Flynt Leverett, a Middle East analyst who served under President Bush on the National Security Council, revealed on Friday that the White House has been blocking the publication of an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times. The column is critical of the administration’s refusal to engage Iran. Leverett accused the White House of trying to “silence an established critic of the administration’s foreign policy incompetence.” (Steve Clemons, Christy Hardin Smith, and Juan Cole have more.)
Today, Tony Snow was asked about Leverett’s allegations at the White House press briefing. At first, Snow admitted, “I don’t know anything about it.” Moments later, however, he issued a definitive denial. “The White House is not blocking his writings,” Snow said.
UPDATE: NDN Blog has more.
QUESTION: Flynt Leverett — a former NSC official, Mideast expert; he also worked for the CIA — has charged that the administration has blocked publication of an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times simply because he’s critical of the administration’s Iran policy.
SNOW: I doubt that. But Flynt has been plenty critical and plenty public in the past. I don’t know…
QUESTION: … now being blocked because he’s become increasing critical at a time when it’s politically important for the White House to have public support for its foreign policy.
SNOW: I sincerely doubt that, but I’ll try to find out. I don’t know anything about it except, come on, it’s not like Flynt has not been out publicly on a number of occasions questioning the administration.
QUESTION: But he says the CIA has cleared this particular piece, and the White House has blocked it. So my question is…
SNOW: The White House is not blocking his writings.