Sunday, November 11, 2007

Depends on What the Meaning of Deceive Is

There's yet more on FEMA's hilarious defense that its fake press conference was not intended to deceive.

The former director of external affairs for FEMA, John P. Philbin, penned a letter to the editor of the Washington Post today decrying an editorial about the fake presser (thanks to TPM Reader WF for the link). Philbin, who left the agency shortly after the fake presser and seems to have lost a prospective job at the Directorate of National Intelligence because of it, writes:

Here is what happened: There was pressure to inform the public quickly, and the staff, exhausted from round-the-clock duty, dropped the ball on announcing the news briefing. I was busy with meetings and unaware before the briefing that reporters had not been given adequate time to arrive and that the phone line for reporters was "listen only." The staff tried to salvage the event by asking the kinds of questions they had been fielding that morning. . . .
Because I was in charge, I take responsibility for letting this hastily planned briefing go forward.

However, neither I nor anyone on the staff is guilty of any attempt to deceive.

I refer you again to the picture CBS scrounged up today. Go take a look. It's a hilarious example of no intent to deceive.