October 29, 2007

Fake FEMA Presser Leads To Fake DNI Job

The man who arranged the fake FEMA press conference has found himself out of a job. Outgoing FEMA external affairs director Pat Philbin had already accepted a position as the director of public affairs for intel chief Mike McConnell and was supposed to start this week. He discovered today that the DNI has forgotten his name:

The man who oversaw public affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency when it held a fake news conference last week will no longer be taking over as head of public relations for the director of national intelligence.

Pat Philbin, FEMA's external affairs director, was scheduled to become director of public affairs for National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell on Monday. It was not immediately clear whether he offered his resignation or was fired just as he was set to begin the job.

As of Sunday, officials only said that they were aware of concerns.

But Monday, the director of national intelligence office issued this statement: "We do not normally comment on personnel matters. However, we can confirm that 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 story from FEMA on the press conference still seems to be evolving. Today, they issued a statement that the agency did not intend to fake the press conference, but improvised when reporters didn't show up. They also told the press today that FEMA's #2, Vice Admiral Harvey Johnson, didn't realize that the people in the room worked for FEMA and assumed they were reporters. However, neither explanation accounts for refusing to allow real reporters on phone lines to ask their own questions, or why Johnson addressed at least one of the fake questioners by his name.

FEMA has new guidelines for its press conferences in place today. All press conferences will have at least an hour's notice to allow reporters to attend. Reporters who call into the conference will be allowed to ask questions. And nose glasses will be barred entirely. (via The Moderate Voice)


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