Addict (drugaddict) wrote,

Perhaps only seasoned FSO's can decipher this.

Perhaps only seasoned FSO's can decipher this.

*Daily Press Briefing  [excerpt]
*Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 15, 2007

*QUESTION: Do you want to respond to Flynt Leverett's comments? I saw
you were quoted on the wires yesterday, but we haven't talked about it
in the briefing, when he said that Secretary Rice was misleading
Congress last week about this apparent Iran proposal that she said she
never saw.*

*MR. MCCORMACK: In which respect was she allegedly misleading Congress?*

*QUESTION: That she said she never saw it.*

*MR. MCCORMACK: That's right. She said that she has no recollection of
having seen it or being aware of this. So I'm not sure on what basis
Mr. Leverett is leveling that accusation. She has said repeatedly, and
this is a question that has come up. For some time I think Flynt has
been out sort of flogging this story for some time, for about a year
now. And each time, in public and private, she has given the same
response, and that is she has no recollection of having seen such an

*QUESTION: Well, I mean, can I follow up on that?*


*QUESTION: He maintains that he let senior members of the NSC staff --*

*MR. MCCORMACK: Has he ever said that he gave Secretary Rice a piece of

*QUESTION: No, he --*

*MR. MCCORMACK: As a matter of fact, the news quote that I saw -- and I
think it was the New York Times or Washington Post story -- said when
somebody pushed him on that particular point, he backed off and said,
well, you know, it must have been Elliott Abrams or somebody else who
had stopped Secretary Rice from seeing it. So I'm just -- I'm a little
unclear on what basis he is saying this.*

*QUESTION: Well, he maintains that -- I mean, I don't think he
maintains that he personally handed it to Secretary Rice. He --*

*MR. MCCORMACK: And then how -- then how would he know that she saw it
and then how would he know that -- on what basis is he making the
accusation that she misled somebody?*

*QUESTION: Well, he maintains that after handing it to members of the
senior staff, the discussions that was -- that ensued after he handed
it to it was that the proposal was rejected. And he says that, you
know, given the level of discussion that was about the proposal that
he believes that Secretary Rice did see it. And he said that she's
impinging his --*

*MR. MCCORMACK: Oh, so he believes -- he believes that she saw it?
Okay. All I'm -- I'm just trying to make a point here. Let's deal with
the facts. And it seems as though that we have somebody who is making
some accusations that, based on what we all know now in public, don't
seem to be backed up by any facts. And you have Secretary Rice who has
said very clearly every single time that she has been asked about
this, she has given the same answer.*

*QUESTION: Well, when the Secretary was National Security Advisor, if
there was a proposal coming from Iran for some of the specific things
that Iran was offering to do in this proposal, I mean, is it
conceivable that she possibly wouldn't have seen the proposal?*

*MR. MCCORMACK: Well, all I can do is I can point you back to public
statements by Deputy Secretary Armitage, who was asked this question.
He was quoted in Newsweek magazine and he cast doubt on the legitimacy
and the providence of this document. And you can go back and look at
the quote for yourself when he talked about we didn't know how much of
this came from the Swiss ambassador and how much came from the
Iranians. *

*Look, the past three decades is littered with individuals approaching
the United States, as well as others, purporting to speak in an
authoritative manner in behalf of the highest levels of the Iranian
Government making approaches to the United States. And certainly the
United States has in those cases where there have been serious
approaches have taken a look at them. In this particular case you have
Secretary Armitage, who is stating in public we don't know how much
came from the Swiss ambassador and how much came from the Iranians.
That's not the basis on which a government interacts with another on
this kind of serious proposal.*

*So again, I know there are a lot of accusations that are being thrown
around out there, but I would just urge you to actually be a little
more careful with the facts.*

*QUESTION: So, Sean, when Flynt Leverett says this is serious proposal,
he was quoted as saying that, that this was a serious proposal, that's
not how Deputy Secretary Armitage saw it and that's -- and Rice never
saw it, so --*

*MR. MCCORMACK: You can -- I mean, I'm just quoting back what he said
in public. You can go ask him yourself.*

*QUESTION: But it's your understanding that it never got to a level
where it was a serious proposal.*

*MR. MCCORMACK: Again, you know, I'm not going to try to characterize
it. I haven't -- you know, I wasn't involved in the process. Secretary
Rice has said she has no recollection of having seen it or being aware
of it. I can only point you to those individuals who were involved in
the process of examining it at the time. The Secretary -- Deputy
Secretary Armitage has said that he was one of those people and he --
you can ask him yourself. You can look at the public record *

*QUESTION: But -- I'm sorry. I mean, if there's a proposal and Deputy
Secretary Armitage -- does the Deputy Secretary of State have the
authority within the channels of protocol to decide whether a proposal
of that nature is serious or not serious? I mean, it's -- how could it
be something that the National Security Advisor would not be involved
in the discussions of whether a proposal of that nature was serious? I
mean, he is saying that there was a proposal.*

*MR. MCCORMACK: Elise, nobody is disputing that there was a fax that
came out without any markings on it to the State Department. I think
you can talk to all the people involved in reviewing it. Some of them
are in government, some of them are out of government. What Secretary
Rice said is she's not one of those people. As for individuals'
impressions of it, you can go ask them. As for Deputy Secretary
Armitage, he's the number two guy in the State Department. It's a
position of responsibility and authority. And I have no reason to
question his assessment of this particular document.*

*QUESTION: Well, Sean, if you have no reason to question that,
(inaudible) years and years and years, the Swiss Embassy, the Swiss
Government, has been the channel through which the United States
communicated with the Iranians, is Deputy Secretary Armitage -- former
Deputy Secretary Armitage's assessment of this that the Swiss are no
longer a reliable interlocutor for dealing with Iran? And so how much
of this is coming from the Swiss ambassador? Isn't this the kind of
thing that you guys got all the time for the past three decades, as
you say?*

*MR. MCCORMACK: That's not the point I believe that former Deputy
Secretary of State Armitage was making. What he -- the point he was
making was he did not understand himself exactly how much of this was
the personal involvement of the Swiss ambassador. Now, as for the
Swiss channel, this is a channel through which we exchange
information, through which we exchange diplomatic notes. So it is not
a policy formation channel. It is a communications channel. So the
question was really how much of this was the Swiss --*

*QUESTION: I realize the question that they're asking --*

*MR. MCCORMACK: No, I'm answering your question.*

*QUESTION: This is separate.*

*MR. MCCORMACK: The question was how much of this was the personal
involvement in the -- of the Swiss ambassador in coming up with a
policy proposal. That is not what the Swiss channel is used for.*

*QUESTION: Okay. So this was the -- so his impression was that this was
the Swiss trying to make U.S. policy or trying to influence U.S.

*MR. MCCORMACK: Look back at Rich Armitage's words.*


* ==============================

* *
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