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White House Fires at Straw Man on Chertoff Story


Rereading the White House response to my story Friday on the probability of an upcoming resignation by Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, I want to set the record straight.  

Claiming to me, “You’re wrong on Chertoff,” and referring to my report as “that nasty rumor” and concluding “it’s not fair,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Trent Duffy implies that I was saying that my sources told me Chertoff would be fired. I reported nothing of the sort.

Rather, I reported only that given the fall-out from the release of the tape of the pre-Katrina teleconference he participated in and mounting criticism of Chertoff, a knowledgeable administration source told me Chertoff’s exit from office would come soon. I did not even hint that Chertoff would be fired or that the President had lost confidence in him.

Thus the response of Mr. Duffy was directed at a straw man, that Chertoff was being pushed rather than jumping.

My source, incidentally, is one I trust completely.  I stand by my story.