You know, nearly twenty years ago, when I was in high school, I was playing the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade with some of my friends. If you’re wondering what this has to do with the ‘politics’ tag, bear with me a bit. So a friend of mine (call him Ben) was playing a Transylvanian ambassador whose embassy gets attacked by vampire killers bearing automatic weapons. The ambassador survives, and is faced with a police investigation concerning the carnage.
So the ambassador doesn’t want to explain why the attackers were actually there, so he instead is concocting a story on the fly while another friend of mine, the GM, plays the role of the policeman. The conversation went something like this:
GM: “So what happened here?”
Ambassador: “Oh, a man came in with an assault rifle and began shooting up the place.”
(more questions; it becomes clear from the investigation that multiple weapons were used in the shootings)
GM: “So, one man used all these weapons?”
Ambassador: “Well, there were more like seven or eight of them.”
GM: “Why didn’t you tell me that before?”
A: “You didn’t ask!”
GM: “So, do you have any idea what their motivations were?”
A: “No idea.”
(more back and forth)
A: “Oh, and one of them shouted, ‘Death to Transylvanians!'”
GM (throwing down his imaginary notebook in exasperation): “Why didn’t you mention that earlier?”
A: “You didn’t ask!”
See, the big joke was how lame the ambassador’s excuses were. We all had a good laugh because of the silliness of it all (we were also probably wired on Jolt and slap-happy from being up really late).
Then I see this in the news today (via Kevin Drum):
A C.I.A. spokesman said that the agency had been prepared to give the Sept. 11 commission the interrogation videotapes, but that commission staff members never specifically asked for interrogation videos.
The review by Mr. Zelikow does not assert that the commission specifically asked for videotapes, but it quotes from formal requests by the commission to the C.I.A. that sought “documents,” “reports” and “information” related to the interrogations.
Emphasis mine. I really don’t know what to say about this. I would say that the CIA are acting as juvenile and childish as high schoolers, but when I was in high school my friends and I already knew how utterly ridiculous such an argument was.