13 May 2004

and the wheels on the bus keep falling off

Via Talking Points Memo comes a report from the Baltimore Sun that Powell says Bush was 'informed' of Red Cross concerns:

"We kept the president informed of the concerns that were raised by the ICRC and other international organizations as part of my regular briefings of the president, and advised him that we had to follow these issues, and when we got notes sent to us or reports sent to us ... we had to respond to them, and the president certainly made it clear that that's what he expected us to do," Powell said.

Powell said that he, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld kept Bush "fully informed of the concerns that were being expressed, not in specific details, but in general terms."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said last week that the president was first informed about the abuse of detainees in Iraq by Rumsfeld, who "let the president know that there were allegations of prisoner abuse in Iraq and that the military was taking action to address it."

There seems to be considerable confusion, I suspect deliberate, about where the responsibility lies. Taguba says that military intelligence ran Abu Ghraib. Cambone says that military police had operational control and military intelligence only had tactical control. Rumsfeld says that whoever had control it certainly wasn't him. Bush says that whoever had control it certainly wasn't him and he didn't know about whatever it was that Rumsfeld hadn't told him. But Powell says he had told Bush.

A couple of weeks ago Secrecy News posted a CRS Report that found no-one actually knows the source of authority for the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Is this a government or the deckchair shift on the Titanic?

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