Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Deny, deny, deny.

Q About a year ago, right now, the White House was backing away from the President's comments that Saddam Hussein had sought uranium in Africa. There have been a number of reports in the past week concerning possible inquiries by the Iraqis in Africa. What's the White House position now? Are you where you were when the President gave the speech? Or are you where you were when you renounced that part of the speech?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, David, I noticed those articles earlier this week, as well. I found them interesting. I don't have any update from our standpoint. Certainly, those articles were sourcing European intelligence officials. But I did find them very interesting.

Q And on a related issue, has the President come to an independent determination about whether the mobile biological laboratories actually existed based on the intelligence he's being given now, or, in other words, is he in agreement yet with his Secretary of State?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as you are aware, we are learning more over time about the purposes of those labs. The last public comment I recall on this was by Director Tenet. But we have continued to learn more --

Q The last public comment was by Secretary Powell.

MR. McCLELLAN: In terms of the intelligence community and what they represented was by Director Tenet a few months ago. We have continued to learn more since that time, and I think you should address those questions to our intelligence community in terms of what the latest information we have about those laboratories.

Q They'll tell us.

Q You're not yet in agreement with your Secretary of State?

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, that -- as the Secretary of State pointed out, we have been learning more about those mobile labs. But the last word from the intelligence community that was stated publicly was by Director Tenet. And so that's the last information I have.

Q He didn't say we've been learning more. He said it was false and he regretted saying it, that we've been misled, I think was his phrase.

MR. McCLELLAN: The last public comments he stated?

Q By the Secretary of State was that we had been misled.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, by Director Tenet, the last public comments were that there was some differences of opinion about what they were for. But that's why I pointed out that we have learned more from that information. I'm not aware of any further public update from the intelligence community at this time. So that's the information that we go on at this point.

Q The Secretary of State might have had an update.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, like I said, we have been learning more since that time period.

Q And he said he was sorry.

Colin who? Can't say I recall anybody with that name ever working here, sorry.

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