Sunday, May 16, 2004

"Get Out of the Way, Emily"

Holy cow. I just saw the most bizarre thing on Meet the Press. Tim Russert asked Colin Powell if he was disappointed to find that the evidence he gave to the U.N. last year was faulty. Russert describes an "operative" who gave false evidence to the Bush administration. In the middle of Russert's question, someone tries to pull Powell from the interview. Then all you see is an empty spot where Powell was and you can hear some off-camera discussion. I had stepped out of the room, but it seemed like someone pulled the camera away from Powell.

Russert says something about the interruption being inappropriate and then you hear Powell say--very bluntly--"Get out of the way Emily." Then the camera goes back to Powell, Russert asks the question again and Powell responds by saying something along the lines of his being very disappointed with the discoveries. Under tough circumstances, he gave a brief diplomatic answer with aplomb. End of interview.

Back to Russert who tells us the interview took place earlier this morning and was unedited. He thanks Powell for finishing the interview, despite his press secretary's protestations.

Why does Powell hang around? Why doesn't he just quit? Run for VP with Kerry. (I know it'll never happen, but let me hear a mea culpa from him, and I'm not kidding.)

I have a feeling "Emily" will be out of a job tomorrow.

Update: Drudge has the transcript, though he doesn't maintain links properly, so it may be gone. I'll update later.

Here's what Powell said in response to Russert's question--what Emily Miller apparently thought him incapable of expressing:
I'm very concerned. When I made that presentation in February 2003, it was based on the best information that the Central Intelligence Agency made available to me. We studied it carefully. We looked at the sourcing and the case of the mobile trucks and trains. There was multiple sourcing for that. Unfortunately, that multiple sourcing over time has turned out to be not accurate, and so I'm deeply disappointed.

But I'm also comfortable that at the time that I made the presentation it reflected the collective judgment, the sound judgment, of the intelligence community, but it turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases, deliberately misleading. And for that I'm disappointed, and I regret it.
Update: This afternoon on CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked Russert about the interview. Russert said he'd never been interrupted this way in his entire career at Meet the Press.

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