Ray McGovern, a former CIA employee, showed balls of steel when he hit Rumsfeld with the hard questions during a speech in Atlanta today:
QUESTION: So I would like to ask you to be up front with the American people, why did you lie to get us into a war that was not necessary, that has caused these kinds of casualties? why?McGovern wasn't the only protester - several others were also removed.
RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, I haven’t lied. I did not lie then. Colin Powell didn’t lie. He spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence Agency people and prepared a presentation that I know he believed was accurate, and he presented that to the United Nations. the president spent weeks and weeks with the central intelligence people and he went to the american people and made a presentation. i’m not in the intelligence business. they gave the world their honest opinion. it appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.
QUESTION: You said you knew where they were.
RUMSFELD: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were and –
QUESTION: You said you knew where they were Tikrit, Baghdad, northeast, south, west of there. Those are your words.
RUMSFELD: My words — my words were that — no, no, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let him stay one second. Just a second.
QUESTION: This is America.
RUMSFELD: You’re getting plenty of play, sir.
QUESTION: I’d just like an honest answer.
RUMSFELD: I’m giving it to you.
QUESTION: Well we’re talking about lies and your allegation there was bulletproof evidence of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq.
RUMSFELD: Zarqawi was in Baghdad during the prewar period. That is a fact.
QUESTION: Zarqawi? He was in the north of Iraq in a place where Saddam Hussein had no rule. That’s also…
RUMSFELD: He was also in Baghdad.
QUESTION: Yes, when he needed to go to the hospital.
Come on, these people aren’t idiots. They know the story.
As an indicator of current US public opinion, I thought the audience reaction was telling. They loudly booed the protesters and they cheered support when Rumsfeld said "I did not lie." They then tried to shout down Ray McGovern as he continued demanding answers, and guards would have thrown McGovern out of the audience if Rumsfeld had not stopped them. But when McGovern protested "This is America!" there was scattered applause in support. When the little "episode" was finally over, there was audible relief.
McGovern has given everybody in that audience something to think about, not least of all Rumsfeld. More importantly, if this gets airplay, he will have given viewers and readers across the USA something to think about. Every little bit counts, folks. Let's see how the media spin this one.
(ThinkProgress Quicktime video here) or CNN.com Video here.