If you dare go to the whitehouse web location and read through the transcripts of Wednesday's press briefing, you will see the fur flying all about as Tony scratches for an answer that is defendable.
Do you think he wins his argument? have a look:
Q Well, again, the report says, "factors fueling the movement outweigh the vulnerabilities." It says they're not --As one reporter later in the briefing suggests, it seems that the release of the declassified segments of the NIE are like a "political Rorschach test. If you're looking at the NIE and you're predisposed to be critical of the war in Iraq, you see -- you read it that more terrorists are being created." But, if you read it like the President and his pals, it reads like we are winning the war on terror. What say you?
MR. SNOW: Yes, but --
Q -- that the movement has grown, and that it's harder to find and harder to prevent attacks.
MR. SNOW: I believe what it says. You've gotten it about right.
Q And they're training new leaders who are being battle-tested in Iraq.
MR. SNOW: No, it says -- let's run through it, because these are all good questions. First, it says -- let's see -- what you're talking about -- I'm sorry. Where are we here? Rephrase the one that you're going after here.
Q Let's see --
Q The vulnerabilities question.
Q Right. Well, we can go back over -- I can read you verbatim --
MR. SNOW: All right, here we go. Yes, the -- okay, that's -- thank you.
Q -- but we're also talking about harder -- you know, the "confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups."
MR. SNOW: Right. Which is precisely why the President has said -- if you look back at what the President has been saying, he says it's numerous and more dispersed. We're not disagreeing with that. I'm not trying to pick a fight with it.
What I'm trying to tell you is, there's a difference between an al Qaeda that has training camps, that has the operational ability. What this is talking about is the ability to get people to say, I'm a jihadist, and be angry, to identify themselves as part of a movement. It's not the same --
Q Tony, he says we're winning the war on terrorism. That's what he says.
MR. SNOW: I know.