Who Knew?

Reporters peppered White House spokesman Tony Snow with questions stemming from the Washington Post’s exposé of the poor living conditions and paperwork snafus combat-wounded outpatients are experiencing in the National Capitol Region, repeatedly asking when did the President first know and what action he has taken. Snow labored in vain to try to direct reporters to the Pentagon, specifically the Army which came in for the majority of criticism over conditions at the Walter Reed campus and its surrounding accommodations. At one point Snow told reporters that the Administration knew of the problems before the Post printed its articles. He hedged later, saying it was his “understanding” the conditions were known, but he was “not fully briefed on the activities or who knew what, when.” An after-the-fact addition to the briefing transcript notes: “The President first learned of the troubling allegations regarding Walter Reed from the stories this weekend in the Washington Post. He is deeply concerned and wants the problems identified and fixed.” Meanwhile, as lawmakers scramble to get on the “right” side of this issue, beltway pundits are laying blame on both the Administration and Capitol Hill. (If you haven’t read them, here are Post articles one and two—free signup.)