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France Says It Is Victim Of A Smear Campaign
CNN

Posted on 05/15/2003 10:21:42 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford

France says it is victim of smear campaign

Bush administration disputes charge

From Andrea Koppel and John King

CNN Washington Bureau

Thursday, May 15, 2003 Posted: 12:45 PM EDT (1645 GMT)

French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte said the United States is spreading misinformation about the French government.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- France says it is the victim of a smear campaign by the Bush administration, charging some U.S. officials are leaking false stories about alleged French complicity with the Iraqi regime.

The Bush administration dismissed the charge.

The French government lays out its claim in a letter written by the French ambassador to the United States, according to a French diplomat familiar with its contents.

The letter was to have been delivered to the White House and members of Congress Thursday.

"This is not acceptable," said one French diplomat. France "does not consider it a policy, but considers that some people have done some damage to the relationship."

One U.S. official involved in national security matters said the French claim was baseless.

"There are a lot of things we don't like, and we have not been shy about that," said the U.S. official. "But there is no campaign against the French."

The Bush administration has made no secret of its anger following an intense campaign by France earlier this year to block a U.S.-led attempt to win the support of the U.N. Security Council for a second resolution authorizing military action in Iraq.

The French campaign succeeded and the United States, Great Britain and Spain instead went ahead with a "coalition of the willing" to invade Iraq without the backing of the United Nations.

In his letter, French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte cited eight examples of what he describes as proof of a deliberate U.S. campaign to spread misinformation about the French government. CNN has obtained a copy of the list, which accompanies the letter.

"We cannot accept to be accused repeatedly for stories sourced in the administration for things we have not done," said the French diplomat familiar with the letter. "Who did this? Why? For what agenda?" the diplomat wondered aloud.

Among the stories cited by the French:

• News reports, quoting administration officials, suggesting France might have sold weapons to Iraq in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

• A Washington Times story reporting U.S. intelligence sources had received information suggesting French officials in Syria were helping members of the Iraqi leadership escape the U.S. military by issuing French passports to them. (Excerpts from the list)

"The passport story had them really hot," said a senior U.S. official. "They delivered passionate, heated and repeated denials that any such thing was occurring."

The official said there was no evidence of the French issuing such passports, and noted the White House never said there was any such evidence.

On the day of the Washington Times story, however, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer suggested reporters would be better served asking the French whether they provided passports to Iraqi officials.

At the time Fleischer made that statement at the daily White House briefing, other senior officials privately suggested the story was based on one uncorroborated tip received by U.S. intelligence agencies, and that the information was being investigated but not being treated as true or even necessarily credible.

"That one put them over the top," this official said. Nevertheless, this official and the others denied any coordinated effort to smear the French. "Do we have reason to be mad? We think we do," the senior official said.

This official said the French letter had not been received at the White House, but that there had been "official communications" suggesting it would be delivered as early as Thursday.

This official suggested any assertion of an organized campaign "is ridiculous" and attributed the letter to "a sense of resentment" by some French officials that U.S. officials have talked of negative ramifications for U.S.-French relations because of the disagreements over Iraq.

Deputy White House press secretary Scott McClellan, when asked about the French complaint, recalled a recent quote from Secretary of State Colin Powell that "the United States and France have been in marriage counseling for 200 years."

McClellan also said the United States and France are allies and that, while differences persist, "We are looking to the future."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antifrenchhumor; businessdealings; businesspartners; cheeseandwhine; cheeseeating; dairyproducts; france; french; investments; iraqiconstruction; iraqioil; nucleartechnology; prodictator; prosaddam; saddamites; surrendermonkeys; thepowerofcheese; waawaaaa; whiteflag
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1 posted on 05/15/2003 10:21:43 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford
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To: gcruse; Scenic Sounds; ValenB4; Sir Gawain
Crying, whining baby alert!
2 posted on 05/15/2003 10:22:39 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
ARE THESE IDIOTS ON CRACK!!!!!!
3 posted on 05/15/2003 10:22:59 AM PDT by scottlang
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Yeah, the Bush administration holds great sway on the Guardian over in the UK.
4 posted on 05/15/2003 10:24:05 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: Cathryn Crawford
YOU WANT SOME CHEESE WITH THAT WHINE -- LOL
5 posted on 05/15/2003 10:25:07 AM PDT by Nat Turner
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To: Cathryn Crawford
thats funny....France is a smear
6 posted on 05/15/2003 10:25:39 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
I think we should invade these guys and take away their weapons.

Freedom fighter-out
7 posted on 05/15/2003 10:27:07 AM PDT by 411 freedom fighter
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Bush isn't landing on the French aircraft carrier anytime soon, assuming it floats.
8 posted on 05/15/2003 10:28:22 AM PDT by VRWC_minion (Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and most are right)
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To: Cathryn Crawford; Chancellor Palpatine; Poohbah; general_re
If I'm not mistaken, the legal term for France is "libel-proof."

;-)

9 posted on 05/15/2003 10:28:41 AM PDT by dighton
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To: 411 freedom fighter
On a lighter note the french monitors surrendered to the security guards at cnn after this was aired.
10 posted on 05/15/2003 10:28:53 AM PDT by scottlang
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To: scottlang
That's like the joke about the French surrendering when they
heard the fireworks on the Fourth of July...have you heard that one?
11 posted on 05/15/2003 10:30:22 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Poor babies. I hear there's a Holiday Inn in Oklahoma where they might find some friends.
12 posted on 05/15/2003 10:30:36 AM PDT by workerbee
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To: joesnuffy
A reputable media outlet would headline " TRUTH
and FRANCIS do not go together" !
13 posted on 05/15/2003 10:30:52 AM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (CCCP = clinton, chiraq, chretien, and putin = stalin wannabes (moore is goebbels))
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To: Cathryn Crawford

14 posted on 05/15/2003 10:30:54 AM PDT by BraveMan
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Let me be very clear about this.

Screw France!

15 posted on 05/15/2003 10:31:18 AM PDT by Reagan Man
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Truth is an absolute defense against libel...
16 posted on 05/15/2003 10:32:34 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Cry me a Seine
17 posted on 05/15/2003 10:32:56 AM PDT by thoughtomator (Road Map = Road Kill)
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To: workerbee
Ahhh. The average IQ level in Texas went up immensely on Sunday.
18 posted on 05/15/2003 10:33:34 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
I won't believe they've been smeared until the senior girls from Chicago have a go at this whining bunch of pansies.
19 posted on 05/15/2003 10:33:43 AM PDT by mombonn (Have you prayed for your President yet today?)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Yet one more nail in their coffin.
20 posted on 05/15/2003 10:33:55 AM PDT by truthkeeper
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To: BraveMan
That's great, just great!
21 posted on 05/15/2003 10:34:22 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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To: joesnuffy
France is more like the Butt streak on the Global underwear.
22 posted on 05/15/2003 10:35:45 AM PDT by Vinnie_Vidi_Vici
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To: Cathryn Crawford
France says it is victim of smear campaign

Perpertrated by their very own leaders, LOL ALERT!

23 posted on 05/15/2003 10:37:45 AM PDT by Mister Baredog ((They wanted to kill 50,000 of us on 9/11, we will never forget!))
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To: Vinnie_Vidi_Vici
LOL!

I like to think they are the heat rash of humanity...or the athlete's foot of the Western World.
24 posted on 05/15/2003 10:39:53 AM PDT by wimpycat ('Nemo me impune lacessit')
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To: Cathryn Crawford
That's like the joke about the French surrendering when they heard the fireworks on the Fourth of July

I think the fireworks came from Disneyland

...have you heard that one?

The latest French victory was over a McDonalds franchise in a Paris suburb. The entire French Nation celebrates the MORON who headed up the assault.

25 posted on 05/15/2003 10:44:29 AM PDT by Mister Baredog ((They wanted to kill 50,000 of us on 9/11, we will never forget!))
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To: Cathryn Crawford
VAST PRO-AMERICAN CONSPIRACY ALERT!
26 posted on 05/15/2003 10:45:11 AM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: Cathryn Crawford
1. Shame on the Washington Times if the story isn't true.

2. The French gov't is really being run by a bunch of whiny, immature, emotional, ridiculous, greedy, dishonest, self-serving people. Kinda reminds me of the last U.S. administration. Reporters might want to question some interns.

27 posted on 05/15/2003 10:46:11 AM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
I can't wait to see what the NY Post does with this gem tomorrow.

28 posted on 05/15/2003 10:49:40 AM PDT by You Dirty Rats
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To: You Dirty Rats
I'm sure, whatever it is, it will be completely accurate.
29 posted on 05/15/2003 10:51:59 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
"The passport story had them really hot," said a senior U.S. official. "They delivered passionate, heated and repeated denials that any such thing was occurring."

Bill Gertz, who broke the story, asked them for a comment. He got a "non-denial denial". They adamently denied they had provided "visas" to iraqi officials. However the allegation was that they provided passports, not visas.

30 posted on 05/15/2003 10:52:33 AM PDT by Hugin
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To: Hugin
I know. I read it on the first day and wondered about that little disrecepancy.
31 posted on 05/15/2003 10:53:38 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
I don't suppose they would care to deny (oh, wait, they already did) the documents found in Baghdad showing the French government passing on information about Bush-Chirac talks to the Iraqis, as well as other documents.
32 posted on 05/15/2003 10:53:46 AM PDT by xJones
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To: Cathryn Crawford
LOL!
33 posted on 05/15/2003 10:57:34 AM PDT by talleyman ("Millions for defense, but not a drop from France!")
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Is France the Billy Carter of Europe?
34 posted on 05/15/2003 10:58:14 AM PDT by Only1choice____Freedom (FreeperPost /Sarcasm = on /mode = max)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
• News reports, quoting administration officials, suggesting France might have sold weapons to Iraq in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

Never mind that we found Roland anti-aircraft milliles in Baghdad dated 2002, and one of them shot down an A10.

35 posted on 05/15/2003 10:59:34 AM PDT by Hugin
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To: Cathryn Crawford
France says...

Dammit!
In the U.S. they keep quoting our idiot politicians!

What's the problem?
Make your choices and take the consequences.

36 posted on 05/15/2003 11:02:10 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Californians are as dumm as a sack of rocks)
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To: Mister Baredog
The latest French victory was over a McDonalds franchise in a Paris suburb. The entire French Nation celebrates the MORON who headed up the assault.

I understand that they celebrate the victory every year.
A national holiday.

37 posted on 05/15/2003 11:04:37 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Californians are as dumm as a sack of rocks)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
If France feels that it is a "victim" of a "smear" campaing, it it because France is sitting in its own crapulence.
38 posted on 05/15/2003 11:04:45 AM PDT by capitan_refugio
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To: capitan_refugio
You're sooo eloquent!
39 posted on 05/15/2003 11:05:24 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Let's see... they dip themselves in s**t and then say we're smearing them when we hold our noses and tell the world how bad they stink. Got it.
40 posted on 05/15/2003 11:07:26 AM PDT by PsyOp
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To: Hugin
They adamently denied they had provided "visas" to iraqi officials. However the allegation was that they provided passports, not visas.

LOL!
They willi clintoned us?

Depends of what the meaning of "passports" is??

LOL!

41 posted on 05/15/2003 11:07:30 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Californians are as dumm as a sack of rocks)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
The French government whines about its image problems with the US and then comes out with crap like this....are they THAT stupid????????
42 posted on 05/15/2003 11:08:20 AM PDT by FeliciaCat
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To: FeliciaCat
Obviously, they are.
43 posted on 05/15/2003 11:09:26 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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To: Cathryn Crawford
If they're to be called Freedom Fries, does that make France the land of Freedom? Also, would that make this website FrenchRepublic?
44 posted on 05/15/2003 11:11:48 AM PDT by ValenB4
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To: Publius6961
I understand that they celebrate the victory every year. A national holiday.

LOL I believe that's correct, BTW Chirac is dropping fast, nationwide strikes are just starting up over their DISASTEROUS economy, and the OUTRAGEOUS social programs that he must cut, that are running them into the ground, SIMPLY DELICIOUS!

45 posted on 05/15/2003 11:11:51 AM PDT by Mister Baredog ((They wanted to kill 50,000 of us on 9/11, we will never forget!))
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To: Cathryn Crawford
When people get backstabbed, they tend to remember things like that. And the frogs don't like it.
46 posted on 05/15/2003 11:12:55 AM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("It's the same ole story, same ole song and dance, my friend")
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To: ValenB4
Ahhh, now you're committing heresey! You are a heretic! You will pay!
47 posted on 05/15/2003 11:13:16 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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To: Cathryn Crawford

48 posted on 05/15/2003 11:17:05 AM PDT by Carolina
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Crying, whining baby alert!

LOL! Jacques ChIRAQ's favorite pose . . .

Those mean 'ol Americans!

49 posted on 05/15/2003 11:17:38 AM PDT by geedee (Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.)
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To: Carolina
My thoughts exactly.
50 posted on 05/15/2003 11:17:48 AM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (There are two kinds of people in the world: Idiots, and those who take advantage of them.)
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