Rich Galen

The implication that Hillary Clinton's apparently shocked, hand-before-mouth image might have been the moment of bin Laden's death was not that at all. Secretary Clinton said she suffers from allergies and was reacting to that, not a bullet to Osama's head.

On Tuesday, CIA Director Leon Panetta said:

"Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost twenty or twenty-five minutes where we - you know, we really didn't know just exactly what was going on."

That same day, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that,

"Brennan in his briefing yesterday made a couple of, I guess, misstatements - or statements that later appeared to be somewhat incorrect."

From the head counter-terrorism guy in the White House who was in the room while this thing was going on we expect better than "statements which later appeared to be somewhat incorrect."

Someone with a seat in the James Brady Briefing Room should write an analysis of the range of "incorrectness" acceptable from senior assistants to the President:

-- Slightly incorrect

-- Modestly inconsistent

-- Somewhat mistaken

-- Grossly at odds with the facts.

-- Totally wrong

-- Has resigned to spend more time with his family.

All right. Americans have been subjected to incorrect statements which have been blamed on the "fog of war" probably since the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired at Lexington and Concord in 1775.

In fact, Aeschylus, the Greek father of tragedy, wrote five centuries before Christ, "In war, the first casualty is the truth."

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the James Rosen piece and to a biography of Aeschylus. Also a pretty good Mullfoto from my trip to New Jersey yesterday and a topic-appropriate Catchy Caption of the Day.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at