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Fake FEMA news conference director loses promotion
David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Sunday October 28, 2007

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UPDATE: DNI denies promotion for former FEMA flack

The fomer FEMA flack who orchestrated a fake press conference last week has lost his shot for the top PR job in the Department of National Intelligence.

CNN reported earlier Monday that John "Pat" Philbin, the Director of Public Affairs responsible for FEMA's recent faked news conference, was all set to accept a his promotion, until his new boss realized that hiring a spokesman with a penchant for fiction might not be the best idea.

"We do not normally comment on personnel matters," DNI spokesman Ross Feinstein told the Associated Press. "However, we can confirm that Mr. Philbin is not, nor is he scheduled to be, the director of public affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence."

Philbin's promotion was "put on hold" while Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell could review his record, a DNI spokesman told the Associated Press earlier in the day.

A press release described Philbin's new job as director of public affairs in the DNI's office as an "amazing opportunity to head the communications shop." The release was sent to reporters before Philbin was kicked to the curb.

The PR man has come under fire for organizing a press conference to respond to the California wildfires that featured FEMA employees -- including Philbin himself -- posing as journalists, AP reported. No actual reporters attended the conference, but several listened in via conference call, where they were unable to ask any questions.

McConnell offered Philbin his new job before the press conference fiasco. It is unclear how long his review will take.

As TPM Muckraker notes, the delayed -- possibly rescinded -- promotion "doesn't augur well for the man whose old FEMA online bio page has been speedily expunged from the site."

The following video is from CNN's Newsroom, broadcast on October 28, 2007.



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