At last Friday’s State Department daily press briefing, spokesman Ian Kelly attempted to limit the fallout from Special Envoy Major General Scott Gration’s insistence before the House Subcommittee on African and Global Health that no confidential annex to the administration’s Sudan policy existed. Here’s a look at the transcript:
QUESTION: A question about General Gration’s testimony yesterday. I believe when Secretary Clinton announced the Sudan policy, she indicated that there was a classified annex that dealt with incentives and sanctions, but he said yesterday on the Hill that, in fact, there is no classified annex. Can you clarify that?
MR. KELLY: Yeah. Let me just clarify exactly what we’re talking about here. The Secretary – her reference to a classified annex was a reference to a body of certain classified documents that were used in the creation of the Sudan strategy that was approved by the interagency process. The Secretary and the Administration have authorized Special Envoy Gration to discuss all such documents with members of Congress and cleared staff, as we deem appropriate. So I think it’s just a matter of definition, annex or a body of documents, but she – there is a body of documents that are under classification.
QUESTION: But he’s not calling it an annex?
MR. KELLY: Well, he said what he said.
The classified annex, or rather, working papers, has not only been the focus of attention within the Sudan advocacy and policy community, but was pitched by the administration itself as the key to pushing Sudan toward sustainable peace. Yet, if all of this was just semantics, it remains a mystery why Gration would seem so confused when asked a question about a confidential annex to which the Secretary of State and hundreds of news stories have already referred.
Photo: Special Envoy Major General Scott Gration.