on July 13th:

…the real question is less whether Tenet’s CIA didn’t push hard enough to keep bogus information out of the president’s speech as why others were pushing so hard to keep it in…Rice’s efforts to work her way out of this tight knot of logic — especially the new revelation that George Tenet personally told her deputy, Stephen Hadley, to keep the uranium canard out of a speech in October — were, to put it mildly, pathetic. The fact that the CIA Director had to intervene personally with the Deputy National Security Advisor [Stephen Hadley} to get the bogus information out of an earlier speech raises the obvious question: just how many times did the Agency have to warn the White House off the bogus uranium claim before they got the message and stopped trying to put it into the president’s mouth?

Hadley’s statement just puts the blame closer to Bush, and directly at Rice’s feet. Can she really say that she knowingly let Bush put faulty intelligence in the SOTU, yet not resign? Also problematic for Rice is that on July 11 she said that no one at her level knew of the CIA’s doubts about the Niger intelligence. For that to be true, it must be the case that her top deputy was not keeping her aprised of intelligence regarding Iraq’s nuclear capabilities–outrageous if true, but more likely preposterous. So the Rice Resignation Watch starts today.


UPDATE: Atrios has more, including then and now statements from Rice.