Hecklers disrupt Rumsfeld speech

Published May 5, 2006

ATLANTA - Protesters repeatedly interrupted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during a speech Thursday, and one man, a former CIA analyst, accused him of lying about Iraq prewar intelligence.

"Why did you lie to get us into a war that caused these kind of casualties and was not necessary?" said Ray McGovern, the former analyst, during a question-and-answer session.

"I did not lie," responded Rumsfeld, who waved off security guards ready to remove McGovern from the hall at the Southern Center for International Studies.

With Iraq war support remaining low, it is not unusual for top Bush administration officials to encounter protests and hostile questions. But the outbursts Rumsfeld confronted on Thursday seemed beyond the usual.

Three protesters were escorted away by security as each interrupted Rumsfeld's speech by shouting antiwar messages. Officials reported no arrests.

Rumsfeld also faced questions from a woman identifying herself as Patricia Roberts of Lithonia, Ga., who said her son, 22-year-old Spc. Jamaal Addison, was killed in Iraq.

Roberts said she is now raising her grandson and asked whether the government could provide any help.

Rumsfeld has been interrupted by antiwar demonstrators in congressional hearing rooms as he has delivered testimony to lawmakers in recent months, and at other speeches.

When security guards tried removing McGovern during his questioning of Rumsfeld, the defense secretary told them to let him stay. The two continued to spar.

"You're getting plenty of play," Rumsfeld told McGovern, who is a critic of the war in Iraq.