The Pentagon deleted from a public transcript a statement Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made to author Bob Woodward suggesting that the administration gave Saudi Arabia a two-month heads-up that President Bush had decided to invade Iraq.As I said yesterday, these guys supposedly reviewed Woodward's book prior to publication. What does it say about them that they are now trying to refute statements for which it's already been shown that Woodward has tapes?
Woodward supplied his own transcript showing that Rumsfeld told him on Oct. 23, 2003: "I remember meeting with the vice president and I think Dick Myers and I met with a foreign dignitary at one point and looked him in the eye and said you can count on this. In other words, at some point we had had enough of a signal from the president that we were able to look a foreign dignitary in the eye and say you can take that to the bank this is going to happen."
The transcript made it clear that the foreign dignitary Woodward was discussing was Bandar, although Rumsfeld would not say that. "We're going to have to clean some of this up in the transcript," Rumsfeld said in the omitted passage. "We'll give you a -- I mean you just said Bandar and I didn't agree with that so we're going to have to -- I don't want to say who it is but you are going to have to go through that and find a way to clean up my language too."
All told, the Pentagon transcript omits a series of eight questions and answers, some of them just a few words each. Yesterday Rumsfeld described the deleted passages as "some banter."