The New York Times follows up on yesterday’s page-one story regarding Secretary Gates’s highly classified memo to National Security Advisor James Jones on Iran. Secretary Gates disputes the characterization of the memo by a senior official as a wake-up call. The administration wants it to be known that it is right on top of the problem raised by Iran:
“The memo was not intended as a ‘wake-up call’ or received as such by the president’s national security team,” he added. “Rather, it presented a number of questions and proposals intended to contribute to an orderly and timely decision-making process.”
The New York Times article quoted one senior official as saying the document was a “wake-up call.” But Mr. Gates said, “The New York Times sources who revealed my January memo to the national security advisor mischaracterized its purpose and content.”
Senior administration officials, asked Sunday to give specific examples of what was mischaracterized in the article, declined to discuss the content of the memo, citing its classified status. In his statement, Mr. Gates offered no details on the issues he raised in his memo.
The Times had not itself seen the memo in issue, but rather had reported its description by what it referred to as senior officials. Paul Mirengoff commented that he didn’t know whether Secretary Gates hoped to wake up Obama with the memo, but that the memo is best viewed now as a wake-up call to America. I think it’s fair to say Paul’s comment stands.