During this morning’s gaggle Little Scottie decided it would be best if he asked the questions:
Q You said yesterday Saddam had the intent and capability to develop WMD. Report coming out today said Saddam posed a diminishing threat; WMD less advanced in ’03 than ’98.
MR. McCLELLAN: Are you taking quotes from the report?
Q From newspaper accounts of it.
MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, okay. Let’s clarify that. You said, the report says.
Q Can I get my question out?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but I wanted to clarify your question, because I don’t agree with it.
Then we found out why Condi still has a job: reading is hard work:
Q One, has the President seen the report; two, will he square those two ideas?
[Scottie response snipped, click the link if you are in need of a strong emetic.]
Q Has the President seen the report?
MR. McCLELLAN: Been briefed on it. I’ll double check to see if we received the final, actual report.
Now watch Scottie blow a gasket like a self-aware computer in an old Star Trek episode when he reaches the end of his talking points for this question:
Q On Zarqawi, the CIA’s report is saying that there is no clear connection that can be drawn between him and al Qaeda. Can you address that? And what —
MR. McCLELLAN: I think we talked about this yesterday, and I think Condi talked about it, as well. And they — no, they’re actually — let’s look at what we know, and I talked about this yesterday in — at the White House with you all.
But we know that Zarqawi was in and out of Baghdad prior to September the 11th. We know that he had established a cell in Baghdad prior to September 11th. We know that a couple of his — a couple members of his cells were arrested by the Iraqi intelligence service. And we know that Saddam Hussein personally intervened to order the release of at least one of those members of his cells. We know that Zarqawi was in Baghdad when he ordered the murder of an American diplomat, Laurence Foley, who was in Jordan. We know that he was in Baghdad when he was in contact with Ansar al-Islam operatives in northeastern Iraq. This is the network that had the poisons lab that was trying to carry out attacks in Europe.
Q But in the past, you said that he was the — he was clear evidence of the connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Are you still saying that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look back at what I said yesterday. Look back at what — well, first of all, the CIA assessment is still a work in progress, as they pointed out. And they pointed this — these arrests and Saddam Hussein’s intervention in having them released. And so the ties between Iraq and al Qaeda were also documented by the 9/11 Commission. There were senior level contacts. And so that’s — those are the facts. That’s what we — that’s what we know. And Saddam — Iraq was a state-sponsor of terrorism. They funded suicide bombers. We’ve got to — all right.