Who Emailed Mika Background for Nasty Question to Townsend?

Update | 10:48 AM ET -- Mystery Solved: Morning Joe Executive Producer Chris Licht has emailed me to say: "Mika was reading research emailed from a segment producer to her Blackberry: specifically, the Bloomberg News article re: Townsend says election is potential terrorism target."

Have a look at the screencap. It's Mika Brzezinski scrolling what looks to be her Blackberry as she poses a hostile question to Fran Townsend, President Bush's top White House adviser on terrorism and homeland security.

Townsend, who has announced that she's stepping down after four years in the Bush administration, appeared on today's "Morning Joe." After some conversation with Willie Geist, Mika Brzezinski took over, peppering Townsend with a series of challenging questions on everything from the failure to capture Bin Laden to waterboarding.

Mika appeared to have Blackberry in hand throughout. When it came to her last, and nastiest, question, she was busily scrolling it as she read off its screen.

View video here.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Ms. Townsend, just one final question. It pertains to the elections. And I'm seeing some quotes from you of recent that you say "we know al Qaeda tends to view elections. I don't know if there'll be a particular threat, but we can't ignore what we've already seen." This is an article that interviews you, the headline says "Townsend Says Election Is Potential Terrorism Target." Any fear that some would see these comments as politically motivated?

Townsend said there was "absolutely not" any political motivation, pointing out al Qaeda's history of launching attacks timed to coincide with major political events in the West, and stating that we "we have an obligation to be prepared."

The MSNBC staff could have simply handed Mika the material. So who emailed Mika the background she used to taunt Townsend? Just wondering.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.