From NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
The latest in the controversy over that Pentagon letter to Hillary Clinton... Clinton and John Kerry held a conference call with reporters this afternoon to announce legislation that requires the Pentagon to brief -- classified if necessary -- the Congress with contingency plans for redeploying troops from Iraq. Clinton said she was forced to draw up the legislation because she felt the issue was being politicized instead of receiving the answers from Secretary Gates she felt she deserved. In fact, she called Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman's response in the letter "offensive and totally inappropriate."
"I sent a serious letter on a matter of national security to the Secretary of Defense, and in return received a political response," she said. "I wrote yesterday to Secretary Gates renewing my call on the Bush Administration to immediately provide a redeployment strategy that will keep our brave men and women safe as they leave Iraq -- instead of adhering to a political strategy to attack those of us like Senator Kerry and myself who rightfully question their competence and preparedness after years of mistakes and misjudgments."
Kerry added his opinion, stating the country needs to plan for issues both in Iraq and on the home front, reminding reporters of Katrina. He also said a contingency plan is not something unreasonable to expect. "If the Pentagon can draw up plans to bomb Iran and do so on 24 hours notice by the president," he said, "then the least they can do is have a plan under any and all circumstances, and Hillary and I want to emphasize that, on any and all circumstances, a plan to redeploy American troops."