The transcript of Richard Clarke’s background briefing of Fox News White House reporter Jim Angle and other correspondents in August 2002 rebuts point by point the lurid charges now made by Richard Clarke in his public testimony, his book, and his 60 Minutes appearance flogging his book before a prostrate Lesley Stahl.
Yet the examination of Clarke before the 9/11 Commission yesterday more or less allowed him to slither away like a snake in the tall grass with the assertion that he was simply “spinning” on behalf of the Bush administration in the briefing.
The coverage of Clarke’s testimony by the mainstream media, such as Dana Milbank’s story this morning in the Washington Post (“Clarke stays cool as partisanship heats up”), provides another instance of the media’s obscuring rather than illuminating the obvious facts — in this case, the fact that Clarke has now revealed himself to be a bald-faced liar.
Milbank obnoxiously (and admiringly) observes in his story, for example, that “Clarke, appearing unfazed by the apparent contradiction between his current criticism and previous praise, spoke to [Commissioner and former Illinois Governor James] Thompson as if addressing a slow student.” If Milbank were not the partisan hack he has proved himself to be, the story would observe that Clarke stayed cool as a pathological liar does while he was publicly exposed as a fraud.
It therefore remains to the blogosphere and to the competent opinion journalists to do the work that the mainstream media refuse to do. Our own Rocket Man by himself deserves some kind of award for his Clarke expose: “Richard Clarke, fraud.” Yesterday’s developments show Rocket Man to have been prescient.
Today National Review editor Rich Lowry picks up Rocket Man’s torch with a good column in the New York Post: “Clarke’s collapse.” The accompanying Post editorial also captures Clarke’s self-implosion: “Richard Clarke’s shifting stories.” (The Post editorial also discusses Clarke’s earlier closed-door testimony to the Commission.) And Post reporter Bill Sanderson contrasts Clarke’s testimony with his e-mails to Condoleezza Rice in the story “Clarke tripped by own words.”
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