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October 13, 2005

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TexasToast

The media buzz has always been part of the WH defense. Cliff May is Exhibit A. All of this new stuff makes it real hard to believe that "welfare reform" had anything to do with this.

clarice

Absolutely BRILLIANT,TM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeff

This is only one dimension of what you're talking about, but: I've flagged this numerous times, and no one ever seems to find it as interesting as I do, or pick up on it at all. But it speaks to the conflicting accounts of the fate of the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip in the AP and the WaPo. It also speaks to the very important but unresolved question of whether Cheney or someone in Cheney's office, particularly Libby, learned of the content of the intelligence report on Wilson's trip to Niger. Tenet's July 11 2003 statement says

Because this report, in our view, did not resolve whether Iraq was or was not seeking uranium from abroad, it was given a normal and wide distribution, but we did not brief it to the President, Vice-President or other senior Administration officials.

What destinations were included in the "normal and wide distribution"? Is this a conventional formula with a clear meaning? Why not ask Tenet? Did it include the White House, and the Vice President's office specifically?

Note too that Tenet says "we did not brief it to the President, Vice-President or other senior Adminitration officials." Presumably, the "we" is the CIA. They just sent it around. Similarly, the SSCI report (with characteristic incompleteness) says on p. 46,

CIA's briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report, despite the Vice President's previous questions about the issue.

But with regard to Cheney (as well as others), this leaves unanswered not just the general question of whether he learned of the contents of the intelligence report, but the more specific question of whether Cheney might have been briefed on it by someone other than the CIA (like, say, Libby).

The most likely thing to be cited on Cheney's part that he did not learn of it is this Meet the Press appearance from Sept. 14 2003. Russert asks a direct question and then Cheney's answer follows:

Were you briefed on his findings in February, March of 2002?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I don’t know Joe Wilson. I’ve never met Joe Wilson. A question had arisen. I’d heard a report that the Iraqis had been trying to acquire uranium in Africa, Niger in particular. I get a daily brief on my own each day before I meet with the president to go through the intel. And I ask lots of question. One of the questions I asked at that particular time about this, I said, “What do we know about this?” They take the question. He came back within a day or two and said, “This is all we know. There’s a lot we don’t know,” end of statement. And Joe Wilson—I don’t who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.

We might be on our guard for weasel words in light of Cheney's misleading remark about the CIA coming back within a day or two, and the capper "end of statement." We know from the SSCI that while that may have been the end of the statment, that was not the end of the story, even by the official story of Cheney and the SSCI. In any case, look at the last thing Cheney says: "He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back." That must be true, since Wilson himself never submitted a report, the report was submitted by others who debriefed him (or others on the basis of the debriefers' work). So Cheney's comment does not answer the question of whether he ever saw the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip. Second, just for good measure, Cheney comments that he never saw a report. Well, that does not exclude the possibility that Cheney was briefed on the report by someone else who had the report in his hands, so Cheney may have heard the report without ever seeing it.

So some important questions remain unanswered. It would be nice if someone in the press could get close enough to Cheney to ask him some of these questions. Or Tenet.

And if you think this administration is incapable of that kind of weasel word casuistry, let's not forget the shenanigans with Bush and others saying there were no war plans on his desk in the run-up to the war. To say nothing of Karl Rove and his lawyers' current legalisms, technicalities and weaseling.

clarice

Time to post the whole AP story and play a round of Name that Source, isn't it?

clarice

BTW , is it just a coincidence that today Richard Cohen, a resident WH lefty argues that it's time to call off Fitz and the whole damn thing? LOL

clarice

WH--Should, of course, be WaPo..*smacking self for poor proofing and typing skills*

ed

Hmmm.

"Every agency" would have to include the CIA and the State Dept., through the INR. And if folks at the CIA and the INR were informed about the background to Wilson's trip, might someone have mentioned his wife's involvment to a reporter? Might a CIA source have said, "Ignore those INR jokers, I'll set you straight on that trip"?

Actually TM we've covered this several times. In the SCCI report we find out that the CIA, INR and some others were involved in a planning meeting that Plame arranged to justify Wilson's trip. The only group to come out of that meeting with anything remotely like a positive viewpoint was Plame's group.

Which was essentially a sort of "what the hell, why not".

Which would explain why the CIA, INR and the State Department would know about it.

pollyusa

TM

Recommend Anonymous Liberal today.

On Pincus

Pincus also gave testimony exonerating Libby, after a different source on Plame okayed his talking with Fitzgerald.

For example, after his source on Plame (not Libby) authorized him to talk to Fitzgerald, Pincus agreed to give a deposition in which he confirmed the time, date, and length of his conversation with the source but would not reveal the source’s identity

BTW Your mother will be proud.

pollyusa

Note:

These quotes on Pincus are in the same article but I should have used dots to separate. They are in different sections of the article

Bill

"senior CIA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the intelligence agency informed the White House on March 9, 2002 - 10 months before Bush's nationally televised speech - that an agency source who had traveled to Niger couldn't confirm European intelligence reports that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from the West African country. "

Keep in mind that Wilson was sent to look into an actual sale per what can be called the Italian 'documents' and the President's 2003 State of the Union speech referred to what can be called 'British intelligence' that attempts to by had been recently made.

That while March 2002 report cast doubts on the actual sale, it reenforced the idea that attempts had been made.

According to the Senate Select Committee the report stated that:

The intelligence report indicated that former Nigerien Prime Minister Ibrahim Mayaki was unaware of any contracts that had been signed between Niger and any rogue states for the sale of yellowcake while he was Prime Minister (1997-1999) or Foreign Minister (1996-1997). Mayaki said that if there had been any such contract during his tenure, he would have been aware of it. Mayaki said, however, that in June 1999, {blacked out} businessman, approached him and insisted that Mayaki meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq. The intelligence report said that Mayaki interpreted "expanding commercial relations" to mean that the delegation wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales. The intelligence report also said that "although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to the UN sanctions on Iraq."


JayDee

So the "senior administration official" says the admin wasn't briefed on "details" of the trip, and the "senior CIA official" says it was. He said, he said. Who do you choose to believe?

Considering Tenet was later forced to disclaim the "words" and say they shouldn't have been put in the SOTU speech, I'm going with the latter. What's the tin foil take here on why Tenet was made to take a public fall, which he later recanted on?

And uh, clarice, by what credentials is Richard Cohen a "lefty"? Do you just see lefites under every bed? That was one disgusting editorial, basicaly claiming that being a DC insider puts a citizen above the rule of law. What a refined perspective!

clarice

Why should I "keep in mind" a falsehood? Check Tom's attic more thoroughly and reread the SSCI findings..to review what Wilson was supposed to be checking out.

Hell, TM, this place is becoming a "Gotel California". I am loathe to keep recommending it because once you check in you can't check out..;)

Jeff

TM - I believe there may have actually been three articles on June 12 2003. The one that you've been referring to as AP is actually by Jonathan Landay of KR. I can't find a live link to the AP article to be able to check, but the Left Coaster post you started from yesterday appears to refer to them as two different articles.

pollyusa

Pincus did the CIA pushback the next day June 13 2003 WAPO


The CIA, facing criticism for its failure to pass on a key piece of information that put in doubt Iraq's purported attempts to buy uranium from Niger, said yesterday it sent a cable to the White House and other government agencies in March 2002 that said the claim had been denied by officials from the central African country.

He also did an article on July 12, 2003, around the time he was talking to Plame sources. Tenet's version

CIA Got Uranium Reference Cut in Oct.
Why Bush Cited It In Jan. Is Unclear

Bill

Your right

The talking points were general, asking officials if Niger had been approached, conducted discussions, or entered into any agreements concerning uranium transfers with any "countries of concern"


However I still maintain that while March 2002 report cast doubts on the actual sale, it reenforced the idea that attempts had been made.

RKF

Regarding "can't both be right", I disagree. Here is something I sent somone a while back. I will bold why I think the key WH decision makers coudl have been alerted to doubts about the assertion while correctly asserting that it was not formally briefed back upline to VP Cheney

Pretty clear what happened. Wilson was debriefed. The State guy said that his report largely debunked the claim. The CIA guy said otherwise, leaning on the cryptic comment. but remember that this would have been by then a handpicked CIA guy that was more "open" to the evidence of Iraqi perfidy that had been disregarded as not credible for years by the CIA. They were right of course - it was Chalabi's tripe, and most that did not believe him have been purged for being correct (Goss took care of them like Vader did the Separatists leaders).

But what Cheney did when he got in office was to tell them (CIA Iraqi skeptics) they were wrong to call that information not credible and they better pay attention to it. He basically compelled the CIA to give the info more credibility than it deserved. So the CIA guy, pulling a classic Cheney/Myrjolie act of 2+2=5, sees this as corroborative of Iraqi plots (isn't everything corroborative to them?), when the State guy doesn't. But someone higher up (Libby, Hannah?), plainly realizes it’s too weak to even run by Cheney. So it may be true that no one briefed Cheney on the result of the mission (that he requested), but that shows you how BS the claim is that Wilson's report supported the claim.

The other issue is the forged docs. Much has been made that Wilson made a false claim that he had seen the forged docs and knew them to be forgeries, when he didn't see them till later. Wilson later clarified that in that timeframe he had only heard about the fact that they were likely forgeries. But that shows you how much the WH is lying when they defend the use of those docs. Everyone in the CIA (read, Wilson's wife) was screaming to the WH that they were BS, not to rely on them.

topsecretk9

okay haven't read all the comments but 2 things in a tangent manner came to mind...(TM made this a while ago)

Walter Pincus explained that when he got the tip about Plame on July 12, "I didn’t write about that information at that time because I did not believe it true that she had arranged his

Wilsons book, p.345

"a couple of days before Novaks article was published (july 14), but after my friends strange encounter with him (July 8), I had received a call from Post reporter Walter Oincus, who alerted me that "they are coming after YOU"....

Since I already knew what Novak had learned about Valerie (July 10) I was increasingly concerned ....I assumed though that the CIA itself would quash any article that made reference to Valerie"

then....this is the kicker...

"Novak had been trolling for sources when we spoke on the phone (July 10) SO I ASSUMED HE DID NOT HAVE CONFIRMATION HE WOULD NEED FROM THE CIA TO PUBLISH THE STORY...I told Valerie, who alerted the Press Liason at the CIA"

Starting on page 343
Mystery friend relates CHANCE encounter with Novak on street July 8...Wilson immediately calls (it took SEVERAL calls) Eason Jordan (titular boss) Wilson RELATES THE DETAILS to JORDAN of the chance encounter and pointed out that whatever my WIFE MIGHT or MIGHT NO BE, it was very irresponsible of Novak...Novak calls on July 9th, but Joe was out!-hmm-and they play phone tag until July 10th when Novaks "asked IF I WOULD CONFIRM WHAT HE HAD HEARD FROM A CIA SOURCE: that my wife worked at the agency"
but then AFTER the column..."He cited not a CIA source, AS HE HAD INDICATED" "when we first spoke he had cited to me a CIA source, yet his published story cited 2 administration officia

---at this point Wilson is now cool with Novak using the CIA source---I am confused

Cybil party of 21!

Nova
but then on page 4

"(July 14)Eight days after my article appeared(July 6)...David Corn had ALERTED ME and LATER (JULY 16!!!!) WRITTEN THE FIRST article pointing out the disclosure by way of Novak might of violated 82 IIP act.


help me here

topsecretk9

shoot, sorry about the tag.

HonestAbe

"Another explanation was provided by a former senior C.I.A. officer. He had begun talking to me about the Niger papers in March, when I first wrote about the forgery, and said, “Somebody deliberately let something false get in there.” He became more forthcoming in subsequent months, eventually saying that a small group of disgruntled retired C.I.A. clandestine operators had banded together in the late summer of last year and drafted the fraudulent documents themselves.

“The agency guys were so pissed at Cheney,” the former officer said. “They said, ‘O.K, we’re going to put the bite on these guys.’ ” My source said that he was first told of the fabrication late last year, at one of the many holiday gatherings in the Washington area of past and present C.I.A. officials. “Everyone was bragging about it—‘Here’s what we did. It was cool, cool, cool.’ ” These retirees, he said, had superb contacts among current officers in the agency and were informed in detail of the sismi intelligence.

“They thought that, with this crowd, it was the only way to go—to nail these guys who were not practicing good tradecraft and vetting intelligence,” my source said. “They thought it’d be bought at lower levels—a big bluff.” The thinking, he said, was that the documents would be endorsed by Iraq hawks at the top of the Bush Administration, who would be unable to resist flaunting them at a press conference or an interagency government meeting. They would then look foolish when intelligence officials pointed out that they were obvious fakes. But the tactic backfired, he said, when the papers won widespread acceptance within the Administration. “It got out of control.”"

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?031027fa_fact

topsecretk9

Joe blew it with "the names were wrong, the dates were wrong"

topsecretk9

and like Clarice pointed out in the American Thinker...

Pincus and Kristof have not corrected---what Joe said in his Senate testimony--he misspoke and subsequently ---clarified in his Senate Committee response letter!

JayDee

Honest Abe, is your quote also from Wilson's book? If the forgeries were a CIA attempt to punk the Bushies, and Wilson is admitting this in his book, how does this fit into clarice's claim that Plame sent Wilson as part of the sting? Did Plame not tell her husband she was using him this way? Or did Wilson just carelessly implicate his wife in the CIA sting by writing about it cavalierly in his book?

I don't think you intended this, but quoting Wilson's casual discussion of a possible CIA punk attempt pretty much undercuts one of clarice's most precious tin foil theories - that the devious Plame and her worthless hubby conspired to prevent a president from forcing war down America's throats.

Cecil Turner

What destinations were included in the "normal and wide distribution"?

Normally, data is distributed to analysts. Who in this case determined Wilson's information generally supported "sought."

So the "senior administration official" says the admin wasn't briefed on "details" of the trip, and the "senior CIA official" says it was.

The SSCI report covers this in fair detail. The bottom line is that the information didn't really change the CIA's viewpoint on Niger uranium. Subsequent actions suggest they were a bit more skeptical, since they warned the British that the claim was "questionable" during the Dossier review in September 2002. Apparently the British response was that they had a good source, and they must have been persuasive, since the NIE then repeated the British claim. Considering the CIA normally reports conclusions to policymakers, it's hard to see why they'd forward a report that doesn't materially change them. And since no record of such a briefing was found . . .

But what Cheney did when he got in office was to tell them (CIA Iraqi skeptics) they were wrong . . .

Sorry, but there's little to no evidence to support this, and several reports flatly contradict it:

Congressional and CIA investigations into the prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons and links to terrorism have found no evidence that CIA analysts colored their judgment because of perceived or actual political pressure from White House officials, according to intelligence officials and congressional officials from both parties.
Moreover, since the intelligence had remained stable for years (and it appears from looking at it that it's mainly based on taking Iraq's admitted stockpiles and subtracting what we knew was destroyed), it's fairly obvious that the main source for the bum scoop was CIA headquarters.

HonestAbe

JayDee,
Source is not Wilson's book (or Wilson or Plame). Link is at bottom of quote.

TM

Which would explain why the CIA, INR and the State Department would know about it.

Well, we knew they knew about it, but it is nice to have somone on record saying thay *talked* about it.

Jeff - I'll admit that several quick glances at the SSCI over the past few weeks have not exactly convinced me you are wrong about Cheney's office not knowing about Wilson's report. But I want to stare at it before I throw in the towel (or the knife).

JayDee

Thanks, Abe, I never take the time to really read the good work of old Sy.

I really can't think of anything more salient in this, or any of the discussions of what led to this asinine Iraq debacle than this:

Kenneth Pollack, a former National Security Council expert on Iraq, whose book “The Threatening Storm” generally supported the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein, told me that what the Bush people did was “dismantle the existing filtering process that for fifty years had been preventing the policymakers from getting bad information. They created stovepipes to get the information they wanted directly to the top leadership. Their position is that the professional bureaucracy is deliberately and maliciously keeping information from them."

Bad government using bad intelligence to create a fake rationale for a bad war. I guess though, since it's only the American poor and working class doing all the bleeding, we can continue to regard the whole discussion as a wit-matching parlor game.

I am so glad we have a guy like Fitzgerald getting to the bottom of what went on here, whatever it was, rather than the choirs of wingnuts and moonbats. This is a conversation the American public desperately needs to be having, and if it takes the sight of Bush's Brain in handcuffs to make it happen, all the better. Richard Cohen could not possibly be more wrong in that execrable op ed today. We can all see the consequences of Intelligence being used as a hockey puck by agenda driven politicos. I can't think of a more serious crime, given the waste and suffering it has unleashed upon innocent people.

clarice

JD--The quote by Honest is from Sy Hersh's Oct 27, 2003 New Yorker piece in which he says ex agents forged those documents. I have no idea whether or not Wilson's trip was connected to the reported forgery by ex-agents (IF it occurred), but I do know that he repeatedly gave details about the forged docs, said he reported the docs were unauthentic, that his report went to the VP who ignored them.

And then when it was pointed out we hadn't those docs until 10 months after his trip and report he backstroked so hard his arms almost fell off because if his first statements were true someone gave him classified docs he wasn't allowed to have seen. And if hadn't seen them when he said he did, he was a liar who had tried to set up the Administration.

There is simply no way out of the trap he put himself in.

clarice

I had a dumb cousin. One day in a bad storm a wonderful raft ended up at the pier of the cottage we were staying in. We had no idea whose it was and my mom stored it until we could find the owner.

A day or so later, someone knocked on our door asking if we'd seen the raft. My cousin was at the door.
"Was it red and yellow with blue seats?" he asked. "Yes, the woman at the door said>"
"Did it have a the name Flyer on the side?" he asked."Yes," said the visitor.
"No," said my cousin, as my mom went to the door to tell the lady we had it.

Wilson is like my cousin. Stupid.

JayDee

I get you, clarice, and believe me, it's difficult. Do I have this straight? The documents were not in US hands prior to Wilson's trip, but the US gov't was aware of them, and had been warned off them. They were the purported rationale for Wilson's trip. Wilson makes the trip, reports that there's no info to back up claims. Then months later, forged documents are circulated and we have the fraudulent SOTU claim made, despite warnings. Wilson speaks to reporters, without being named, claiming gov't shouldn't have used forged docs as source, and had been informed (by him) that claims were unsubstantiated. At this point, the whole affair becomes public, with the op ed and the resultant brouhaha. Wilson then claims he didn't see the actual docs, though by this point he could have. Where did he say he HAD seen them, only that he knew of them before his trip and that they were frauds, speaking as of the date of the interview he was giving.

I know it fits your world view that the evil CIA conspired against the hero president. It fits mine that the administration knowingly manipulated intelligence to get the war they openly craved. But, despite that, it's good discipline to try and assemble the facts dispassionately. So tell me where I'm wrong in the above.

clarice

Go back to the first Pincus and Kristof articles and the SSCI report..Wilson was rather specific about why he thought the docs were forged and what he said about them in his report.

I cannot find a single way for him to weasel out of that, and he tried..Checked out the Daily Howler for how badly his backpedal failed (and Somerby is not a rightie). He is a rare creature on the left :honest and bright IMO.

topsecretk9

Sorry, but did David Corn ever address this? Does someone know of the link?

July 16, 2003- David Corn, A White House Smear
"…The current Bush administration has not been so appreciative of Wilson's more recent efforts. In Niger, he met with past and present government officials and persons involved in the uranium business and concluded that it was "highly doubtful" that Hussein had been able to purchase uranium from that nation.…On June 12, The Washington Post revealed that an unnamed ambassador had traveled to Niger and had reported back that the Niger caper probably never happened. This article revved up the controversy over Bush's claim--which he made in the state of the union speech--that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium in Africa for a nuclear weapons program."
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=823

July 15, 2005- Ambassador Joe Wilson's Letter to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee
"I never claimed to have "debunked" the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. I claimed only that the transaction described in the documents that turned out to be forgeries could not have and did not occur. .…"

I undertook this mission at the request of my government in response to a legitimate concern that Saddam Hussein was attempting to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program.
http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/05/07/con05233.html

topsecretk9

I think the operative in Corn's "highly doubtful" peice was

concluded that it was "highly doubtful" that Hussein had been able to purchase uranium from that nation

and in Wilson subsequent clarification

"I never claimed to have "debunked" the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa

it just confuses me...purchasing vs.seeking?

here are the 16 words...

“The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .”

topsecretk9

oh rats..no more tags...sorry

I spy

How much would I get for a picture of Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame and Matthew Cooper AND Mandy Grunwald, dining together?

Let the bidding begin....

JayDee

Sorry, clarice, can't find them on my limited time, but only have read summaries. It certainly doesn't ring my chimes as some kind of red flag that Wilson's a conspirator. He knew of the wrong dates/signatures by the date of those interviews, and was probably conflating that with the info contained in the docs, which he would have known about prior to the trip. Discredit Wilson as a blowhard and a dissembler if you like. If he was a conspirator, Fitzgerald would be on him, and there's no sign that he is.

What puzzles me though is why the right is so hot about this. Even if this was a little internecine plot to discredit the "duly elected" president, they were discrediting him with a little thing called the truth. Isn't that within the purview of good citizens of a free democracy? Wake up, boys and girls, Saddam wasn't reconstituting a nuclear program. He had no WMDs. He was the weakening figurehead of an unarmed nation, and the arrogant blundering of this incompetent bunch of "duly elected" liars has done nothing but bankrupt our treasury, kill our sons and daughters, hemmorhage our military capability and destabilize a previously chaotic world situation beyond any hope of control. Why are you people coddling these criminals? They've screwed us all.

Florence Schmieg

I like mystery novels as well as the next guy but that's not the real issue here. Even for those on the left who despise Rove, Cheney (hence Libby) and Bush (of course), this is at most a minor crime or a non-crime. Instead, it is suggested that the prosecutor is looking for novel reading of the statutes and maybe some loose conspiracy thing to find something to indict someone on. Please. Take off the partisan blinders. This is a dangerous thing to support. Even a far lefty like Tom Oliphant said on "Hardball" the other night that he is disturbed by this and where is the left not speaking out against it. Today it could be Rove or Libby but tomorrow it could be anyone else. This is unAmerican at its core. Let's hope it doesn't happen.

Cecil Turner

I'll admit that several quick glances at the SSCI over the past few weeks have not exactly convinced me you are wrong about Cheney's office not knowing about Wilson's report.

They might be wrong, but this part (Sec2, p.46) seemed fairly explicit:

Because CIA analysts did not believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue, they did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers. For the same reason, CIA’s briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report, despite the Vice President’s previous questions about the issue.

JayDee

The top levels of our government conspiring to use the press to discredit a critic, using classified information as a convenient chit, and then obstructing and lying to a grand jury about it....That's no longer offensive to the Law and Order Party? Funny, they felt different when they trapped a middle aged married man into lying about a sexual encounter. Now, that was vital to our nation!

Sorry, Florence, none of this has me shaking in my boots about what a special prosecutor might do to little old me. Talk about overblown hyperbole.

dblaiseb

...since it's only the American poor and working class doing all the bleeding...

Cue theme from The Deer Hunter. mau. MAU.
--------------------------
Ever since the United Nations weapons inspectors were shut out of Iraq, a year ago, the world has been left to wonder what Saddam Hussein is up to. Well, now it can be told: he has been secretly trying to transform his desert dictatorship into a world-class center for the treatment of kidney stones.

....

Last year, the Iraqi government ordered half a dozen lithotripters, which are state-of-the-art machines for getting rid of kidney stones. (The word "lithotripter" comes from the Greek for "stone breaker.") A lithotripter uses a shock wave to pulverize these painful objects without surgery. Machines like the ones Iraq bought require a high-precision electronic switch that triggers a powerful burst of electricity. In addition to the lithotripters, Iraq wanted to buy a hundred and twenty extra switches. That is at least a hundred more than the machines would ever need.

....

Iraq's strange hankering for this particular "spare part" becomes less mysterious when one reflects that the switch in question has another use: it can trigger an atomic bomb.

http://www.iraqwatch.org/wmd/lithotripter.html

The above excerpt is from that noted Bushitler propaganda organ, The New Yorker. From the very section where Hertzberg flings his weekly barbs.

Wasn't there some "off the shelf" deal with the Norks detailed in the Duelfer Report as well?

I love the way-back machine.

JayDee

...since it's only the American poor and working class doing all the bleeding...

Cue theme from The Deer Hunter. mau. MAU.

And this could only come from a Republican.

The quickest way to stop all war is to force any politician who supports it to donate one loved one to it. There would never be another one. It's only when they can use other people's kids like kindling that it seems like such an honorable ideal.

And really, since when is The New Yorker a good substitute for a national intelligence service. Are they interchangeable now, or only when it's convenient to make utterly irrelevant points?

Jeff

cecil - Leave aside the fact that you continue to mischaracterize the position of the CIA, and cannot account -- logically, by Occam's razor or reasonably -- for Tenet's July 11 2003 statement. Regarding your post of 12:46 p.m., if you look at the original post of mine to which TM is referring, you'll see that I addressed the passage you cite from the SSCI regarding Cheney. Short version: it is very explicit, but very limited. It says that the CIA's briefer did not brief Cheney. As simple logic will tell you, this does not answer the question: did Cheney or someone in his office learn of the contents of the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip? Indeed, the SSCI does not even answer the question: was Cheney briefed on the contents of the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip, or otherwise on Wilson's trip? We have yet to hear clear denials on that, as far as I know. And as I suggested in my post, Cheney's MTP appearance in Sept. 2003 is very far from such a denial.

pollyusa

Topscretk9

If you use foxfire as your browser, there is a great extention you can add the gives you all the tags in a right click menu.

The extention is called BBCode but has all the html tags as well. All you have to do is highlight what you want and click the tag..bold, links, italics, underline.... blockquote I set up in the allowed customizing function.

Here is the link to BBCode and a screenshot to give you better idea than I can.

Firefox BTW is a great improvement over Internet Explorer IMHO.

Cecil Turner

Leave aside the fact that you continue to mischaracterize . . .

I'm sure you believe you're on the side of truth and light. Allow me my little illusion as well, eh?

As simple logic will tell you, this does not answer the question: did Cheney or someone in his office learn of the contents of the intelligence report based on Wilson's trip?

Simple logic suggests that if "CIA analysts did not believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue," they'd be unlikely to forward a report. What would they say in it? "Nothing new on the Niger front"?

TexasToast

[b]Pretty[/b] [i]slick[/i] [u]PollyUSA[/u]

TexasToast

or not

Jeff

Simple logic suggests that if "CIA analysts did not believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue," they'd be unlikely to forward a report.

Whatever that is, it's not logic, simple or otherwise. (Not saying it's illogical, it's just an interpretive argument that is neither here nor there on the logical question.)

Furthermore, the SSCI doesn't clarify whether all CIA analysts had the response they did. All it tells us is that CIA analysts did. How many? What proportion? All of them? A few? Who can tell from the SSCI report, though no doubt it is intended to be read as all. But then why not just say that? And don't give me this business about attributing nefarious motives. That is not how interpretation starts one way or the other, people have mixed and complex motives, of course. Look at the text to start with.

Appalled Moderate

Humble prediction.

The solution is found in Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.

Accordingly, when Bush issues the inevitable pardons, instead of being rebuked, he will be deemed a hero, and Fitz will end up with a Ken Starr rep.

cathyf
at this point Wilson is now cool with Novak using the CIA source---I am confused
This makes sense if Wilson expected the CIA press officer to wave Novak off of the story. I interpret Hawley's (the press officer's) leaked testimony to mean that this was a massive foulup. He got the heads-up from Plame that Novak's story was coming. When Novak contacted Hawley, he confirmed that Plame was CIA up front, and then tried to convince Novak that the story was wrong, and Plame hadn't had anything to do with the choice of Wilson. If Hawley had known at that point that Plame was classified covert, or indeed had he even suspected it, then he would have known that it was against the law for him to have confirmed that Plame was a CIA employee.

My take is that when Hawley checked Plame's status after his first conversation with Novak, he was wetting his pants when he discovered that he had just "outted" a covert agent. And that in their second conversation they were talking at cross purposes. Hawley couldn't use the usual tactic of saying right at the beginning of any conversations, "You know that if she was a CIA employee I wouldn't be allowed to tell you," which Novak would have known translated as, "Back off; she's covert." Because Hawley never suspected she was covert, he missed that opportunity to warn Novak off in the first conversation. Novak had already moved on to the substantive part of the story, (the part that Hawley wasn't telling the truth about) and was completely missing that Hawley was trying to warn Novak that she was covert without actually telling him that she was covert, because coming out and telling him was against the law.

If my interpretation is correct, the screwup was that when Plame gave the press office the heads up she was not specific about what information they were supposed to be hiding. And so they screwed it up. Joe & Valerie, though, thought it was taken care up at that point.

cathy :-)

Cecil Turner

How many? What proportion? All of them? A few? Who can tell from the SSCI report, though no doubt it is intended to be read as all. But then why not just say that?

Jeff, I'm not sure what your point is here, but it looks a lot like angels dancing on pinheads. Did some analysts disagree? I'd say that's a fairly safe bet. But most organizations try to avoid sending contradictory reports up the chain every other day, so I suspect they had a little powwow, and came up with an "official" story.

A year later the CIA provided copies of the forgeries to the IAEA in order to prove their case. Does that make sense, if they thought Wilson had debunked the Niger claim? Obviously it doesn't. And since Wilson didn't even convince CIA HQ, it would make no sense for them to send a report to policymakers. They say they didn't. The review says they didn't. You have no evidence they did. I can't prove the negative, but suspect it's correct.

paul

"Accordingly, when Bush issues the inevitable pardons",

.... they won't require donations to his library and his brother in law won't have to represent them.

SteveMG

Cecil:
"The SSCI doesn't clarify whether all CIA analysts had the response they did. All it tells us is that CIA analysts did. How many? What proportion? All of them? "

You need to tell us how many analysts, what proportion, how strongly, how they worded it, what their backgrounds were, where they lived, where they went to school, their blood types, whether they liked their Mommy or Daddy more.

Ridiculous, no?

Even if - somehow - you provided that information, it still wouldn't be enough. You'd have to provide still more information and answer still more questions. If every analyst except one agreed, that one exception would be seized upon to weave some theory of Administration deceit.

To ideologues, facts don't matter. Evidence is disregarded.

SMG

cathyf
Wake up, boys and girls, Saddam wasn't reconstituting a nuclear program. He had no WMDs. He was the weakening figurehead of an unarmed nation,
Complete and total nonsense. He had the 4th largest standing army in the world, some of which fought back the invasion fiercely and honorably. He had $20 billion looted out of OFF. The UN was extending sanctions by only 6 months at a time. He owned (or should I say "pwned") France, Germany and Russia. He had already used chemical and biological weapons.

The WMD rationale for regime change in Iraq is quite narrowly focused. The US removed Saddam to prevent him from using WMDs against us and/or our allies. "Prevent" means in the future because you can't prevent something that has already happened. The WMD rationale was not dependent upon Saddam already possessing the WMDs. Lots of countries have nuclear, chemical, and/or biological weapons stockpiles -- we haven't been invading France or Russia. In fact, if Iraq, like North Korea, already had the nuclear weapons it may very well have been too late to invade.

In order to judge the size and immediacy of the threat a country's nuclear programs may pose to us, sure, you have to know legal and policy facts. Like what his behavior wrt WMDs has been in the past. Like how hard would it be to get around limits that the "international community" has placed upon buying the necessary materials. (Although it's hard to imagine it being particularly hard for a guy with $20 billion to buy anything. Not to mention that the guy has the hard-worn experience that comes from stealing the $20 billion from underneath the "international community's" buying limits.)

But the other important piece of information that you need in evaluating a nuclear threat is that you have to have some idea of just how hard it is to build a nuclear weapon. And guess what, you don't learn that in political science and sociology courses. It looks to me like the CIA took some liberal arts graduate who had never taken physics or calculus and put her in a job she was totally unqualified for because she was a covert agent whose cover had been blown by Aldrich Ames. Maybe if the CIA had just pensioned her off and hired some actual physics PhDs (any one of whom could build a crude nuclear weapon himself) for their WMD analysts, they might have understood the level of nuclear threat that Saddam posed.

cathy :-)

Jeff

cecil, you say

A year later the CIA provided copies of the forgeries to the IAEA in order to prove their case. Does that make sense, if they thought Wilson had debunked the Niger claim?

My understanding is that we were obligated to provide that info to the IAEA. I was unfamiliar with the claim that it was done in order to prove their case; I was also under the impression that it took quite a long time to get the forgeries to the IAEA, which seems odd, if it were done to prove their case. Where'd you get that informatio?

cecil says

it would make no sense for them to send a report to policymakers. They say they didn't. The review says they didn't.

Where do they say they didn't, and where does the review say they didn't? Again, all I caught from the review was that the CIA briefer did not brief, in effect, the White House.

As for contrary evidence, aside from the still unclarified statement from Tenet about the distribution of the report,just off the top of my head there is the KR report that TM has been citing the last couple of days, which gets one senior CIA official saying the WH got info on the trip from the CIA. That same official says the CIA's March 2002 warning (which I take to be either the report or based on it) was also sent to the FIA, the Joint Cheifs, the Justice Dept. and the FBI. There are also three senior adminitration officials saying Cheney and some NSC and Pentagon folks ignored the CIA's reservations and for including the allegation about uranium in their case against Saddam. (I think this tracks what is in plan of Attack, I'll have to check.) One senior administration official -- not clear if it is one of these three -- said that the CIA's doubts were well known and widely shared throughout the government before the SOTU. An SAO (who sounds like Powell) also characterizes the CIA position quite differently from the way you do, suggesting the Niger angle was generally discredited but caveated as still possible (note that that's the caveat, not even the claim, on this telling), and then this caveat was itself footnoted by the INR as hardly believable (presumably we're talking about the NIE).

pollyusa

Texas

Let's not forget the annoying
[a href=""][/a]
[Blockquote] [/blockquote]

I was trying to be nice, it really is much faster to highlight to apply tags, especially for links and they are automatically closed.

SteveMG

Cecil:
This is the way the argument goes: If one official anywhere in the Administration had doubts about any report or any intelligence from any source, that proves the White House lied to get us into war.

It doesn't matter whether you can prove historically that most intelligence analysis is an art and not a science. And that reasonable people of good will looking at the same data can come to two (or more) different conclusions.

And that analysts and experts can be found to dispute just about anything, especially something as esoteric and difficult as weapons intelligence reports coming from sources operating in a closed, Stalinist-type regime.

Nope. Just find one person who said something contrary to the Administration's judgements and that's sufficient to build an entire case of deceipt and deception.

You cannot argue with somehow holding such a worldview. Just smile and walk on by.

SMG

TexasToast

polly - no ctiticism intended

Just find one person who said something contrary to the Administration's judgements and that's sufficient to build an entire case of deceipt and deception.


SMG

Ad homonym strawman - combined! :)

There are quite a few people saying things contrary to the administration's judgments - some of them in the administration. Just how many Iraqi brigades are battle ready? One ?

kim

Clarice, you can check out, but you can never leave.

I'm afraid being thrown out still won't count as leaving.
=======================================================

TexasToast

Kim

You are definitely twisted.
Got a Mercedes Benz? ;)

JayDee

cathyf, your arguments are tired, and as I've said a thousand times before, if they amounted to a decent rationale for war, then those are the arguments that should have been presented to the American people.

He had the 4th largest standing army in the world? Yeah, I've heard that one repeated like a mantra. Can you please point me to the documentation that this was true on the date we invaded? Use of chemical and biological weapons? Predating the invasion by a decade or more, no? So the US rationale for invading countries now is that we look for two bit dictators who hate the US and would like to develop WMD programs. My how US foreign policy has evolved under Republican rule.

The US Army exists to protect and defend these United States. If we are going to expand that mission to include political nation building and utopianism I think the American people should have that case made to them in the open. Let's have a referendum Do you favor using our armed forces and our national treasury to seek out evil dictators and depose them, for the purposes of think tank experiments in socio-political engineering? Seems to me THAT would be democracy in action. Didn't occur to the bushies, nor their remaining zealots.

Instead we had a fake case presented to us like an ad campaign, knowing that the true rationale - unprovoked preemptive war - would NEVER have been supported by the people. In this the PNAC elitists thought they knew best, so what's a little intellgence manipulation between "equal" citizens? However, being cowards, all it took was a little annoying kvetching by Wilson, in an op ed that would likely have been forgotten, for them to bring out the big guns - personal attacks and abuse of press relationships. Oh and a little leakage of classified information, which in their eltist opinion, didn't deserve to be classified anyway. What's a little matter of the LAW between nation buildiers?

This administration could have simply denied Wilson's claims, and behaved like lawful citizens. IF they believed Wilson's wife had acted improperly, they could have investigated her actions in the appropriate manner. There is no excuse for their behavior, nor for their subsequent lawlessness before the grand jury. That conservatives can't stop themselves from defending these criminals and looking for loopholes and legal trapdoors is just one more sideshow on the remaking of the Republican party. Into what I'm not sure, but it goes somehow hand in hand with their newfound love for big government, pork barrel spending, international adventurism and cronyism.

kim

TT: You've misconstrued the 'battle ready' business. One is in the 'Most' prepared category. The number which have gone from unready to the 2nd and 3rd most ready category has increased tremendously in the last year.

And look on the ground. No, not in MSM. Iraqi forces are now doing the bulk of the direct engagements, and the US forces are doing the perimeters. It is not over by a long shot, but the Iraqis are assuming the role of the armed forces of a sovereign nation. You should rejoice.

Read Wretchard.
============================================

kim

TT:

My frenz all have Benzes,
I depends on old engines.

JD: Duelfer and Rossett make the case that Saddam was dangerous enough to take out. Remember, too, pre-war, the fear was more that Saddam would supply terrorists rather than directly constituting a military threat against us. Even Joe Wilson thought he had chemical and biological WMD. See his 2/6/03 op-ed in the LATimes.

And again: If Bush had not taken out Saddam, how would you?
============================================

Cecil Turner

As for contrary evidence, aside from the still unclarified statement from Tenet about the distribution of the report . . .

The "contrary evidence" is practically verbatim from the SSIC. Tenet said: "it was given a normal and wide distribution." The SSIC said:

DO officials also said they alerted WINPAC analysts when the report was being disseminated because they knew the “high priority of the issue.” The report was widely distributed in routine channels. [emphasis added]
They're clearly talking about distributing information to analysts, and then go on to describe how the analysts treated the data.

Where do they say they didn't, and where does the review say they didn't?

Tenet: "we did not brief it to the President, Vice-President or other senior Adminitration officials." That part of the SSCI is in intelspeak, but that's what this bit means:

they did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers.
It's also the only logical interpretation of this conclusion:
Conclusion 14-The Central Intelligence Agency should have told the Vice President and other senior policymakers that it had sent someone to Niger to Iook into the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal and should have briefed the Vice President on the former---ambassador’s findings. [emphasis added]

JayDee

kim, I guess you're right. There's absolutely no way on earth to get rid of unpopular dictators, running bankrupt, powerless, unarmed nations, than to go in, blow the whole thing to smithereens and remake it from the ground up. Especially when they pose absolutely NO imminent threat to our own national security. THAT's intelligent design in action I suppose. Maybe you bushies are right after all.

kim

JD, you have incompletely absorbed the meaning of the Duelfer Report and Claudia Rossett's reporting.

My own plan was to drop a couple of hundred thousand cell phones into Baghdad and let them talk to each other through AWACS or something like that. I believe our government sent in 80 and everyone found with one disappeared as well as their extended families.

And again, what would you do if Saddam had not been removed?
===============================
=============================

SteveMG

TexasToast:
"Ad homonym strawman - combined! :)"

It's a twofer. Saves us all time; instead of writing/reading two separate posts, I combined them (although I'm not sure what an ad homonym is; ad hominem? or a play on words from you?).

Anyway, you're not arguing that there aren't people on your side of the aisle (hell, some on my side as well) who will not accept any report or examination of pre-war intelligence that clears the W.H. of deceit or deception?

I mean, goodness, we've had post-after-post-after-post citing the Butler Report or the SCSI report or the Silberman/Robb report and each time the response is to reject those studies or to demand that we somehow provide more information (like we have the ability to provide classified intelligence).

I don't doubt that there are voices in the Administration making different "judgments" on policies or statements or facts as they see them.

But stating that people have different "judgments" is quite a bit different than saying that the W.H. engaged in deliberate deceit and deception with pre-war intelligence in order to ratchet up support for the conflict.

Because, I'm sorry, that requires a higher standard of proof than anyone posting here had met.

SMG

TexasToast

SMG

We didn't get the promised second part of the Intelligence Committee Report - and we probably never will - so we really can't say that the administration was "cleared", now can we? Of course there are folks who lead with their preconceptions - but Jeff doesn't seem to be one of them.

PS I've got to stop being so darned punny.

SteveMG

TexasToast:
"So we really can't say that the administration was "cleared""

Agreed, if you insist, but I'm bewildered as to how the W.H. can prove a negative - i.e., not fixing intelligence - especially in something as complicated as this matter.

We'll never be able to see the classified intelligence and even if we could I certainly don't have the skills to make sense of it. For the most part, then, we'll have to rely on others to examine things. And as far as I can tell, those "others" have found no evidence of Administration deception.

I could be wrong. They could be wrong. But how are we to tell?

As to our friend Jeff, I'm at a loss as to what it would taken for him to acknowledge that the W.H. has been "cleared" on ANY charges made. His demands seem neverending and impossible to meet.

Look, there's enough "there there" that if someone is predisposed to disliking the Administration and thinking the worst about them, you can find material to support that view.

But accusing people of deliberately falsifying events in order to start a war is about as serious an accusation one can make. And it requires a pretty damned high burden of proof to be met.

And I just don't see it.

SMG

SteveMG

"PS I've got to stop being so darned punny."

You're the William Safire-esque wordsmith of this blog, then?

That's either a complement or a real cheap shot, depending on where one sits.

Now there's an ad homonym for you.

SMG

Jeff

SMG says

As to our friend Jeff, I'm at a loss as to what it would taken for him to acknowledge that the W.H. has been "cleared" on ANY charges made. His demands seem neverending and impossible to meet.

Untrue, straightforwardness would do the trick quite well. On the issue I've been hammering on here, here is a very simple thing that would clear the VP's office: A clear, categorical statement that the VP's office knew nothing of Wilson's trip until, say, March or even May 2003, when Wilson starts showing up prominently in the press. I'm sorry, we have gotten no such thing that I have seen -- nothing from the VP himself, nothing from the SSCI, nothing from George Tenet. And there is some data to suggest the contrary (which I genuinely would like to see cecil address).

Since you, SMG, appear to me to have a strong (too strong for my taste) tendency to defer to authorities in place of exercising your own judgment, I'll just quote from the supreme authority in these parts, in his upthread response to my hammering:

Jeff - I'll admit that several quick glances at the SSCI over the past few weeks have not exactly convinced me you are wrong about Cheney's office not knowing about Wilson's report. But I want to stare at it before I throw in the towel (or the knife).

And, SMG, as for this --

But accusing people of deliberately falsifying events in order to start a war is about as serious an accusation one can make. And it requires a pretty damned high burden of proof to be met. --

indeed.

TexasToast

OT

SMG

I'll take it as an undeserved complement ( I love puns, but they can get in the way of good writing).

Safire one wrote a column in the Sunday magazine analyzing with obvious delight and admiration a letter received by the Times from Stephen Sondheim criticizing one of Safire's columns. One of the best pieces of writing I have ever had the pleasure to read.

MeTooThen

JayDee,

You are a troll.

There, I said it.

Really.

And no, no matter what rejoinder you offer, I will not respond.

There, I said that, too.

I mean, come on man, grow up.

Or something.

...

Whatever.

/rant off

kim

My guess is that emptywheel and TM will independently dream up the solution over the weekend, and post it within minutes of each other on Monday morning.
=============================================

mtl

Since Tenet asked for the Special Counsel to look into who leaked Plame's name, would it be fair to say that he would also request that the special prosecutor find out who was leaking selected classified tidbits from the CIA?

If I'm Tenet, I want to know who is giving Joe Wilson his info and I'm livid that classifed info is being leaked selectively, to undercut the overall findings within the CIA. When dispositive calssifed info was being dropped out there, he was in no position to start leaking classifed info that made the case.

I suspect that he knew Plame's identity, but could not take direct action, once Joe was using the info she provided as it would look even more like a cover-up. His parting gift to the Wilsons?

"Mr. Fitzgerald, when you are looking into this Plame name leaking, can you let us know if she and her husband were leaking classified materials to the press? It's been a problem, and we'd really like to know who is doing it."

Espionage act, anyone?

The crux of the argument is that Tenet could ask the Special Prosecutor to look into anything...and he was not happy with Plame or Wilson.

kim

And I still have deep uncertainty as to the extent of Val's complicity in or victimization by her husbands craziness.
==============================================

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