Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell hit back hard on Monday afternoon against the claim alluded to at Talking Points Memo and circulating in the LGBT blogosphere over the weekend and into today that "segregation" is a possible outcome of the Pentagon working group's review of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy (and associated troop survey).
First, it's important to note what Megan Carpentier at TPM actually wrote:
In response to questions from reporters, Morrell clarified that the survey responses could lead the military to conclude that it would "perhaps need adjustments to facilities themselves," indicating that it is not outside the realm of possibility that, in order to preserve the privacy and modesty of heterosexual service members in group showers and barracks, the military would consider segregating gay and lesbian service members in some way.
By time John Aravosis got a hold of it this morning, here's how Megan's carefully couched claim -- that, from my review of my recording still overstates what Morrell said, which was that "facility adjustments" were a hypothetical possibility -- had been twisted:
Does the White House not understand that a black president cannot institute a policy of segregation? Apparently they don't.
The Pentagon confirmed on Friday that it is considering segregating gay troops, specifically with regards to creating separate showers and/or barracks for straight and gay troops.
Of course, that wasn't what Morrell said -- and it wasn't even what Carpentier wrote. But, it's what Aravosis told the LGBT community and his readers today.
The segregation portion of Morrell's interview with Think Progress blogger Igor Volsky:
MORRELL: So, when I was asked, about the, you know – this is in the context of “why are you even asking these questions?” – well, we’re asking these questions because in our engagements with the force thus far, this has been an area of some concern. Now we need to test it to see if that holds for—if it really reflects the concerns of the force, and which members of the force. Is it older members? Is it younger members? Are they, you know—which ones? And, and then along with this information, the working group will make some recommendations about how to deal with those concerns. It could be, as I said, who knows? This could be dealt with through education programs, through training programs, or it may require “facilities adjustments.” But no one, no one is considering “separate but equal” bathing or living facilities for you know, gay and straight troops. That’s just not ever a consideration.
Q: So that’s off the table.
MORRELL: Absolutely off the table.
The full interview is definitely worth checking out.
Interesting to note that Morrell went to the Center for American Progress blog -- Wonk Room is an arm of CAP's Think Progress blog -- to give the extended interview. CAP is one of the five organizations that was included in the White House discussions of the compromise that became the amendment voted on by the House and Senate Armed Services Committee at the end of May.