So what, exactly, was the point of that Pentagon presser this afternoon? Spokesman Larry Di Rita said up front that he wanted "tell the facts that we understand about this early report, about which I think people may have drawn conclusions absent those facts. . . So we've tried to accumulate our understanding about this situation." Well, alright then. What are the facts?
MR. DIRITA: We've spent an enormous amount of time in the last week trying to better understand what happened to this 1/1000th of material that we are aware of and know about. And I caution that there is a lot that we probably don’t know . . .
The major's unit pulled 250 tons of total equipment out of this facility, including a lot of plastic explosives. How much, I don't think we know. . . .
The barrels of -- that some people have said is HMX, that I don’t know is accurate, and I'm not prepared to stipulate whether it is or is not -- was not. . . My only point on that is I'm not sure we know what the IAEA declared. . .
Q Wait a second. Can he tell us whether that was the material, the 300-plus tons that were under IAEA seal? Can you tell us that that was the same material? Are we talking about the same material?
MR. DIRITA: If you don’t know --
MAJ. PEARSON: I don’t know. . . .
MR. DIRITA: So we're trying our best to understand it. You want a definitive answer. I think others have said that they think they know the definitive answer. We're simply saying we don't.
And it's not -- we don’t know. Certainly Major Pearson had no responsibility, and we just don’t know to this point.
I haven't seen the transcript of what the secretary said, although I was there when he made his comments. I just don't remember how precisely he worded it. What I think he would emphasize and what I'm certainly emphasizing is that there's a lot we don't know.Indeed.
UPDATE: A Wonkette operative reports that journalists stifled giggles throughout the conference. . . Because if you don't laugh, you'll scream.