The republican party is being rocked by a wave of amnesia.
The first to contract it was Condoleezza Rice. Bob Woodward's new book, State of Denial, says that Rice was warned by then CIA director George Tenet that Al Qaeda was planning a terrorist attack on the US. When asked by reporters about the briefing, which was said to be July 10, 2001, Rice said she 'didn't recall' it and, according to the New York Times, "Rice, the national security adviser at the time, said it was 'incomprehensible' to suggest she had ignored dire terrorist threats two months before the Sept. 11 attacks."
However, it turns out that the briefing did take place:
A review of White House records has determined that George Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda, a U.S. State Department spokesman said.
Is it possible her amnesia set in immediately after the briefing? That would explain why she seemed to ignore it.
Also affected is House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Associated Press reports:
Hastert said he does not recall being told last spring by Rep. Tom Reynolds, the House GOP campaign chairman, about the questionable e-mail [sent by Rep. Mark Foley to an underage page], but he doesn't dispute Reynolds' account.
Being told that the co-chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children was sending 'overy friendly' email to underage kids would be memorable -- after all, what else would 'overly friendly' mean in the context other than 'inappropriate'? Clearly, Hastert's memory was wiped clean by some form of amnesia.
A more cynical writer would point out that 'I don't recall' is about the safest lie you could possibly tell, because it's nearly impossible to disprove. It also sounds enough like a denial to pass for one. And where the average person would say something like 'that never happened' in denying something, someone trying to hide something might be more cautious and say they 'don't recall it'.
But the people we're speaking about are above reproach -- they couldn't possibly be lying. So amnesia is the only answer. As much as I hate to say it, everyone in Washington needs to be tested for this amnesia and -- when the disease is discovered -- removed from positions of responsibility. It's hard enough to run the free world when you're on top of your game, imagine what it must be like if you can't remember anything.
Technorati tags: politics; republican; Washington; Condoleezza Rice and Dennis Hastert have been stricken by a horrible disease