This Time It’s The Crime And The Cover-Up

From Holden:

Yesterday Pony Blow acknowledged that the White House is struggling to put together a “tick-tock”, what most adults would call a timeline, of what the Assministration knew and when they knew it regarding the Haditha Massacre.

Maybe EITB24, the Basque News And Information Channel(!), can help. Today they published a Haditha timeline of their own.

Nov. 19, 2005 – A roadside bomb kills Lance Corporal Miguel “TJ” Terrazas, 20, from El Paso, Texas, during a patrol by Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in Haditha. In the following hours, 24 Iraqis are killed. Marine investigators inspect the scene and take photographs.

Nov. 20 – Military says roadside bomb killed a marine and 15 civilians. Captain Jeffrey Pool says in statement: “Iraqi Army soldiers and Marines returned fire killing eight insurgents.”

December/January- Families of some dead paid $2,500 for each by U.S. military, Iraqi human rights activist says. U.S. officer says in May he paid out $38,000 in total compensation.

January 2006 – Journalism student Taher Thabet, via an Iraqi human rights group, passes video of bodies and homes where they died to Time magazine. Time says Pool dismisses it as al Qaeda propaganda. But Baghdad military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson recommends investigation into possible foul play.

Feb. 14 – Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, the No.2 U.S. commander in Iraq, initiates a preliminary investigation.

March 9 – Chiarelli directs further review of the incident by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.

March 27- Time magazine publishes survivors’ allegations that marines ran amok after Terrazas’s death. Iraqi human rights group issues the video showing residents describing rampage and bodies. U.S. military confirms accounts from Haditha doctors to Reuters that all the civilians were shot, not killed by bomb. Witnesses say dead were in three houses and a car.

Now yesterday Pony stated that Chimpy first heard of the Marine rampage after a Time magazine reporter called with a question, which one assumes would have been asked while writing the March 27 story.

Q When was the President first briefed about the events in Haditha?

MR. SNOW: When a Time reporter first made the call. Time began asking questions about it. He was briefed by Steve Hadley at the time and began asking questions then.

And today the New York Times quotes an NSC mouthpiece who implies the president was informed a month earlier than when the Time inquiry was received.

The military began an investigation on Feb. 14, and Mr. Bush was informed of it sometime after that by his national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, according to Frederick Jones, the National Security Council spokesman. Mr. Jones said Mr. Hadley could not recall a precise date.

While yesterday Pony Blow claimed that Rummy knew in November, and that the press inquiries began in January, rather than March.

Q Do you happen to know when or whether Donald Rumsfeld first spoke with the President about Haditha?

MR. SNOW: Hang on a second. I’ve got a timetable and I will try to get you a date here. Let me — if you’ll permit. Or do I?

Q And also, when the Secretary of Defense first knew.

MR. SNOW: I think, again — I will get back to you because I do have a tick-tock on Haditha. And the characterization I’ve received — obviously, there was a report, I believe on November 19th — was that the date? There was a follow-on sort of account on the 20th or the 21st. So in that sense, people knew about Haditha. But I think the concern about subsequent reports of people being massacred or people being killed, that really was stimulated by reporters’ inquiries, which came, I believe in January.

So what’s the real story?