Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

It’s another in-flight gaggle today as Chimpy tries to change the subject to the economy. The press corps displayed greater interest in Condi’s charm offensive.

Q This morning, Rice talked at Andrews — I don’t know if you know what she said.

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.

[snip]

Q — that the intelligence agency is getting some information from a small number of dangerous detainees that have prevented terrorist attacks, both in Europe and in the United States. Can you shed any more light on that? Can you give us any more detail on that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think we’ve talked about some in the past, but I think you can understand why it’s important, then — she talked about this in her remarks — that we don’t get into discussing intelligence matters of that nature. We’re engaged in an ongoing war on terrorism. We face a very dangerous and ruthless enemy, as she talked about in her remarks, and we have a responsibility to do everything that is lawful within our power to protect the American people. And there are a lot of sensitive issues surrounding the war on terrorism, and talking about intelligence matters could compromise ongoing operations, and we don’t want to do anything like that.

Q Like more than one country in Europe?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think I just — what do you mean by, “more than one country”?

Q She was talking about terrorist attacks being prevented in Europe, so we’re talking about more than one country, is it several countries?

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to — if the intelligence community wants to talk further about it, I’ll let them. But I think we’ve talked about some of the plots that have been disrupted in the past. But in terms of talking about specific intelligence that we get from people that have been captured on the battlefield, I think it’s best that we don’t — and she talked about that in her statement — because it could compromise things in the ongoing war on terrorism. And I think the American people understand that.

Oh, no, Scottie is not going to get into backing up Condi’s assertions with facts, but you can bet those countries do not include Spain or Great Briatain.

Q She also said that whatever the United States did, that the European counties had cooperated. By saying that, doesn’t that just inflame the rift?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think what she said, was she talked about how we have and will continue to respect the sovereignty of other nations. The issue here really to focus on is, what are we doing to protect our citizens. That’s the highest responsibility of any government. And that’s how we have to look at this. We are engaged in a different kind of war against a different kind of enemy, and we have to be able to adapt in order to face that enemy. And each country has to make their own choices. And she emphasized that in her remarks. But we all should do what we can to work together in order to prevail in this war on terrorism and defeat the terrorists.

Q Sharing the blame with Europe then, it sounds as if she’s —

MR. McCLELLAN: Sharing the blame? I’m not sure what you’re referring to. We are acting to protect the American people and working with other countries to protect their citizens, as well. This is a global war on terrorism. We have seen terrorists attack throughout the world, and this is an ongoing battle. This is a very dangerous enemy. And we all — all of us in government, around the world, have a responsibility to do what we can to protect our citizens.

“Sharing the blame? I’m not sure what you’re referring to.” I do love it when Scottie plays dumb.