Whopper of the Week: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley
"Q: Admiral, how [are] the Chinese reading those memos from the secretary as far as the military-to-military relations with China? Is this kind of a warning to the Chinese from the U.S. that you better behave in the future?
"Quigley: No, I wouldn't interpret it that way at all. What you've got is a misinterpretation of the secretary's intentions yesterday by a member of the OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] staff, and it simply misinterpreted the secretary's intentions and his guidance. So this was an honest misinterpretation, nothing more, nothing less.
"Q: But how did it come to the secretary's attention that his guidance had been misinterpreted?
"Quigley: Reporters started calling yesterday afternoon. Somebody had gotten a hold of the original memo. And we started taking queries here on the news desk from reporters, and then that brought it to our attention, and we started working it here internally and --
"Q: But it was not complaints from the White House or the State Department?
"Quigley: No, not at all. Not at all. "
-- May 3 Defense Department press briefingconcerning a Pentagon directive banning all military-to-military contacts between the U.S. and China. The policy was hastily altered to require such contacts be approved on a case-by-case basis.
"White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday that after seeing the reports about the suspension of military relations, White House officials he would not identify had called the Pentagon and said: 'This seems inconsistent with what we know the secretary's policy is. Can you look into this?'"
--"Calls Led To Pentagon Reversal" by Mike Allen in the May 4 Washington Post.
"John W. Warner, the Republican of Virginia who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he had spoken with Mr. Rumsfeld about suspending contacts with the Chinese military and heartily endorsed the tougher line that it suggested.
"'I strongly support his action for the following reasons,' Mr. Warner said. 'That has been a very valuable series of contacts for China. It gives them stature in the eyes of the other militaries of the world. They learn from it. I'm not suggesting secrets. But they learn about how a professional military is run. And China did not handle, from beginning to end, the tragedy of this forced downing of our aircraft in a professional manner.' "