The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, May 17, 2004

Powell's minder pulls the plug on Russert gig

We have the WaPo story (May 17) from Howard Kurtz (run on C4) and the Meet the Press transcript.

Did Powell's press aide, the impeccably WASP-ly named Emily Miller, know what question genial Tim Russert was going to close with when she tried to end the interview?

Russert had clearly identified the speech in the first few words of his question; but the transcript is not clear whether Miller had started pulling the plug before hearing them (emphasis mine):

Russert: Finally, Mr. Secretary, in February of 2003, you placed your enormous personal credibility before the United Nations and laid out a case against Saddam Hussein citing...

Powell: Not off.

Emily: No. They can't use it. They're editing it. They (unintelligible).

Powell: He's still asking me questions. Tim.

Emily: He was not...

Powell: Tim, I'm sorry, I lost you.

Russert: I'm right here, Mr. Secretary. I would hope they would put you back on camera. I don't know who did that.

Powell: We really...

Russert: I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary. I don't think that's appropriate.

Powell: Emily, get out of the way.

Emily: OK.

Powell: Bring the camera back, please. I think we're back on, Tim. Go ahead with your last question.

Russert: Thank you very much, sir...

And Russert proceeds with the question.

Now, the interview was being taped [1] as part of a production-line, movie press junket sort of arrangement. Russert ran over time, it seems. But that doesn't explain the flunkey's reference to editing.

Russert's question was, of course, on the abortion that was Powell's February 5 2003 UN Security Council presentation on Iraqi WMD. Powell said he regretted the statement. Hardly his first admission on WMD intel, though.

Stand by for further particulars. We hope.

(Whoever codenamed the agent Curveball is surely in line for some sort of reward...)

  1. This page has streaming of the offending segment, apparently. I've haven't been able to get it to work (perhaps it's being in the dialup underclass...).

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