Must be that pesky “oath” thing.
Condi Rice is wasting no time in attempting to spin-doctor and rebut Richard Clarke’s testimony, but she’s not doing a very good job of it. In refusing to testify to the Commission proper, she asserts at least two very odd things.
First, there’s the whole issue of refusing to testify under oath, but having no compunctions about saying whatever she wants while in the safety of her own office (and without threat of perjury indictments). There’s definitely something screwy about that.
Second, as Josh Marshall has pointed out, the historical precedent for aides refusing to testify isn’t as clearly on her side as she appears to think; there’s even precedent for people in precisely her position testifying under oath before such commissions (Brzezinski in 1980; Berger in 1997). Of course, Marshall’s source — the Congressional Research Service — also lists five examples when presidential aides refused to testify; anybody want to bet which administration employed four of those five?
Is that really a parallel this administration wants to encourage?