Time For Senator Frist to Apologize on The Senate Floor
In the Sunday Washington Post:
The most sweeping challenge to Clarke’s account has come from two Bush allies, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Fred F. Fielding, a member of investigative panel. They have suggested that sworn testimony Clarke gave in 2002 to a joint congressional committee that probed intelligence failures was at odds with his sworn testimony last month. Frist said Clarke may have “lied under oath to the United States Congress.”
But the broad outline of Clarke’s criticism has been corroborated by a number of other former officials, congressional and commission investigators, and by Bush’s admission in the 2003 Bob Woodward book “Bush at War” that he “didn’t feel that sense of urgency” about Osama bin Laden before the attacks occurred.
In addition, a review of dozens of declassified citations from Clarke’s 2002 testimony provides no evidence of contradiction, and White House officials familiar with the testimony agree that any differences are matters of emphasis, not fact. Indeed, the declassified 838-page report of the 2002 congressional inquiry includes many passages that appear to bolster the arguments Clarke has made.
I am troubled by these charges. I am equally troubled that someone would sell a book, trading on their former service as a government insider with access to our nation’s most valuable intelligence, in order to profit from the suffering that this nation endured on September 11, 2001. I am troubled that Senators on the other side are so quick to accept such claims. I am troubled that Mr. Clarke has a hard time keeping his own story straight.
At the time, I wrote that “I’m not sure how or why I have this feeling, but I suspect [the] statement by Senate Majority Leader Bill ‘Cat Killer’ Frist is going to backfire.” Thankfully, it looks like I may have been right for once.
UPDATE: Atrios says, “Censure Frist,” which I think is as appropriate as it is unlikely (not that an apology is any likelier.)