has picked up the story of the Pentagon’s gag on Ed Schultz.
I called the Pentagon this afternoon to get an explanation for why Ed Schultz’s debut on Armed Forces Radio was canceled. I eventually got a call back from Bryan Whitman, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. Mr. Whitman repeatedly told me that there was “no decision made with respect to expanding the programming.”
I asked him why, if no decision had been made, Barber called Schultz’s producer to cancel. Whitman said Barber was out of the country and he didn’t know why she called.
Whitman’s spin is also contradicted by this email, sent by the Armed Forces Radio to Schultz’s syndication company:
From: Levy, Manny
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 9:42 PM
To: Donna Harrison
Cc: Crawford, Ric
Subject: Confirming Schultz; Moving C. Howard; C. Howard minutes
Donna: I wanted to confirm the conversation we had this morning. AFN Radio has squared away everything on our end to begin carrying the first hour of “The Ed Schultz Show” each day, beginning Monday, October 17, 2005 at noon PT/3 ET. Of course, this means shifting “The Clark Howard Show” to 1 PM PT/4 PM ET.
I also promised to find the best e-mail addresses to send the Clark Howard minutes. It’s: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all your help–dating back many months now–preparing the way to make all this happen. I’m sorry that there were so many panicked, “I need an answer soon” calls, false starts and unexpected delays on our end. An awful lot of people in the government had (or tried to have) a hand in program selection process that ended with the decision to add “The Ed Schultz Show.”
Chief, Radio Division
American Forces Network Broadcast Center
23755 Z Street Riverside, CA 92518
Seems to me like they made a decision.
A look inside the architect’s garage.
To escape accountability for its misstatements and inaccuracies about the White House’s involvement in the leak of an undercover CIA agent, press secretary Scott McClellan today offered a new argument for why he couldn’t answer any questions:
There is an ongoing investigation. And for months and months and months, we’ve said that we’re not going to comment on the investigation while it’s ongoing. And that goes back to mid-October of 2003 when the investigation was getting under way. We said, while it’s an ongoing investigation we’re not going to comment on it.
A few key questions and answers about this:
1) Didn’t Bush comment on the case even after October 2003?
Yes. Even after mid-October 2003, President Bush answered questions on the leak scandal that McClellan won’t answer today.
In response to a question about whether he would stand by his pledge to fire anyone found to have leaked the identity of Plame, Bush said: “Yes.” In response to whether he has spoken to the Cheney about the leak investigation, Bush said, “I haven’t talked to the Vice President about this matter…” [Bush remarks at G-8 Summit, 6/10/04]
Armed Forces Radio (AFR) is a station that broadcasts to American troops overseas through “over 1,000 outlets in more than 175 countries.” It currently features an hour of programming by right-wing host Rush Limbaugh. There is no comparable progressive program.
Today, that was supposed change. Ed Schultz – the host of the most popular progressive radio show in the country — was supposed to start broadcasting on Armed Forces radio. Jones Radio, the company that syndicates The Ed Shultz Show, received an email on September 29 from an Armed Forces Radio official confirming that one hour of Schultz’s program would begin airing today, October 17.
But this morning at 6AM, the producer of the Ed Schultz show, James Holm, received a call from Pentagon communications aide Allison Barber. She told Holm that she was calling so early to let Schultz know his show would not begin airing on AFR today. You’ll remember Barber as the aide caught coaching troops before a photo-op with President Bush last week.
Barber told Holm that the Ed Schultz show would not start on AFR today because her boss, Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita, was out of the country and couldn’t approve it. Barber also said she was going out of the country soon for a week-and-a-half. Holm asked Barber if the show would begin when DiRita and Barber returned. Barber said she couldn’t guarantee that.
Here’s the really interesting part. Barber told Holm she heard Ed announced that he would begin on AFR during his show Friday. Schultz’s show Friday began with audio outtakes of Barber sounding foolish as she rehearsed the troops “Q&A session” with Bush.
Despite the fact that Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, claims his client was not part of “any scheme to punish Joe Wilson by disclosing the identity of his wife,” the special prosecutor appears to be exploring the White House’s expansive involvement in manipulating pre-war Iraqi intelligence and their efforts to silence whistle-blowers, like Wilson, who exposed them.
New York Times reporter Judith Miller said that, in her grand jury testimony last week, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald asked her questions that went beyond the leaking of the CIA name to probe the administration’s selective leaking of intelligence information ahead of the Iraq war.
The scope of administration officials involved in the leak continues to grow, encompassing even the Vice President. The Financial Times reports the White House is bracing itself for the possible indictment of numerous senior officials.
Think Progress has updated its profile of Bush administration officials who have been tied to the leak of an undercover CIA agent’s identity.
It has been updated to reflect recent developments, including:
- the number of Bush officials involved in the leak has grown from 21 to 23, incorporating reporting this morning that former Cheney spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise and current National Security spokesman Jim Wilkinson have been questioned in the leak investigation
- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted that she has been cooperating with the federal investigation
- and other developments including the fact that Scooter Libby and Judy Miller talked about Plame’s identity at least three times prior to Novak’s outing of her
Click here to see our updated profile.
In a piece about I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, the USA Today reports that in 1996 Libby published a novel set in Japan called “The Apprentice.”
He told CNN’s Larry King that he considered himself fully on Cheney’s team, “but there’s always a novel kicking around in the back somewhere.” And he told The New York Times, “I do occasionally dream of just becoming a novelist and sitting on Crete and drinking odd-named wines.”
An excerpt from “The Apprentice” shows Libby’s sensitive side:
She remained still. His face inside her kimono was bathed in her warmth and the moisture of her skin…Unwilling to show his discomfort, he kissed her softly as he moved that she would think that was his purpose and he felt her body soften, but she remained frozen as she was, her head above him in the air.
Libby isn’t the first conservative to include “romantic” scenes in a fiction novel. Bill O’Reilly did just that in “Those Who Trespass : A Novel of Television and Murder.” While we’d like to show our readers an example or two, the excerpts would be a little too hot for ThinkProgress.
Note to parents: Right-wing fiction may be unsuitable for children.
UPDATE: Copies of Libby’s book are available for as little as 53 cents.
From Bloomberg News:
A special counsel is focusing on whether Vice President Dick Cheney played a role in leaking a covert CIA agent’s name, according to people familiar with the probe that already threatens top White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis Libby…Fitzgerald has questioned Cheney’s communications adviser Catherine Martin and former spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise and ex-White House aide Jim Wilkinson about the vice president’s knowledge of the anti-Wilson campaign and his dealings on it with Libby, his chief of staff, the people said.
The story tends to corroborate, at least as it pertains to Cheney, what George Stephanopoulos said a couple of weeks ago.