Saturday, July 10, 2004


I spoke of this yesterday:

Figures the Agency would be splattered with all the shit when it hit the fan. Now you know why Tenet retired a month or so ago. He knew he'd be the one taking it in the ass and he wasn't going to give President I Didn't Do It the satisfaction or the political capital of firing him. Now, ain't NOBODY gonna pay for the failures before 9/11 or Iraq. The civilians in the Administration aren't going anywhere, not if President Suck Up wants to keep his base. Fucking asshole.

Today from WaPo:

By Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, July 10, 2004; Page A01

Yesterday's report by the Senate intelligence committee left in shreds two of the Bush administration's main rationales for the war in Iraq: that Iraq had illicit weapons and that it cooperated with al Qaeda.

[. . .]

The larger question is whether voters will blame the White House for these two massive mistakes. Though officially agnostic on the White House role in using Iraq intelligence (that will come in a later report), the committee gives ammunition both to Bush and Democratic opponent John F. Kerry.

[. . .]

On the issue of Iraq's relationship with al Qaeda, however, the committee's findings imply that the White House, not the CIA, is to blame for making dubious claims that there were working ties between Osama bin Laden's organization and Hussein's Iraq. "The Central Intelligence Agency reasonably assessed that there were likely several instances of contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda throughout the 1990s, but that these contacts did not add up to an established formal relationship," the committee found, echoing the Sept. 11 commission staff's finding of no "collaborative relationship" between the two.

[. . .]

The undermining of the administration's case for war is potentially a grave threat to Bush, whose reelection prospects are closely tied to Americans' view of the merits of the Iraq war and whether it advances the fight against terrorism. For that reason, Bush has delayed a final reckoning on Iraq's forbidden weapons by naming a commission that will not report its findings until after the election. In the meantime, he continues to assert ties between al Qaeda and Iraq, and to place blame for any weapons miscalculation squarely on the CIA

[. . .]

Bush's distancing of himself from the flawed allegations may well be aided by the departure this week of CIA director George J. Tenet, who was criticized in the Senate report for not always being informed about dissenting views when he met almost daily with Bush.

Democrats, in turn, are determined not to let Bush avoid blame. Even before the report came out, Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) sent out a press release saying the administration asserted Iraq-al Qaeda collaboration that the CIA doubted. Yesterday, the Kerry campaign issued a statement saying: "Nothing in this report absolves the White House of its responsibility for mishandling of the country's intelligence. The fact is that when it comes to national security, the buck stops at the White House, not anywhere else." [my emphasis]

[. . .]

[D-W.Va. Sen J.D.]Rockefeller continued to assert yesterday there was administration "pressure" on the CIA, although he endorsed the bipartisan committee report stating otherwise. The report, while stating that no intelligence analysts said they felt pressured to change their conclusions, found "tremendous pressure" to avoid missing a potential threat. That made the CIA "purposefully aggressive," as the agency described it, in drawing potential links between Iraq and al Qaeda.

[. . .]

Even yesterday, after the committee report, Bush said Hussein's Iraq provided a safe haven for an "al Qaeda affiliate." Bush has previously described Hussein as "an ally of al Qaeda" and asserted that Iraq "provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training."

Cheney last month said: "There clearly was a relationship. It's been testified to; the evidence is overwhelming."

Cheney's office yesterday pointed to the committee's findings that the CIA was rightly concerned about "reports of training" in chemical and biological weapons and was reasonable to believe "al Qaeda or associated operatives" were in Iraq. A spokesman said the committee findings are consistent with administration claims.

After cutting through all the bullshit, the blame rests squarely on the White House and the trained morons in Congress who let them get away with so much. Motherfuckers.

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