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WH Press Secretary Mocks 'Downing Street Memo,' as Congressman Calls for Inquiry

By E&P Staff

Published: June 16, 2005 4:25 PM ET
 
NEW YORK With a forum about to begin on Capitol Hill on the so-called Downing Street Memo, hosted by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), reporters at today's White House briefing by Press Secretary Scott McClellan naturally raised the subject, albeit briefly.

Rather than ask about details or implications of the 2002 internal British document -- which seemed to suggest that the Bush administration was determined to go to war against Iraq and that intelligence would be “fixed” to support it --the correspondents wondered if the White House was ever going to respond to a letter authored by Conyers and signed by 88 of his colleagues asking for information about the memo.

A transcript of two exchanges follows:

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Q Scott, on another topic, has the President or anyone else from the administration responded to the letter sent last month by Congressman John Conyers and signed by dozens of members of the House of Representatives, regarding the Downing Street memo? Has the President or anyone else responded?

McCLELLAN: Not that I'm aware of.

Q Why not?

McCLELLAN: Why not? Because I think that this is an individual who voted against the war in the first place [Conyers] and is simply trying to rehash old debates that have already been addressed. And our focus is not on the past. It's on the future and working to make sure we succeed in Iraq.

These matters have been addressed, Elaine. I think you know that very well. The press --

Q Scott, 88 members of Congress signed that letter.

McCLELLAN: The press -- the press have covered it, as well.

Q But, Scott, don't they deserve the courtesy of a response back?

McCLELLAN: Again, this has been addressed….