The Federal Emergency Management Agency's No. 2 official apologized Friday for leading a staged news conference Tuesday in which FEMA employees posed as reporters while real reporters listened on a telephone conference line and were barred from asking questions.
It was absolutely a bad decision. I regret it happened. Certainly ... I should have stopped it," said John "Pat" Philbin, FEMA's director of external affairs. "I hope readers understand we're working very hard to establish credibility and integrity, and I would hope this does not undermine it."
But the part you have to love?
White House press secretary Dana Perino said Friday that "it is not a practice that we would employ here at the White House. We certainly don't condone it. We didn't know about it beforehand..."
The White House would never employ faked press briefings. [link|http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28120-2005Mar11.html|Town halls maybe,] but not press briefings.
One final detail?
Philbin's last scheduled day at FEMA was Thursday. He has been named as the new head of public affairs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ODNI spokeswoman Vanee Vines said.
[On Edit 2]
Well, ol' Philbin [link|http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN2955777020071030|HAD] a job.