Having been late with last week's Chutzpah of the Week award, I once again seem to be running the risk of assigning this week's award too soon; but, I have to confess that, when it involves Condoleeza Rice, the temptation is very strong! The story broke on Reuters (delivered through Yahoo! News) about an hour and a half ago; and it concerns her reaction to having the whistle blown on her. The whistle blower was Flynt Leverett, who worked for her the National Security Council; and he is accusing Rice of misleading the Congress about an invitation from Iran in 2003 for talks with the United States:
Speaking at a conference on Capitol Hill, Leverett said "this was a serious proposal, a serious effort" by
Iran to lay out a comprehensive agenda for U.S.-Iranian rapprochement.
"The Bush administration up to and including Secretary Rice is misleading Congress and the American public about the Iran proposal," he said.
Rice's reaction has been to accuse Leverett of incompetence:
She faulted him for not telling her, "We have a proposal from Iran and we really ought to take it."
Fortunately, Leverett is not taking Rice's chutzpah-laden reaction lying down:
Leverett said he deserved an apology from Rice for calling his competence into question.
He said he had left the National Security Council, which advises the president on security issues, in March 2003 before the Iranian proposal was received. He returned to the
CIA where he previously worked and soon after that left government.
Hence, he wasn't in a position to made this case directly to Rice, nor was it his responsibility, he said.
But among other things, Leverett said that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a discussion about the Iranian proposal, told him he "couldn't sell it at the White House." This was evidence it had been discussed there, he said.
So, even if we are not sure what the rest of the week will bring, I shall stick my own neck out and assume that Condi will not be done (at least for the rest of this week)!