Scottie & Me - White House Briefing - July 25, 2003
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Published on Friday, July 25, 2003 by
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Scottie & Me
(formerly known as Ari & I)
White House Press Briefing with Scott McClellan
Friday, July 25, 2003 - 2:30 PM
by Russell Mokhiber

Mokhiber: Scott, two things.

There was a report in The Washington Post this week that a local newspaper in Baghdad was shut down and its manager was arrested because of an article that the newspaper published. U.S. officials felt that the article was an incitement to violence and a threat to human rights in Iraq. And according to the paper, U.S. military forces broke down the front door, ransacked the office and detained the newspaper's manager. Do you believe that that kind of action would be constitutional under our 1st Amendment?

Scott McClellan: Well, that's making the assumption that certain things are the way that they were described. I don't know the specifics of that matter. I think that's a matter better addressed to the coalition provisional authority or our military people over in the region.

Mokhiber: Well, if the report is accurate, that the reason this was done was because of an article published in the newspaper - Scott

Scott McClellan: That's a nice try to get me to comment on something I just said -

Mokhiber: This was the article -

Scott McClellan: - to get me say something which I just said I don't know enough about the specifics to address that. But obviously, security and stabilization of Iraq is a high priority right now. We're making good progress on that front. There continue to be remnants of the former regime, as well as foreign terrorists that are going to continue to target success. We are moving forward on the security side. We're moving forward on prosperity for the Iraqi people, getting the economy going. We're also moving forward on the democratic front. We're beginning to see the governing council take steps toward democracy, and they're moving forward to begin to start the constitutional process, as well. These are important steps.

Mokhiber: In an article in Roll Call yesterday titled, FDA's Lobbying Questioned, reports -- I understand your brother is head of the FDA -- it reports that --

Scott McClellan: I'm not lobbying him, though.

Mokhiber: It reports that the FDA, under your brother, has hooked up with the pharmaceutical industry to defeat this bill that would allow for importing drugs from Canada. And it -

Scott McClellan: In this case, I support my brother. (Laughter.) But let me point out, that's a public health issue, that there are a lot of concerns that we can't verify the safety of these drugs that are coming back in. And I think the FDA Commissioner and the Secretary of Health and Human Services are doing their job, which is to ensure the safety and ensure that these drugs are safe for the American people. And so that's a very important concern.

Mokhiber: The article raises the question of whether it's unseemly for a federal regulatory agency to hook up with a major industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and jointly lobby Congress.

Scott McClellan: I don't know that I agree with that characterization. We're doing this because of the reason I just stated. This is a public safety issue, public health issue. And we're concerned about the safety of the reimportation of these drugs, and that we can't ensure the safety of those drugs coming back in. And so that's why we've taken the position that we took.



-Thanks to Russell Mokhiber

White House reporter Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter - He co-authors the weekly Focus on the Corporation column with Robert Weissman which Common Dreams publishes. He can be reached at:


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