There was an interesting exchange at the White House press briefing today between the always-evasive Ari Fleischer (Bush’s press secretary) and Helen Thomas (elder reporter known for her occasionally strange questions).
Thomas asked Fleischer if the U.S. was obeying the Geneva Prisoner of War conventions in Iraq (which the U.S. claims Iraq is not doing). Fleischer answered that we were. Thomas then asked, “And also in Guantanamo?” Fleischer hedged — “Our prisoners are treated humanely.” Thomas: “Are we following the Geneva accords in Guantanamo?” Again, Fleischer hedged, saying only that they’re being treated humanely.
As far as White House press briefings go, the press secretary usually hedges like this when he doesn’t want to answer a question because he knows the answer is not good PR. In other words, he may believe that the U.S. is not following the Geneva accords.
Disclaimer: no transcript has been published, so this exchange is reported from memory.