By Eric Brewer | In the two weeks since I asked Dana Perino whether the White House knew about or approved of the Pentagon’s use of TV military analysts as propaganda tools, I’ve been back to the briefing room three times (May 6, 12, and 13) to try to ask a follow-up question. As is her wont, Dana has refused to call on me.I had been intending to essentially repeat my question, since I’ve been under the impression that she hadn’t answered it the first time. But on Tuesday, Glenn Greenwald pointed out that Perino did answer the question back on April 30. Although I didn’t realize this when I filed my last story, as seen in this video clip of the exchange, the White House press secretary did indeed provide a specific response.
I had repeated my question as she walked away from the podium, “Did the White House know about the program?” And on her way out of the room, Perino answered, “I just said: no.”
(I just rechecked my own tape recording of the briefing, and that is what she said. I apologize profusely for leaving this crucial detail out of my earlier article.)
Of course, in her earlier answer, she really hadn’t just said no–she’d said only, “I didn’t know.” But her denial of White House knowledge during that parting shot is very interesting, for reasons that Greenwald points out in the same post I linked to above: Glenn publishes emails from Pentagon officials dealing with the military analyst program that refer to weekly meetings with “karl,” to having the analysts briefed by Bush’s National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and even to getting the analysts “in with potus” himself (that’s POTUS, or the President of the United States). As Glenn sums up, rather understatedly I believe:
So in the process of discussing how to keep “their” TV military analysts “on message” regarding claims about the Iraq war, they talked about efforts to have both Stephen Hadley and Bush himself speak with the analysts — proposals that had been discussed with “karl” (which, clearly, in this case, means Rove). That means Perino’s denial was false and that the White House had at least some knowledge of and involvement in this propaganda program.
Uh oh. Dana has denied something that is clearly true. And it’s looking more and more as if the legal opinion that she expressed about the Pentagon’s propaganda program, “I don’t think that that should be against the law,” is just whistling in the dark.
The preceding article was a White House report from Eric Brewer, who will periodically attend White House press briefings for Raw Story. Brewer is also a contributor at BTC News. He was the first person to ask about the Downing Street memo at a White House briefing.