How Fitting ThatDana Peroxide Would Open The Gaggle With This Announcement
MS. PERINO: Hello. I have one quick statement. Today is International Human Rights Day, and last week the President met with Syrian and Belarusian democracy activists.
Speaking Of Human Rights, How’s That Torture Presidency Working Out For You?
Q Can you comment on whether Harriet Miers did, in fact, know about the CIA tapes and whether she told the CIA not to destroy them?
MS. PERINO: No. No. It’s going to unfortunately be one of those briefings — I’m not able to comment on anything regarding that, except for what I said on Friday — which is now, and since then, the Justice Department and the CIA have started a preliminary inquiry. We are supportive of that. We are in the fact-gathering stage, and we are providing them information. So beyond that I am not able to comment or characterize.
Q Has the White House Counsel directed everybody here to preserve all the documents?
MS. PERINO: Yes.
Q Have the formal orders gone out?
MS. PERINO: Yes.
Q In what form? Was it a letter?
MS. PERINO: As they usually do, it’s a notice that goes to all employees.
Q And it’s — can you tell us what it says?
MS. PERINO: I don’t remember off — I don’t have it with me, I just — I received it and I believe it — preserve the documents, or preserve what you know — I just can’t remember exactly what the language was, but we’ll try to get it for you. It came out this weekend.
The Presidential Press Secretary Is Not Allowed To Characterize The President’s Reaction
Q Dana, is the President concerned about the impact on the CIA’s reputation and its integrity, not just here but around the world? I mean, there’s been similar episodes — we don’t know the full scope of this — but we know what we know, based on his point, that may be comparable to Abu Ghraib, where there were photos that were released —
MS. PERINO: No. No.
Q — the President spoke extensively about that.
MS. PERINO: Well, one, I haven’t — I’m not allowed to characterize the President’s reaction to this, but what I can tell you is that he — as I said Friday, he has complete confidence in General Hayden, and that remains.
Q But why can’t you characterize his concern, if there is one, about the integrity of a key governmental agency that operates around the world?
MS. PERINO: Well, I think I — pressed on that, I would say that I think the President feels very highly about all of the members of the intelligence community, and at the CIA. He knows that they work extremely hard in order to keep all of us protected, that they try to do everything that they possibly can. There’s — in regards to this specific issue, regarding these tapes, that the President said that he does not recall being made aware of their existence or their destruction until last Thursday’s briefing. There’s not much more I can say.
Q But he’s not concerned about the facts as we know them now?
MS. PERINO: In terms of — I can’t talk about that particular — I can’t characterize the President’s thinking on that.
Q Perhaps he’d like you to.
Q But why — I don’t understand why his reaction is somehow part of the investigation.
MS. PERINO: Well, because there’s a preliminary inquiry that’s been started, and to avoid any appearance of trying to prejudice that inquiry, it’s appropriate and better for us not to comment.
Q Isn’t there a concern here that going into a defensive crouch might look a little bit —
MS. PERINO: I don’t think that we’re defensive. I think that we’re being supportive of the efforts of the DOJ and the CIA.
I’m going to go on. Go ahead.
Dana Don’t Know! Dana Di’int Ask!
Q Back on Libby for a moment, Dana. The President and you and others at the podium have always cited the idea that the appeals process was still underway for refusal to comment on whether — why no one was ever reprimanded or dismissed for disclosing Valerie Plame’s name. Now that the appeals process is over, at Libby’s choice, will the White House be more — what are the prospects for the White House being more forthcoming on this?
MS. PERINO: As I said, I wasn’t able to talk to the President before the briefing. I will see if I can get you anything additional. For now I have to refer you to the statement that he made in July. And there’s been extensive public commentary about this, especially from individuals who were involved, and I’ll refer you to their statements, as well, until I have something more.
Q But not from the individual who could have fired or reprimanded someone for disclosing the name, as he said that he would do.
MS. PERINO: This matter has been thoroughly investigated, there was a special prosecutor, he did not bring criminal charges.
Q But that’s not the issue, Dana. The issue is the President of the United States commenting, which he did forcefully at the time, and has never said anything since, about the propriety in his mind of his advisors conducting themselves in this fashion. So is it not reasonable to expect him — I mean, other people talking about it —
MS. PERINO: I’m not saying it’s unreasonable, I’m —
Q — is not germane to whether the President weighs in.
MS. PERINO: I’m not saying it’s not, I’m not saying it’s unreasonable to ask. I’m saying I didn’t have a chance to talk to the President, so I have nothing to give you.
Dana Hasn’t Seen The Minortiy Report — But She Claims It Will Exonerate The Assministration
Q The House Oversight Committee has come out with its bipartisan investigation — several months in the making — saying it is inescapable to conclude that the Bush administration engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate the climate change science and mislead the policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming. Have you seen the report and can that —
MS. PERINO: I’ve seen reports about the report, and I haven’t seen the Minority report in terms of — when you say it’s bipartisan, I would challenge that and encourage people to look at the Minority report. I think that it’s inescapable that they issued this report on a day when they knew that the United States would be represented at the Bali conference, where we are currently talking about the next step for a framework after 2012, which is when Kyoto would end.
And the President started leading on that back many years ago, but especially if you point — look to one thing that was really key this year in the climate change debate is the President bringing together the meeting of the major economies on September 30th, here at the State Department, where he had the major economies of the world come together and all agreed that they should work forward, because we understand the urgent challenge that is posed by climate change. And I would submit to you, having worked on these issues for a long time, that it’s rehashed rhetoric that has come out of the Democrats beforehand, and we just reject it as being untrue.
Q Do you think — you don’t think it was released today because the United States is accepting a Nobel Peace Prize for work on climate change?
MS. PERINO: Well, I guess — I didn’t even know today’s Nobel Peace Prize was going to happen, in terms of those awards. But clearly, we’ve been in Bali for the last week, and today is really important — the next three days in Bali are very important because it’s at the foreign minister level, or environmental minister level.
Q Did the White House ever asked employees at agencies like NOAA to suppress climate change information and science?
MS. PERINO: Not that I’m aware and I do not believe that is true.