Dana Keeps Mum On All Things CIA
Q Dana, is the White House taking any steps to make sure the CIA does not destroy any tapes — any more tapes while these — judges look at things, Congress looks at things, the CIA — is the White House taking any steps to make sure there’s no more destruction?
MS. PERINO: I’m going to refer you to the Justice Department, who is working on the preliminary inquiry with the CIA.
Q Okay. You’ve previously not commented on the CIA tapes case by saying that you want to — you don’t to interfere with any investigations, you want to make sure they move forward. Why then on Friday did the Justice Department all of a sudden say they’re not going to cooperate with congressional investigations, any of the oversight that’s going on on the Hill?
MS. PERINO: I think that’s a question that is best put to the Justice Department, and the Justice Department will be able to answer for you.
Q One last on that. Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra is not satisfied and saying he’d be onboard with subpoenas — they may be voted on in the House Intelligence Committee as early as today. Would the White House comply with subpoenas if they come up in the CIA tapes case? Or would you, like you’ve done in other cases, not want to comply with them?
MS. PERINO: I’m going to refer you to the Justice Department.
Q But if they actually issued subpoenas to the White House, not the Justice Department, would you comply with that?
MS. PERINO: I’m going to refer you to the Justice Department on that.
No Fair Shake For The Palestinians
Q Since Annapolis the Israelis have — apparently are planning 300 new settlements in the West Bank, and they also have put Gaza under greater siege. Is this helpful for the President?
MS. PERINO: Well, I would point you back to Secretary Rice, who has had conversations with her counterpart in Israel, and actually talked about this issue yesterday at the Paris Donors Conference. She has said that it’s important for both sides to remember that right now in the negotiations is not a time to be talking about specifics, outcomes that would be decided towards the end of the negotiating process. So she’s had those discussions.
In regards to Gaza and the Israeli strike, I think that you’re talking about, today, Israel has a right to live in a country free from terrorism. So do we; so does every nation.
Q So do the Palestinians.
MS. PERINO: And terrorist attacks have been ongoing for many years, and Israel has a right to defend itself.
Q Both borders have been closed.
MS. PERINO: Peter.
Dana Does Not Know Who The Senate Majority Leader Is
Q And finally, assuming the Senate corrects the bill and puts in sufficient money for the war in Iraq, will the President sign it?
MS. PERINO: Well, the President is going to support the Senator from Kentucky’s amendment — that’s Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — for $70 billion in a clean bill. If that amendment does not pass and the bill comes to the President’s desk without it, then he will veto the bill.
BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! Watch Dana Squirm
Q Dana, do you think it’s a fair and accurate statement to say that the President’s foreign policy has been marked by an “arrogant bunker mentality”?
MS. PERINO: It’s a clever way to get me —
Q I was just saying, in general.
MS. PERINO: — to comment on 2008 partisan politics, and we’re going to stay out of the primary politics. And when there is a nominee, the President will vigorously support that nominee.
Q Well, when a candidate says something, in all seriousness, that harshly about the President’s foreign policy, and essentially calls him arrogant, don’t you feel a duty to respond and defend the President’s record, at least?
MS. PERINO: I will refer you to the Republican National Committee, which during the primary season can answer those questions. As much as I may want to, I’m not going to do it from the podium.