In today’s press briefing, a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Tony Snow about the Washington Post’s two–part series over the weekend, highlighting the Walter Reed hospital’s dilapidated conditions. Snow stated that “the president certainly has been aware of the conditions in the wards where he has visited, and visited regularly.” Snow also affirmed that the administration was aware of Walter Reed’s conditions “before the articles appeared in the paper.” Watch it:
The Army began repairs on the facilities yesterday, only after the media reports and intense public criticism. Apparently, Bush is fine with U.S. troops living in squalid conditions — as long as no one else knows about it.
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QUESTION: You responded to me a moment ago that the administration was aware of this before the articles appeared in the paper.
SNOW: That is my understanding.
But, again, this is something that’s an action item over at the Department of Defense and in particular the Department of the Army. I am not fully briefed on the activities of who knew what, when. And I suggest…
QUESTION: Was the president aware of it? Was the White House aware of it?
SNOW: I am not certain when this — when we first became aware of it.
Now, the president certainly has been aware of the conditions in the wards where he has visited, and visited regularly. And we also have people from Walter Reed regularly over to the White House as the guests, sometimes in fairly large numbers.