THE LOOP….Was Dick Clarke an integral part of the White House’s counterterrorism team or wasn’t he? Let’s go to the tape:

  • Dick Cheney, Monday: “Well, he wasn’t — he wasn’t in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff….It was as though he clearly missed a lot of what was going on.”

  • Condoleezza Rice, Wednesday: “I would not use the word ‘out of the loop’….He was in every meeting that was held on terrorism. All the deputies’ meetings, the principals’ meeting that was held and so forth, the early meetings after Sept. 11.”

  • A “senior official,” later Wednesday: A senior official also said Rice twice complained directly to Clarke about his rare appearances at her senior staff meetings. In one e-mail, Clarke responded he was “too busy” and that after he missed another meeting Rice responded that he would have a “problem” if he did not start attending.

Which is it? Was he in all the meetings or wasn’t he?

Of course, it’s still possible that he was in “every meeting that was held on terrorism” and yet still missed lots of meetings, isn’t it? It’s possible, that is, if there weren’t very many meetings about terrorism.