The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, July 23, 2003  

Top Aide Takes Fall in White House

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice lucked out yesterday when her top aide, Stephen Hadley, deputy national security adviser, took the fall for the White House staff in Yellowcake-gate.

The Associated Press reports:

Hadley, in a rare on-the-record session with reporters, said he had received two memos from the CIA and a phone call from agency Director George Tenet in October raising objections to an allegation that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium ore from Africa to use in building nuclear weapons.

As a result, Hadley said the offending passage was excised from a speech on Iraq the President gave in Cincinnati on Oct. 7. But Hadley suggested that details from the memos and phone call had slipped his attention as the State of the Union was being put together.

“The high standards the President set were not met,” Hadley said. He said he had apologized to the President on Monday. Aides said he had also effectively offered his resignation, which Bush did not accept.

In the Bush administration the buck stops anywhere but the President’s desk. We are now supposed to view President George W. Bush as unscathed by this controversy, this scandal. His administration, we are to believe, is filled with competent, well intended, but overworked officials who are really, really sorry, and who, it seems, can be faulted only for not speaking with each other often enough.

But as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, put it, quoted in the same A.P. article, “I call on all who misled the President to resign immediately. . . . The story line continues to change from day to day on this matter.”

And it’s likely to continue to do so.

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