I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my remarks may have caused you, or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat such a slander at any time in the future.
...That was John Cleese in the hysterical A Fish Called Wanda, of course, but this WaPo analysis of the Bush administration's increasingly well-documented obsession with secrecy by Dana Milbank says that the recent apology of Former White House official John DiIulio belongs alongside that one (and, more chillingly, a cited confession by a Stalin-era Soviet official prior to his execution in a purge) in the list of all-time classic apologies. It also has this to say:
The irony of DiIulio's recantation is he wound up rewarding an information control system he decried in his now-infamous e-mail to an Esquire magazine writer. ...These are heady times for Rove and the political aides who have been quite successful at limiting scrutiny of White House operations.
This fetish for secrecy is simply a Bad Thing, no matter who is in the White House, and, in my opinion, utterly belies Bush's 2000 campaign promise of integrity. With integrity comes accountability, and accountability doesn't exist without scrutiny. Without the information this Administration seeks to choke off at the tap, its own policies and performance can't be fairly evaluated. That's bad enough, but it is also really necessary to point out that this clandestine attitude in the Executive Branch is what brought us Watergate and Iran-Contra?