tampabay.com

Bush aide criticizes new book

By TIMES WIRES
Published October 2, 2006


WASHINGTON - President Bush retains "full confidence" in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a top White House official said Sunday, responding to newly published allegations that Rumsfeld has mismanaged the Iraq war and alienated senior members of the Bush administration.

White House counselor Dan Bartlett was responding to State of Denial by Bob Woodward during appearances on the Sunday talk shows.

Rumsfeld said Sunday that he was not considering resigning and that the president had "called me personally" to express his support.

Bartlett also took issue with the book's assertion that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, failed to take action after then-CIA director George Tenet warned her, during a meeting on July 10, 2001, of intelligence pointing toward an impending al-Qaida attack. The book reports that Tenet, and his counterterrorism chief J. Cofer Black, felt brushed off.

The White House acknowledges the meeting occurred, but disputes the book's depiction. The meeting had not been previously disclosed to the 9/11 Commission, which investigated the events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Rice "believes that this is a very grossly misaccurate characterization of the meeting they had," Bartlett said.