It was Aug. 6, 2007, and President George W. Bush hadn’t told the truth.
He had claimed, during a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, that Iran “has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon.”
While the United States and its allies have long accused Tehran of trying to build an atomic arsenal, Iran has never openly declared that it wants nuclear weapons. The president had said something false. What was a reporter to do?
The headline on my story called Bush’s claim “dubious.” The piece said he had delivered “an inaccurate accusation at a time of sharp tensions between Washington and Tehran.”
I didn’t call it a lie (I still wouldn’t). A National Security Council official telephoned to say “good catch” and assure me the claim was a mistake and would not be repeated. It wasn’t.
The current controversy around the National Security Agency surveillance programs has — once again — raised questions about the credibility of senior government officials.