Sometimes bamboozlement can boomerang.
The slow burn from the administrationâs big briefing in Baghdad on Iranian weaponry in Iraq just wonât stop. Briefers refused to allow journalists to record the presentation, a measure explained as necessary in order to protect intelligence sources and methods. Unfortunately for the White House, for the entire week, senior officials have been all over the place in describing what exactly the administration is alleging about Iran, and now intelligence officials have claimed that Sunday’s briefers mischaracterized the underlying intelligence.
Caught in the crossfire is poor Tony Snow, who, without a transcript of the briefing, has been unable to get the White House — and the press corps — back onto a single page of sheet music:
Q Have you been able to reconstruct the transcript of the briefing in Baghdad on Sunday?
MR. SNOW: No, but I think the general purpose of the briefing in Baghdad was to outline Iranian activities in terms of supplying weaponry, or weaponry that had made its way from Iran into Iraq that had been used to kill coalition forces, among others.
One of the most prominent parts of the briefing were the EFPs, the explosively formed projectiles, which are a new form of IED. And so that’s basically what was laid out at the briefing. I have not been able — we’re still working on trying to come up with some sort of rendering so that we can find out precisely what the briefer said.
Q Why wouldn’t you offer a transcript?
MR. SNOW: Because it wasn’t transcribed at the time. People are looking for a tape to see if they can rebuild it just for you guys.
Most likely, Snow is just blowing smoke. But if a transcript of the briefing mysteriously surfaces, it’ll probably be yet another embarassment for the administration — why weren’t reporters allowed to tape or video the presentation in the first place? And why all the administration disharmony if there was a recording all along of what was in fact said in Baghdad?