In a front-page NYT story today by Philip Shenon, a Justice Dept. spokesman named Mark Corallo offers up a brazen lie.
Again on Monday, a Justice Department spokesman, Mark Corallo, said, “I don't think anyone can argue with the fact that this president and this attorney general have made preventing terrorist attacks their No. 1 priority, and that was true before Sept. 11, 2001, and it is true today.”
In fact, as we all know, the evidence is overwhelming that before 9/11 preventing terrorist attacks was in no way the “No. 1 priority” — cutting taxes, a missile defense shield, and attacking Iraq were among the many things with much higher priority.
Although the Times allows this remark to go unchallenged on the front, it does carry a delayed rebuttal on the jump:
Commission officials said their evidence showed that Mr. Ashcroft had taken little interest in counterterrorism before Sept. 11 and, days before the attacks, had rejected pleas from senior F.B.I. officials for more money for counterterrorism even as intelligence agencies warned of an imminent, possibly catastrophic, terrorist attack.
The article's focus is the FBI and Justice, but even so I don't think that excuses leaving the lie about GW Bush unrebutted.
Isn't it sad that the Justice Department's spokesman feels no obligation to avoid lying in this fashion? Shouldn't that department be held to a higher standard than this? (And if he's going to lie, couldn't he find a more convincing one?)