White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs recently cleared up a matter of confusion regarding a statement by State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.
At the regular briefing for White House correspondents October 14, I repeated an earlier question about State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley’s reference to Guantanamo inmates as “refugees” at a briefing September 28th. The use of the term raised some eyebrows as well as from some Members of Congress, who felt “refugees” was an inappropriate expression to describe Khalid Sheik Mohammad and other inmates.
“Oh, yes,” replied Gibbs, “Let me see where we are on that. I know somebody checked, but I have not heard back from what that was.”
After the briefing, National Security Council deputy spokesman Benjamin Chang noted that in the transcript of Crowley’s briefing that day, his reference to “refugees” had a footnote which indicates he misspoke and meant to say “detainees.”
At the same briefing, I cited remarks Henry Kissinger had made on Afghanistan in an address the week before. I noted that the former secretary of state said that “ along with following the recommendations of his ambassador and the generals in Afghanistan, President Obama should support an international conference and treaty that guarantees neutrality of Afghanistan in the long term, and he likened it to the Treaty of London that guaranteed Belgian neutrality.
“Is that something that’s ever discussed in the meetings at all?”
“I have not heard that topic discussed thus far,” Gibbs told me, “No.”