Questions for Scott McClellan

An exercise in wish-fulfillment:

1. Newsweek has been excoriated for presenting information as confirmed when, in fact, it was not because the confirming source expressed doubts following publication of the information. Given that the invasion of Iraq was largely predicated on Iraq's possession and development of WMD, which turned out to be false, and that no one as yet has been punished as a result, on what authority does the administration base its call for accountability in the media?

2. Newsweek claimed that an upcoming military report asserted that a Quran was placed in a toilet, based on one source. Another source indirectly confirmed the assertion and subsequently expressed doubt about where they saw the information. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the riots in Afghanistan and elsewhere followed from the revelation in the Newsweek story, as has been widely reported, does the President find his call for accountability in the media unjustified, given that his war in Iraq was predicated on "intelligence" that was "fixed around the policy," as asserted in the Downing Street Memo?

3. Could you comment on whether the Downing Street Memo, as published by the Times of London, is accurate in its assertions? I quote: "...It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force." Can you confirm whether those points mentioned in the Downing Street Memo were covered and whether the interpretation of them as presented in the memo is correct?

I don't pretend that these questions are perfect. But it's not as if anyone in the White House briefing room is going to ask them.

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