A top U.S. Air Force officer warned on Tuesday that Russia would be crossing "a red line" if it were to use Cuba as a refueling base for nuclear-capable bombers.
Gen. Norton Schwartz, whose nomination to become the Air Force’s top military officer is being considered by the Senate, was asked at his confirmation hearing how he would advise U.S. policymakers if Russia were to proceed with such a plan.
Russia’s Izvestia newspaper this week quoted a "highly placed source" as saying Russia could land Tu-160 supersonic bombers nicknamed "White Swans" in Cuba as a response to a planned U.S. missile defense shield in Europe, which Moscow opposes. [my emphasis]
…straight from this story tomorrow?
In a memo sent Friday to various members of Congress, Stephen Driesler, AID’s deputy assistant administrator for legislative and public affairs, said the agency recently implemented stricter financial reviews. That new review turned up irregularities at the Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia (Group in Support of Democracy), a Miami group criticized in the past for using federal funds to send Nintendo games to Cuba.
The executive director of Grupo de Apoyo admitted that an employee used the organization’s credit card for thousands of dollars in personal items and then billed them to the grant aimed at bringing democracy to Cuba, Driesler’s memo said.
A report by the Cuban-American National Foundation released in May showed that less than 17 percent of $65 million in federal Cuba aid funds spent during the past 10 years went to ”direct, on-island assistance.” The bulk of the money, the report said, went to academic studies and expenses of exile organizations, mostly in Miami and Washington.
The report echoed findings by The Miami Herald in 2006 and a congressional Government Accountability Office audit that found lax oversight of the programs and came as the Bush administration prepares to dole out a record $45.7 million in Cuba. [my emphasis]
But I can assure you it’s one of those days when I wish I had a White House Press Pass and a cheap plane ticket to DC.
Sometime between now and when the Rules and Bylaws Committee starts tomorrow, I hope to argue that Scottie McC is still, um, shading the truth in his presentation of the facts about the Plame outing.
But for now, I’ll let you guys weigh in whether you think the former White House Press Secretary or the current one is lying.
Here’s what Scottie McC said in a book chat posted at 12:00 PM:
Washington: Did you inform the White House at any time about your intention to write the memoir? If so, what was the reaction then?
Scott McClellan: The White House reviewed the final manuscript for classification and privilege issues. After the review I met with some members of the White House counsel’s office at their request to discuss the review. As I expected, there were no issues relating to classified information. They did bring up some issues relating to what they might consider executive privilege, including presidential conversations and conversations between senior advisers to the president. [my emphasis]
And here’s what Dana "Pig Missile" said in a press briefing time stamped at 12:42 PM:
MS. PERINO: We’ve been out on the road; I’ve missed the podium greatly. But as I said all along, that the President expressed disappointment and sadness at the situation, surprise by the charges that he has read about that are in the book.
And we’ve known for a while that this is what the tone of the book would be. Of course last November we knew because of the excerpt that came out, and then more recently, as with all manuscripts, the White House Counsel’s Office has an opportunity to look at manuscripts for any possible classified information or any means for executive privilege to be asserted. None of them were in this case. So we’ve known for a little bit of time that this was coming. [my emphasis]
So which was it? Did the White House invoke executive privilege about "presidential conversations and conversations between senior advisors to the president," or didn’t it?
Of course, there’s always option "C," none of the above. It’s possible (crazy, I know) that neither is lying. Read more
Rut roh. Some White House reporter didn’t read my post closely enough:
By Holden Caulfield
Put Impeachment Back On The Table
Q Dana, I wanted to ask you, I know you don’t want to go line-by-line with the whole book thing, the Scott McClellan book — but I’m thinking you may want to address this because there’s something out there. Not having the benefit of having the book in front of me, there’s an allegation apparently made by Scott in the book that a reporter shouted a question to the President, on a trip that Scott had been with him on, just as they were getting on Air Force One, and it was Valerie Plame-related. Basically, it prompted Scott to ask the President directly, "Were you the one who authorized the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name?" And the President apparently told Scott, "Yes, I was."
MS. PERINO: I don’t know. Obviously I wasn’t there and — obviously I don’t know the context. I think the — it’s hard for me to say. I don’t have the book in front of me either and I don’t know.
But what I do know is that what we have said before, which is defending the President’s decision to go to war is something that we have done repeatedly, and the suggestion that the President had sent Joe Wilson to Africa was false. And so I don’t know if that was what it was in regards to or not, so I’m — I don’t know.
Q But I mean, if that’s an allegation that’s out there, that the President is supposedly responsible for the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name, is that something you want to —
MS. PERINO: I don’t think that’s what Scott says in the book and I think that everyone should go back and look at it a little bit more carefully. I don’t think that’s what he says.
Q Can you comment more generally about whether the President has ever authorized the leaking of classified information?
MS. PERINO: I’m not aware of that, no. And I also know that President Bush would never ask anyone to knowingly go out and lie. But do we defend the President’s record vigorously? Read more
In all fairness to Dana "Pig Missile" Perino, she probably doesn’t want to become the next Scottie McClellan, forced to say things from the podium while Dick Cheney is hiding his criminal ways behind those public statements. Still, Dana comes off very badly in yesterday’s attempt to explain why anonymous sources at the White House are saying one thing and she’s saying another.
Q Dana, can you tell us why you decided to put out this statement this morning about The New York Times story? Why did you feel compelled to respond?
MS. PERINO: Well, the subhead of the newspaper indicated that the White House — well, it says the White House role was wider than it said, implying that I had either changed my story, or I or somebody else at the White House had misled the public. And that is not true. And I heard now from The New York Times that they will retract that headline, and they are going to run a correction tomorrow.
Q But the underlying facts, four White House lawyers who are named knew about the destruction or the intent to destroy the tapes beforehand. Are you disputing that?
MS. PERINO: I have not commented on that — and when we are in that —
MS. PERINO: Helen, I’m going to finish this answer. The White House has not commented on anybody’s involvement or knowledge, save for me telling everybody that the President had no recollection of being briefed on the existence or the destruction of the tapes before he was briefed by General Hayden. After that, I did not comment on anybody’s knowledge or involvement. So if somebody has information that contradicts the one thing that I’ve said, then this would be true — but it’s not. And that is why I asked for a correction and The New York Times is going to correct it.
Q So you’re disputing the characterization in that —
MS. PERINO: Absolutely, it’s wrong.
Q — not the underlying facts of the story. Read more