Frist, Goss and other Republicans are floating the idea that Richard Clarke might have perjured himself. They’re working on declassifying sworn testimony given to Congress when Clarke worked for Bush in 2002 (testimony thought to be similiar to that in the unclassified briefing released by Fox) so that they can compare it to the recent sworn testimony he gave to the 9/11 commission.
This administration plays an amazingly creative game with regard to sworn, classified, confidential, secret, and public testimony. Condi is on TV all weekend, but she can’t testify to the 9/11 commission publicly or under oath — she wants to be able to debunk Clarke’s public sworn testimony with secret unsworn testimony. Richard Wilson displeased the President, and his wife Valerie Plame’s CIA identity was leaked. Paul O’Neill displeased the President, and he was threatened with prosecution for releasing classified documents. Now they want to declassify information selectively to use to discredit Clarke. Bob Woodward got access to reams of classified material to write a sycophantic book, but Bush’s 9/10 briefing remains top secret, as do the records of Cheney’s energy task force.
I can’t see Frist’s hysterical rampage coming to anything. Clarke has already admitted that when he worked for Bush, he put the best spin he could on Bush’s performance. Paul O’Neill has released documentary evidence showing that he was encouraged to mislead the public about Saudi cooperation in tracing terrorist finances, and we also have recently found out that Bush administration officials instructed their actuary, Rick Foster, to mislead Congress about the cost of Bush’s prescription drug plan.
At the least, Clarke will easily be able to escape the perjury charge. Beyond that, he will probably be able to show that the lies he told in 2002 were the ones he was ordered to tell. You have to wonder what Frist was thinking.
Josh Micah Marshall has the story (note Sen. Graham’s suggestion that they release everything, and not just the parts that help them).
Powell doesn’t join in, and Sen Graham supports Clarke. (And was Clarke really under oath before Congress?)
O’Neill coached to lie (he was NOT pleased with the Saudis, who had scarcely cooperated at all).