Secret Code of Official Washington & the Press Corps

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Secret Code of Official Washington & the Press Corps

While the press was busy not asking National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley the most obvious question yesterday, this gem of a moment occurred:

Q I have two questions. Did President Putin bring up the President's travel, his itinerary? Did he complain about his trips to Latvia and to Georgia, like Foreign Minister Lavrov did in the letter?


Q Not a word?

MR. HADLEY: Not in any of the discussions that I was in. You know, this is -- the letter that people talk about with Foreign Minister Lavrov was -- you tell me -- six weeks ago. I mean, it was about the time we announced the trip. And it wasn't a particularly big deal at the time and I think that's old news, and has been for weeks.

Q But you -- a certain senior administration official told me that you were expecting that Putin would bring this up; that he would complain about the travel plans of the President. And that never happened?

MR. HADLEY: I didn't expect he would complain about it. It didn't come from me.

Don't you wish you could be part of the club and learn the secret code? Unfortunately, the transcript doesn't disclose which hack briefly forgot his lines.

By the way, "senior adminstration officials" was also the way Robert Novak identified the Plame leakers; just a reminder that in the secret code, "senior administration official" means a rather small number of people at a level comparable to the National Security Advisor. If Dubya really wanted to "get to the bottom of it"--as his flaks' talking points said at the time--he could by now have personally asked every "senior administration official" whether that official was one of the two leakers.

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