Monday, October 29, 2007

Philbin off to drama school?

Well, things are changing by the hour on the D.C. beltway.

You'll of course remember the little episode of the "fake" press conference staged by FEMA Director of External Affairs, John Philbin.

Of course you will.

And then, you'll remember that Philbin, after having been exposed, landed on his feet, having secured an "amazing opportunity" to become the Director of Public Affairs in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

As I said, things are changing... yet again.
A Bush administration official whose department had government workers pose as journalists in a news conference has been dropped from a planned new job as media chief for the top U.S. spy agency.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said on Monday that John Philbin, who until last week was external affairs director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, would not be taking up a similar job with the intelligence office.

"Mr. Philbin is not, nor is he scheduled to be, the director of public affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence," the office said in a written statement.

Philbin, who has given up his post at FEMA, has effectively fired himself. There was no mention if he was going to journalism school or if he intended to pursue a drama career.

In further FEMA news, the agency's administrator, R. David Paulson, panned the Philbin phoney news conference while defending the agency's director, Vice Admiral Harvey E. Johnson Jr.

The agency’s administrator, R. David Paulison, who was in California at the time, has come to the defense of Admiral Johnson, a retired Coast Guard officer, saying he was “put in a position” by mistakes of the public affairs staff that have unfairly raised questions about his credibility.
Yeah. I've often noticed that admirals allow themselves to get caught with their asses hanging out. It's basic leadership: Know your people. And another one: Your integrity is the example. In short, if you're an admiral and some flunky is doing something so obviously wrong, you stop the flunky. I suppose Johnson missed those days in Admiral School. He might want to consult some of his former petty officers; they had to pass an exam in that stuff.

In a memo to FEMA employees Monday, Mr. Paulison said of M. Philbin, “The failure to properly schedule, or to cancel a press conference that had no press in attendance, or capability to ask questions telephonically, represented egregious decision making by the director of external affairs and his staff.”

From now on, Mr. Paulison said, reporters will always get adequate advance notice of news conferences.

“Finally, under no circumstances will anyone other than media be allowed to ask questions at press events,” Mr. Paulison’s statement said.

Heh. A federal agency of, supposedly, the "greatest democracy on earth" needs a memo to remind them of the fundamentals.

Keep passing the popcorn. This is better than Days Of Our Lives.

I can hardly wait for the Medal of Freedom ceremony.

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