"If they’re resorting to blatant distortions and untruths this quickly they must not have a good defense."

Josh Marshall reflects on Cheney’s rejoinder to Clarke’s allegations. I agree, it is more of an indictment of the administration than a defense. Cheney, on Rush Limbaugh’s show, claims that Clarke was ‘out of the loop’ on counterterrorism, having moved over to cyberterrorism, one of his pet projects. Cheney conveniently neglects to tell us that it was not until after Sept. 11th that this happened. But let’s ignore this for a moment. As Marshall points out, Clarke was counterterrorism coordinator at the NSC and, if he was ‘out of the loop’, that says something pretty profound about the failure of interagency communication in the Bush dysadministration. The closer we look, the more corroboration there is for the thesis I keep reminding you Seymour Hersh first laid out around the Uraniumgate lies that laid the groundwork for the Iraq invasion — that the Bush team, and particular Cheney’s office, were so intent on hearing what they wanted to that they intimidated, marginalized, ignored and supplanted the entire intelligence analysis apparatus of the country, and ever since then have been scapegoating the ‘faulty intelligence’.

By the way, Marshall does not comment on the other discrediting strategy that is evident in Cheney’s counterattack:

“…the only thing I can say about Dick Clarke is he was here throughout those eight years going back to 1993, and the first attack on the World Trade Center in ’98 when the embassies were hit in east Africa, in 2000 when the USS Cole was hit, and the question that out to be asked is, what were they doing in those days when they — when he was in charge of counterterrorism efforts?”

So now they can neatly have it both ways. Clarke doesn’t know what he’s talking about regarding counterterrorism, and he is responsible for its earlier failures. C’mon, Dick, wouldn’t it have been easier to manufacture evidence that says Clarke was fully ‘in the loop’ but blames him for being alseep at the wheel? That shouldn’t be too hard for a man with your capacity to distort the truth.

And, as Marshall also points out, who at the New York Times must the Bush Leaguers have in their pocket to insure that Judith Miller would do their coverage of Clarke? She misstates Clarke’s thesis, devotes little space to the particulars, and gives free rein to White House counterstatements.

Miller hasn’t been publishing as much of late. And someone needs to clue her into the revised rules. It’s been at least a few months since reporters have willingly published demonstrably false statements from administration officials and spokespersons.