'Nothing New' on Rahman, Says White House

There is “nothing new from yesterday” regarding U.S. maneuvering to save the life Abdul Rahman, the Afghan Christian who could be sentenced to death for practicing his faith.  

That was what Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters at the White House briefing this morning.  In response to a question from NBC-TV correspondent Kelly O’Donnell as to whether action such as President Bush telephoned Afghan President Karzai to appeal for Rahman’s life, McClellan would only say there was “nothing new” and that “we continue to watch it [the imprisonment and pending sentence of death for Rahman] closely.”

Yesterday, when I brought up the subject of Rahman and whether the Bush Administration was using back-channel (behind the scenes) means to save the Christian Afghani from execution, McClellan replied, “Yes,” and added, “We are in constant contact with the Afghan government to let them know how we feel about his.”  However, the only specific that the President’s top spokesman disclosed to us was that Secretary of State Rice had telephoned the Afghan foreign minister to protest the Rahman trial.