Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Yes, Virginia, your preznit is a Cheap-Ass Bitch.

MR. McCLELLAN: The past couple of days, I know some of you or your colleagues have asked about the President’s contributions to some of the international relief organizations in the Indian Ocean — who are working in the Indian Ocean region. The President has sent contributions totaling $10,000 to some of the relief — some of the international relief organizations who are working in the region to help those in need recover from this grave tragedy.


Q Do you happen to know when he wrote the check or checks?

MR. McCLELLAN: They are being mailed today.

Q In the mail — check in the mail.

HA-HA! The check is in the mail! What a hoot! That’s the line I use whenever I don’t want to pay a debt! Those brown people sure are gullible.

The person who asked the next set of questions is not identified in the transcript, but can it be anyone other than our beloved Helen?

Q Is the President comfortable with Gonzales’ role in developing torture memos, approving torture policies?

MR. McCLELLAN: Approving torture policies?

Q Over the last couple of years.

Now watch Little Scottie play dumb.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know what you mean by torture policies — because the President — the policy of the administration has been very clear from the beginning that we adhere to our laws and our treaty obligations. That’s the policy that the President set and that’s the policy he expects to be followed. And he made it very clear, previously, as well, that we do not condone torture and he would never authorize the use of torture. So I want to correct that characterization of any misperception that might be there.

Q It was his request, of course, in 2002, that elicited the controversial August, 2002 memo, which the DOJ, last week, repudiated. That’s the track record I’m talking about.

MR. McCLELLAN: And I think one reason that you saw in that memo when it was — after it had been withdrawn and then updated last week, you saw the Office of Legal Counsel talk about some of the reasoning behind that, and they pointed out what the — essentially what the President had said previously, which is, we don’t engage in torture, and he would never authorize the use of torture. And so that’s part of the reasoning for their decision to update it. And we — our Counsel’s Office provided comment into that updated memo. But it was the office of the legal counsel’s decision.

And on the earlier memo — you’ve heard the judge address this already. I saw some stories that seemed to portray it as new information, and I didn’t see much new in these stories today, leading up to his confirmation hearings that begin tomorrow.


Q It seems there’s memos out there that lawmakers are asking for from the Counsel’s Office that the White House has refused to turn over. Do you know why that is?

MR. McCLELLAN: We have provided a number of documents — made a number of documents available publicly, as well as to the Senate Judiciary Committee. And I know that the Counsel’s Office has responded to letters from senators, and will continue to do so and be responsive —

Q — secrecy, are there security concerns about these memos that the White House won’t turn over?

Torture memo? What torture memo?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know specifically what you’re referring to. There might be some memos that were not White House memos, that were outside the White House. So I’m not sure specifically what you’re referring to. But, obviously, these will be questions that the Judge can talk about tomorrow if the senators have questions about it, and he looks forward to doing that.

Q There’s a number that —

MR. McCLELLAN: But remember, the Judge — hang on one second. Remember, the Judge, I believe it was last summer, if I recall — no, it’s the summer before — it was 2003, if I recall correctly, when the Judge participated in a briefing with some Defense officials on the policies and the — some of the interrogation methods, and went through a lot of these issues and addressed a lot of these issues, and made very clear what his role was, as well as the White House role.

Q Senator Leahy says there are a number of documents that he’d like to see before the confirmation hearing, including, as I recall, the final version of the so-called torture memo.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know —

Q Is it your feeling you’ve given them all the documents you’re going to?

Oh, that torture memo.

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, this reference to a “torture memo,” I don’t know what you’re referring to. There’s a memo you might be referring to about the policies relating to the Geneva conventions applying to al Qaeda and Taliban from Afghanistan, and that’s why I pointed to that determination. And the policy was outlined on the White House website and is on there now, from February 7th of 2002, and it spells out very clearly what the policy was.

Q Yes or no, have you got — are you going to give —

MR. McCLELLAN: That was not — that’s not related to interrogation techniques.

Q Are you going to give them any more documents that they’re asking for?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know what the latest is that he’s requested. Obviously, the Judge will be participating in the hearing tomorrow. We have responded to previous letters from Senator Leahy and we’ll continue to respond to other letters that he’s sent. I think he just sent another letter and I think some of those memos are not White House memos that he’s referring to, but we’ve provided a number of documents. And the Judge looks forward to talking about these issues during his confirmation hearings.