Katrina and Other Little White (House) Lies
The Bush administration has a systematic response to any embarrassing question: Lie. Or, to be a little more charitable: feign a memory lapse. The most recent example is the Hurrican Katrina disaster. According to The New York Times, Bush was warned about how devastating Katrina might be to New Orleans:
Some other examples:
A Homeland Security Department report submitted to the White House at 1:47 a.m. on Aug. 29, hours before the storm hit, said, "Any storm rated Category 4 or greater will likely lead to severe flooding and/or levee breaching."Yet, in a television interview a few days later, the President said:
"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees"I guess he didn't read the memo, or forgot it.
Some other examples:
- Condoleeza Rice (about the World Trade Center attacks): "No one could have imagined them taking a plane, slamming it into the Pentagon...into the World Trade Center, using planes as a missile." In fact, Condoleezza Rice was the top National Security official with President Bush at the July 2001 G-8 summit in Genoa. There, "U.S. officials were warned that Islamic terrorists might attempt to crash an airliner" into the summit, prompting officials to "close the airspace over Genoa and station antiaircraft guns at the city's airport." [Sources: Los Angeles Times, 9/27/01]
- George Bush (about Enron CEO Kenneth Lay): "I got to know Ken Lay when he was the head of the—what they call the Governor's Business Council in Texas. He was a supporter of Ann Richards in my run in 1994. And she had named him the head of the Governor's Business Council. And I decided to leave him in place, just for the sake of continuity. And that's when I first got to know Ken. …" In fact, The Bush-Lay relationship can be traced back at least a half decade before the 1994 race. It grew out of the Houston social circle where oil tycoons have long rubbed shoulders with political players – and where Ken and Linda Lay had grown close to George H.W. and Barbara Bush in the 1980s. Since 1988, when Lay backed the elder George Bush in his run for the White House, Enron and its executives have written big checks for one Bush initiative after another.
- Scott McClelland (about lobbyist Jack Abramoff): "...I just told you what I know at this point, and the President doesn’t recall meeting him and he certainly doesn’t know him." In fact, In President Bush's first 10 months, GOP fundraiser Jack Abramoff and his lobbying team logged nearly 200 contacts with the new administration as they pressed for friendly hires at federal agencies and sought to keep the Northern Mariana Islands exempt from the minimum wage and other laws, records show...The meetings between Abramoff's lobbying team and the administration ranged from Attorney General John Ashcroft to policy advisers in Vice President Dick Cheney's office, according to his lobbying firm billing records.
- [Update] Bush on wiretaps (April 20, 2004): "Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." In fact, President Bush has personally authorized a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States more than three dozen times since October 2001, a senior intelligence official said Friday night...Bush on Friday refused to discuss whether he had authorized such domestic spying without obtaining warrants from a court, saying that to comment would tie his hands in fighting terrorists.
- [Another update] Bush (on whether the United States secretly moved terrorism suspects to foreign countries that torture to obtain information) "We do not render to countries that torture, that has been our policy and that policy will remain the same". In fact, A Swiss investigator for the Council of Europe, reviewing claims of secret prison scandal and global transportation of terrorist suspects, reports that evidence pointed to the existence of a system of "outsourcing" of torture by the US and that it was highly likely that European governments knew it existed.