People like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her successor as national security advisor Stephen J. Handley are often give a pass, with the understanding that these are well-meaning people doing the best they can under difficult circumstances, that is, a vice president who has made up his mind and will never change it and a president who, once he makes up his mind will never change it. As an ex-bureaucrat, I can sympathize (as indeed most people who have spent time in an organization will) with these people. You have done something to make the world better if you have done the doable.
But this report, if true, shows Mr. Hadley in what seems nothing more than a futile exercise, the mindless execution of the president's will in the face of certain failure, a Bizzarro World mirror image of the proverbial bearer of bad messages. He must be thinking, it's either me, or someone who'll make things even worse. That, or he totally lacks a sense of reality and insight into the human mind.
If nothing else, this bureaucrat mentality (and there's nothing wrong with that; we have and need more bureaucrats than politicians; for better or worse, bureaucrats make the world run) should lay to rest any thought that Ms. Rice will ever seek political office through an election, let alone the presidency.