Looking Back at the Leak

To review: Back in 2003, Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA agent as part of an attempt from within the Bush administration to discredit Joe Wilson's New York Times op-ed challenging the legitimacy of part of the case for the Iraq war. In the op-ed, Wilson disputed the infamous"16 words" in Bush's State of the Union address.

Nevermind that those 16 words -- "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" -- could have been defended by the administration out in the open, using actual facts. Instead, the identity of Wilson's wife was leaked to a small group of journalists, one of whom, Robert Novak, published it in his nationally-syndicated column.

Now we have one indictment, top presidential adviser Karl Rove still under investigation (Debaters: should he resign?) and the conversation has finally come full circle. After two years -- and 2,000 soldiers killed -- focus has returned to the rationale behind the war.

Such discourse should be welcomed, but it is important to keep that separate from the charges against Libby. Fitzgerald himself has stated that "this indictment's not about the propriety of the war."

If it's not about the war, then, is it just another step in the "criminalization of politics," as many on the right claim? Debater robcrawford makes this point: "Politics is already criminalized. It started with the attack on Clinton by the right, and now that the right has fallen to the same tactics, it has become a 'principle' that is violated."

I don't know that the Fitzgerald prosecution could be termed "same tactics." Even if this were all just a bunch of political maneuvering, the tactics could not be the same because under the GOP-controlled Congress, the independent counsel law was allowed to expire.

In this case, there was evidence (in the form of a newspaper column) that a CIA employee, whose identity as such was classified, had been outed by a government official. Some say that since it was leaked as part of a political maneuver, well, that's just politics and that's just how it is. (What do you think of that, Debaters?)

Undoubtedly there are many instances in which leaking classified information is necessary for the public good. In most of those instances, the press and the government won't see eye to eye. But to release the identity of a CIA employee whose job is sensitive enough for it to be classified, knowing no societal benefit will result is, if not a crime, certainly exceptionally dirty politics.

And that's why we have the fine art of distraction. The leak overshadowed the original question -- whether the Bush administration misled the country into war -- and then when there was an indictment in the leak case, the Alito nomination distracted from that. Then the Democrats pulled a stunt to bring attention back to the Iraq claims ... but we'll talk about that more later, as we shift gears from capital ethics to a fresh Debate topic.

By Emily Messner |  November 3, 2005; 10:15 AM ET  | Category:  Beltway Perspectives
Previous: The Race to Spin Alito | Next: Low in the Polls: Are the Ethics Scandals to Blame?


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Thank you for reminding us that the leak overshadowed the original question - whether the Bush administration misled the country into war. The "nuclear question" itself was part of the "growing threat" sales pitch. I recall that we had previously had a war against Iraq, which did not go terribly well for them. Saddam Hussein may have been stupid, and even insane, but the idea that he was a threat to the U.S. was always laughable, and the press should have done a better job pointing that out. At least five different administration officials went on the sunday morning talk shows to trumpet the "aluminum tubes", etc. and almost nobody asked the question: "Why in the world would Saddam Hussein guarantee his own destruction by an act of belligerence against a nation that has previously trounced him?" People who have power generally act in ways that will maintain or increase their power, not in ways that will guarantee their downfall. Bringing a religous extremist like Bin Laden into the discussion has no bearing on the actions of Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: jim preston | November 3, 2005 10:55 AM

Emily, I have always believed that in this case, the "crime" was really less important than the circumstances surrounding it. Whether the leaking of Vlaerie Plame's name was substantially damaging to her or not, the fact that top officials within the most powerful office on the face of this earth were willing to engage in such activity is to me, quite frankly "Nixonian" in its underlying nefariousness.

And, contrary to everyone else, I believe the really guilty parties here are Bush and Cheney. Guilty not maybe of actual crimes. But guilty of far worse. Of sullying the office of the Presidency in a far worse way than Clinton ever did. Clinton sullied himself more than the offce or the American people. Bush and Cheney have sullied us: the American people. And they have done it in far worse ways than simply this dirty leak business.

They have painted us as torturers, as a lawless people who cavalierly thumb our noses at international rules of law. They have painted us as arrogant bullies who have no "decent respect for the opinions of mankind". And they have painted us as a government based not on electoral fairness but on deceit, trickery and secretiveness.

It will take America generations to crawl out of the fetid, stinking hole that the Bush-Cheney administration has put us in.

Posted by: jaxas | November 3, 2005 10:57 AM

What I have learned about politics by watching this situation is that ultimately, the victor (R vs D) will be decided based on who sucessfully frames the debate. If the Dems are able to frame this to the American public that this is about the Iraq War/WMD's/Bush's WH, they will win. If the GOP is able to frame this to the American public that this is about minor charges about someone with a bad memory, they will win. Unfortunately, most people hear want they want to hear regardless of political party. At the end, this will be decided by all the people "in the middle" and how they frame the debate. Once the debate is framed, in whatever fashion, the answers will be easy.

Posted by: SBHerring | November 3, 2005 11:13 AM

The "leak" was essential to the story. We had Joe Wilson's claim that he was sent by the Vice President's office to follow up on the British Intelligence report about Saddam purchasing Uranium in Africa. According to Joe Wilson, when he came back and debunked that report, he was ignored by the White House.

Now any reporter worth his/her salt would want to ask the question, "Who is Joe Wilson and why was he sent by Dick Cheney?" Those 2 questions are vital to even the most lame attempt at fact checking Mr. Wilson's claims. The fact that only a "small group of journalists" were even interested in that question raises serious questions about the integrity of the many news outlets. The fact that only Robert Novak published it, speaks even more volume about the lack of journalistic curiosity that was apparent.

The fact (yes it is a fact, as established by the bi-partisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) that Joe Wilson was NOT selected by the Vice President's office, as he claimed, but BECAUSE his wife worked for the CIA, is crucial to understanding.

I mean, WHY, if Dick Cheney was intent on fudging the intelligence on Iraq, would he hand-pick a known partisan, democratic operative to fact check intelligence that Dick Cheney intended to fudge, anyway? It makes no sense whatsoever.

And I would like to respond to this: "But to release the identity of a CIA employee whose job is sensitive enough for it to be classified, knowing no societal benefit will result is, if not a crime, certainly exceptionally dirty politics."

No Societal benefit? Providing the truth to the American people about who Joe Wilson is and the truth about his lies is not a societal benefit? An independent panel was set up to investigate Joe Wilson's claims and found them all to be false. You don't think the American people needed to know the truth right before a presidential election?

And what societal benefit resulted from the Washington Post's recent disclosure of our secret detention facilities where he hold the most dangerous terror suspects in the world?

The left in this country is so far removed from reality it's not even amusing anymore - it's just down right dangerous.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 11:15 AM

This is really a comment on a comment. Whether the leak of Ms. Plame's identity and occupation has had or will have a serious effect upon her life is patently an unkown since her past covert activities are unkown to the general public and will, more tnan likely, remain so. Last night's episode of E-Ring had the Dennis Hopper character explaining to a journalist the potentials for harm in outing a covert agent. It provides food for thought.

Posted by: dave sanders | November 3, 2005 11:20 AM

To defend torture and illegal imprisonment is disgusting. American are supposed to be the good guys not dispicable torturers who hide untried enemies in ex-Soviet prisons - we've taken the Gulag and made it our own. Bush and his cronies are succeeding in linking the once honorable condition of being an American to being something dirty, dishonest, and down right embarassing. Give me Clinton who shamed himself rather than our "leaders" who shame all of us. And the Democrats are no better, they whine, they moan, and offer nothing. A pox on all thier houses - Republican and Democratic alike.

Posted by: Maddisen Canfield | November 3, 2005 11:27 AM

Dave, I think you are right for the most part. However, it has been a long established principle in our society that the Government should not be able to hide incompetence behind classified documents and other forms of secrecy. The fact that an important intelligence mission was doled out on the basis of plain, stupid nepotism should not be hidden from the public. The CIA can and should take steps to protect Ms. Plame if her identification could bring her harm. But if it was such a concern in the first place than 1.) she shouldn't have brought her blabber mouth husband to work, and 2.)Her blabber mouth husband should have known that his little publicity stunt would eventually lead to the unmasking of her identity.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 11:30 AM

Why no liberal hand wringing over Sandy Berger stealing and destroying classified docs? I would think that with all the concern and earnest faces, the issue of keeping top secret things top secret would be at the top of the list for cute babes wearing stylish eye adornment.

Guess not.

Le tme tell ya something Emily of the Clueless, Karl Rove has NOTHING to worry about...

Posted by: benrand | November 3, 2005 11:33 AM

Bill Clinton's administration outsourced the torture of terror suspects to countries like Saudi Arabia and Yemen. And he blew up a pharmaceutical factory and killed a janitor in Sudan based on the evidence "clandestine soil" samples obtained by the CIA.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 11:33 AM

Well give the girl a break, she was just trying to be funny, people don't usually research their funny.
This might sound naive but it seems that the abortion issue is more technical than moral. Any reasonable person would be against it, if they thought a fertilized egg was a person (distinguishing that from "life", everything is alive... fingernails, hair, sperm); if they thought it was not, then abortion seems reasonable. The argument to me is entirely technical (it's obviously morally wrong to kill a person for convenience) and could be possibly solved thru the scientific method.
I have not yet decided to support/oppose the candidate.

Posted by: John S (democrat) | November 3, 2005 11:37 AM

Anyway, if you want to debate WMDs in Iraq you should read this here:

Most of Saddam's clandestine WMD programs were found in Iraq by the Iraq Survey Group. However, what was not found were large military stockpiles. However, he had the ability to restart his chemical and biological weapons programs as soon as the sanctions were to be lifted.

...And if Bush lied, he wasn't the first:
"We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and the security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction." -- Madeleine Albright, February 1st, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again as he has ten times since 1983." -- Sandy Berger, Clinton national security advisor, February 18th, 1998

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16th, 1998

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, September 23rd, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of '98. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons." -- Robert Byrd (D-WV) October 3rd, 2002.

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock. His missile delivery capability, his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists including Al-Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." -- Senator Hillary Clinton, October 10th of 2002

Did all these people lie, too? The UN inspectors reported that Saddam never accounted for and destroyed known, declared stocks of chemical and biological weapons. This was not "made up" by the Bush White House. This is a fact that was published by the great and wonderful United Nations.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 11:43 AM

You talk about being far removed from reality, i think that describes you very well. Everything you have pointed out is basically false. Let me explain

1. Joe Wilson never said he was sent by Dick Cheney. He said he was sent at the behest of the CIA concerning a question the VP's office had about WMD. You can watch the movie Bush's Brain, where he says that. But obviously you and your fellow Bush lovers didnt pay complete attention to his quote. You turned it around for your benefit.

2. We sold Iraq those same WMD's that Berger is talking about. Or do you not remember IRAN-Contra. Yeah that big affair
that Ronald Reagan was involved with. And you remember Watergate dont you? Another Republican scandal.

Bottom line is when you start loving this country as much as you do your political party, maybe you will realize that we face real problems, that need to be fixed regardless of their party. Because your boy Dubya just aint cutting it.

Posted by: Rodney Harrington | November 3, 2005 11:51 AM

Joe Wilson did NOT claim that Cheney's office sent him. He said he was sent in response to a serious question to the CIA from the Vice President's office. This is true. Cheney wanted the CIA to substantiate the (forged) documents claiming a purchase of yellowcake by Iraq from Niger. Wilson had gone on a similar mission three years prior and by virtue of his contacts and knowledge, there's no reason to assume he was incompetent to conduct the mission. WHO sent Wilson is irrelevant. It is what he DID NOT FIND and what the White House did with forged evidence that is at issue. There was NO REASON to out Valerie Plame other than sheer vindictiveness...want to hurt the man, go after his wife. What a neanderthal operation. And if it put her covert operations at risk, her contacts, her sources, any agents she might have been running to keep WMD out of the hands of potential enemies? Well, who cares about that? Certainly not Rove, not Libby, not Cheney. And if revealing her employer as a CIA front company outted any other agents using the same cover, thereby endangering THEIR people and missions? Well, who cares? The whole point is that Joe Wilson contradicted and criticized the White House, and THAT threat was far more important than any piddly old national security risks. How pathetic that such low behavior can simply be shrugged off as "politics".

Posted by: Cheryl H | November 3, 2005 11:53 AM

I think it's super that Scooter is going to go to trial. I hope the process will reveal to the American people the workings of the WHIG.

I am also interested in learning more about the documents that Cheney and Libby withheld from the Senate.


Posted by: Carl | November 3, 2005 11:59 AM

I find Joe Wilson to be vain myself, but the bottom line is he is doing what any man should and that is to defend thier wife. Especailly since she has lost a 20 year career because White House officials decided to lie. The bottom line is Joe Wilson didnt lie. Because if he did then we would have found WMD.

Posted by: Rodney Harrington | November 3, 2005 12:00 PM

That the President of the United State was not the only liar would be an effective smokescreen if you were only debating the issue with a democrat; that need not be the case.

That Clinton's security advisor, and a bunch of democratic Senators or ex-politicos, also participated in the lie is an indictment of them. It is certainly not an exoneration of the President.

Because the President is, well, the President, the buck stops with him. The answer to your irritably simple question, Did all these people lie too, is yes! An unambiguous, unequivocable yes!

The President is and should be held to a higher standard than the rest of the nation, particularly regarding Iraq because the finishing touches were made, ultimately, but his administration.

If you want a revisionist defense of democratic senators who failed their party and their nation you won't get it from me. If you think that means Bush is blame-free in this affair, you aren't excercising reason.

What we know is that the current administration made a case for war that turned out to be incorrect. Irregardless of how you justify that war today, you cannot ignore or forget the aformentioned fact. There are only two possible conclusions one can take from that: Either the administration made false claims about weapons of mass destruction intentionally or unintentionally. The best case scenario is that they were grossly incompetent, the worst case scenario is that they were purposefully deceitful. Pick a talking point.

Posted by: Will | November 3, 2005 12:00 PM

Is this like the Idiot period on this comment section from Mike Magner to John S - Mike Magner claims are usual all outright lies direct from the RNC talking points. OUTRIGHT LIES just like Bush's case for the War. I mean you have to be some kind of STUPID after all we now know to suggest that Rove and Libby were trying to correct to record with journalists. Even if all the stupid lies were true and Valerie Plame was just begging to be outed for the benefit of the public - it is still a crime. Having a sign on your back that says shoot me does not make it legal for someone to take the first shot. I would not even attempt to address Magner's delusions.

Posted by: | November 3, 2005 12:03 PM

Mike, stop making stuff up:
1. Wilson never said the VP's office sent him; Read his NYT op-ed that started this, or his book, or even the Novak column-- he said the CIA sent him in response to inquiries made to the CIA by the VP's office. The Libby indictment shows that to be true.
2. "doled out on the basis of plain, stupid nepotism": Ms. Plame suggested her husband for the mission (and why not: he had been charge d'affaires in Iraq, ambassador to 3 African countries, and served in the US embassy in Niger-- so arguably uniquely qualified to look into dealings between Iraq and Niger), but again, as the Libby indictment finds, the CIA was reacting to inquiries from the VP's office. Ms. Plame didn't have authority to send her husband, only to recommend it to higher-ups.
3. "known partisan, democratic operative": not when any of this happened in 2002-03, he wasn't. He advanced through the foreign service during the Reagan years; had been appointed charge in Baghdad by GHW Bush, who cited him as a hero in '91; and was "known" to have contributed to candidates of both parties (including GW Bush in 2000).
4. "An independent panel was set up to investigate Joe Wilson's claims and found them all to be false." "All"? Read it; it found none to be false; it did find that he may have exaggerated about the definitiveness of his conclusions.
5. "so far removed from reality"-- whose reality? Yours? You're just making up your own as you go along. "Stupid"? Look in the mirror.

Posted by: Jim | November 3, 2005 12:04 PM

Cheryl M,

"WHO sent Wilson is irrelevant." It is if you want to examine the background and character of a supposed Whisteblower. His connection to the intelligence matter was important.

"It is what he DID NOT FIND and what the White House did with forged evidence that is at issue."

A Bi-Partisan Senate Committee on Intelligence investigated the "evidence" that Joe Wilson brought back from Niger and found that rather than disputing the Uranium from Niger claim, Wilson's report seemed to support it. What forged evidence are you referring to? The supposedly forged documents that Joe Wilson claimed to have seen, he never actually saw. He admitted as such later on.

Anway, the claim by the President in his speech was that Iraq had TRIED to purchase uranium and failed. So What? That's not why we went to war. We went to war because "Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, September 23rd, 2002

Anyway, we did find uranium in Iraq:
1.77 Metric Tons of it to be precise.

"2. We sold Iraq those same WMD's that Berger is talking about. Or do you not remember IRAN-Contra."
Iran and Iraq are not the same country. Anyway, we sold conventional weapons to Iran. However, we were responsible for arming Saddam in the early 1980s when he was fighting Iran for us. That was a mistake but the 11 years of sanctions after the gulf war I were supposed to disarm Saddam.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 12:09 PM

Please once again your facts to add up. Iran-Contra was we were selling weapons to both Iran and Iraq. And we sold them to them right after they had taken our citizens hostage. But the main point is no uranium was ever found. Why doesnt the death of over 2000 soldiers bother you as much as this Plame case? Did you go to some Rove lead seminar this weekend. And where are some congresional investigations into the war? Hell the Republicans started all kinds of investigations in the 8 years Clinton was in office and none of those were as bad as misleading a country into war.

Posted by: Rodney Harrington | November 3, 2005 12:14 PM

Everyone appears to have missed the real reason Valery Wilson was "outted".

After the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) had efficiently and effectively disarmed Iraq years before and said so, who better, indeed, than an anti-proliferation intelligence operative under deep cover to properly gauge the real WMD threats? It was precisely her CIA network that was behind the several (many?) reports of CIA disagreement with the neocons' case for war against Iraq during the lead up to the war.

Just as UN weapons inspectors couldn't be allowed to do their job before Cheney/Rumsfeld invaded, Valery Plame AND HER NETWORK had to be neutralized.

It was all part of the cover-up Bush certainly knew about and continues to pursue. The ideological case for war against Iraq was laid out by Cheney/Wolfowitz/Rumsfeld et al long before Bush sought to tie Saddam to 9/11. WMD was simply the excuse, convenient because easily understood by likely voters (and a Republican sweep in the 2004 elections was precisely Bush/Rove's objective), but inconvenient at the same time because the hard intelligence was against it and the intelligence community was restless. Identifying her as a CIA operative served Bush/Cheney/Rove's purposes. More than just a way to punish Joseph Wilson, it also served to shutdown Valery Plame's network and thereby signal the intelligence community that it was not safe to challenge the Bush administration, especially with facts.

Others in the intelligence community have been bullied by the Bush administration before and after the dirty trick played on Valerie Plame AND HER NETWORK in order to keep hidden the Bush cabal's lies.

That is the conspiracy and cover-up one can only hope special prosecutor U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald is pursuing.

Posted by: prodigal | November 3, 2005 12:20 PM

Mr Willson didnt lie about being sent to Africa by the vice president. He steaded that the vice president ask the CIA to look into the matter and the CIA call upon him because of his experence and knowledge of the country in which he was Embasador of at one time .Then he was portrayed as being a democratic but he voted for Bush in 2000. But the issue should someone be leaking information about CIA offical during war time when this administration keeps us in fear of terorists. I thought that would be consider as treason. The republicans keep spinning that Libby is innocent till proven guilty but in a time with the patriot act when you can call your neighbor a terorist and have them remove with out proving them guilty is kind of hypocritical dont you think.

Posted by: Larry | November 3, 2005 12:37 PM

The good news is that we only have 3 more years of these guys. I hope we can hold it together until they leave the White House. Their collective judgment is very poor and most times dangerous.

Posted by: Charles | November 3, 2005 12:47 PM

The single most serious thing a President can do is lead our nation into war. When that happens, I expect two things: (1) the President tells us the real reason for the war, and (2) the President is right! The second element is just as important as the first.

In the lead up to the Iraqi war, I was uncomfortable. I felt I was being given a variety of "options" to choose from. That failed the first element, even though the President later told us that the real reason was the existence of WMDs when various polls indicated that reason resonated with the voters.

We now know there were no WMDs, thereby failing the second element. There is no other person on earth that has better information than the President. I simply do not accept the excuse he didn't know any better. When he leads us into war, he needs to be right, no excuses need be given for being wrong.

Now the reason has shifted again. We needed to "liberate" Iraq from Saddam Hussein. Ok, Hussein is and was an evil man. How many citizens would have supported the war from the outset if they were told that the true reason for war was the removal of Hussein, and the cost would be hundreds of billions of dollars, the loss of more than 2,000 American lives, and thousands of maimed and disabled American soldiers?

While I did not serve in Viet Nam, I was in the Army during that period and saw (personally and up close) the consequences of war. It seems to me that the people who are most likely to rush to war or think that war is glorious are those who (1) never saw war, and (2) never saw the consequences of war. Their only information about what war is really like comes from the movies and action comic books. That's about as pathetic as it gets when they send our young American patriots into an ill-advised, ill-conceived, and ill-planned war.

Posted by: Frank Slagle | November 3, 2005 12:53 PM

This is all truly politics. Mrs Wilson injected herself into this when she conspired with her husband and the CIA to discredit the administration. The administration was defrending itself and its agenda (right or wrong).

Libby deserves what he gets, he made this bed.

Posted by: Chris Healy | November 3, 2005 12:53 PM

Kook fringe - please define the Bush "lie." Saying it over and over, even with the assistance of your media comrades, does not make it true. Oh, and if Bush were such a "liar" and knew that WMD were no longer in Iraq (or do you now pretend they were never even there?)...why didn't he just plant them?

Your party should try to actually stand for something rather than ginning up the core kooks with conspiracy talk. You stand for nothing, have not had a good idea since civil rights, and act like the person at work we all dislike. Time to get over the 2000 election and, well, move on. The public may agree with certain criticisms you bring forth, but when they look more closely they see complaints, name calling and bluster...but never a forward-looking solution. That's why you lose elections.

So, please, define the Bush "lie." That ought to be good.

I'm also interested in reading your calls for an investigation into the leaking of classified national security info regarding the CIA prisons around the world. Or does that not fit with your agenda?

Posted by: Define the Bush "lie" | November 3, 2005 12:59 PM

Before the CIA leak scandal, if you said the word "propaganda", the first adjective that came to my mind was "Soviet". Now it's "White House".
Most of the real substance of administration decisions has been deliberately hidden or skewed by spin.
There is no doubt in my mind that there was, and continues to be, a concerted effort to manage and distort information. Some will say it's good politics; I'd say it's poor statesmanship.
White House operatives have crossed the line to "unethical" on the build up to the war and on defense of the decision to go to war.
They have done so because they arrogantly started with a pre-determined position and promoted facts, and some fiction, which supported that position. They did not look at all realistic information and draw conclusions from it.
White House operatives are skilled politicians who were able to take their country to war because they did not trust the American people with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Posted by: Cee | November 3, 2005 01:14 PM

It is not clear that Libby outed Ms. Plame and that Fitzgerald knows he did so and didn't charge him with violating 1982. Hence, Libby didn't need to lie about it.

Posted by: | November 3, 2005 01:27 PM

From Rodney Harrington:
"But the main point is no uranium was ever found."
First, the President never claimed that Saddam had uranium, he claimed that Saddam TRIED to purchase uranium and failed.
Second, yes it was found:

"Why doesnt the death of over 2000 soldiers bother you as much as this Plame case?"
These are 2 separate issues. The deaths of my fellow soldiers is a very sad thing to me. I have had a brother and a brother-in-law that have been to Iraq. Several members of my reserve unit are currently serving over there. And I could be called up at any time. This is not a trivial matter to me. However, I recognize that Iraq is a central front in the War on Terror and the possibility that Iraq could be left in the hands of Al Zarqawi and his fellow members of Al Quaeda is not acceptable to me. I support our troops and don't denegrate them by accusing them of torture and calling them "boys" who've been "sent off to die" for a lie or for oil. To say these things is extremely insulting.

"Did you go to some Rove lead seminar this weekend."
No. I must have missed. I spent the weekend with my wife and kids.

"And where are some congresional investigations into the war?"

There were two. There was the Silbermann-Robb commission - an independent, non-partisan commission of former Senators - that looked at intelligence collection in general, including but not limited to, the intelligence leading up to the War in Iraq. They examined whether the intelligence was gathered appropriately and whether it was misused by the White House in trying to "sell the war".
Here is the report right here.

"We conclude that the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. This was a major
intelligence failure. Its principal causes were the Intelligence Community's inability to collect good information about Iraq's WMD programs, serious errors in analyzing what information it could gather, and a failure to make clear just how much of its analysis was based on assumptions, rather than good evidence. On a matter of this importance, we simply cannot afford failures of this magnitude."

"After a thorough review, the Commission found no indication that the Intelligence
Community distorted the evidence regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. What
the intelligence professionals told you about Saddam Hussein's programs was what they believed. They were simply wrong."
There was also the Senate Select Intelligence Committee investigation which I listed previously.

And a third investigation if you count the investigation into the CIA leak case.

3 investigations, and still no evidence that Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq.

Posted by: | November 3, 2005 01:32 PM

If a military strike was deemed necessary to remove Sadam Husein from power, we have the capability to do that without dropping bombs like so much confetti on countless neighborhoods in hopes of blowing up a "bad guy".

This gross action made US citizens indiscriminate killers and maimers of thousands of women and children. Our gain (whatever it was) was not worth the price of either the two thousand young men that have perished in this oil game, nor the ireconcilable anguish of blowing up women and children that never did us harm.

Posted by: Frank Murdock | November 3, 2005 01:32 PM

Mike Magner's comment repeats the contention that Cheney sent Wilson somewhere. This is not true and as such invalidates all else in his comment. If you start with a falsehood, you can't and most likely won't reach a worthwhile conclusion unless you debunk your own contentions. Since 1969 every Republican administration has commited felonies and the compounded them with coverups. GHW Bush solved his problems by providing pardons to those who could have hurt him and possibly destroyed the Republican Party. GW Bush will do the same before he leaves office. He has no choice. Republicans can't govern without criminals in their administrations.

Posted by: kal palnicki | November 3, 2005 01:35 PM


And we dems have a perfectly spotless legal record. . .

Posted by: chris | November 3, 2005 01:47 PM

The real reason that Plame was named (and that was really the point, rather than "outed") was to discredit Joe Wilson's report, not in retribution to ruin her career. Joe Wilson was an out of work, ineffectual and incompetant former dilpomat, whose wife was in a position to get him some work to make him feel useful and important. She suggested he could go check things out, which he did. The administration did pay any attention to his report, because there was no reason to think his "investigation" would provide a reliable conclusion. Wilson wrote his op-ed piece because he was angry that his conclusions were not accepted, and the vice-presidents office responded by providing information meant to illustrate that there was no reason to trust his information and that the only reason he was sent in the first place was a result of nepotism and pity. That doesn't affect whether or not Libby lied or whether it was crime to name Plame, but the motive is certainly different than most of the press is assuming.

Posted by: anon | November 3, 2005 02:01 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Scooter is accused of the same crime Clinton committed. Fairness dictates that we rescind Scoot's license to practice law in Arkansas.

Posted by: John | November 3, 2005 02:03 PM

So much smoke being blown. So much gorilla dust.

The Vulcans were looking to invade Iraq from Day One of the Bush II administration.

9/11 gave them the excuse they needed & they pulled out the maps of Iraq on 9/12. They thought Iraq had "better targets" than Afghanistan.

They then proceeded to "fix the facts and the intelligence around the policy" and "rolled out" the war on a PR/political timetable, i.e. not in August but in the run-up to the midterm elections that followed 9/11 by just over a year--while all Americans were still nervous, edgy and paranoid about terrorists coming to attack the Wal-Mart near you.

This was a pre-emptive war on a political timetable, with stove-piped intelligence from an agent named "Curveball" fed, without qualifications, to the Senate and to the American people.

Shameful, despicable, and to my mind much more of a "high crime and misdemeanor" than lying about a blow job.

Posted by: Cal Gal | November 3, 2005 02:08 PM

"However, I recognize that Iraq is a central front in the War on Terror and the possibility that Iraq could be left in the hands of Al Zarqawi and his fellow members of Al Quaeda is not acceptable to me."

Iraq is a central front on the war on terror today because we made it so. Saddam had no WMD and was not involved in Sept 11 as was suggested by our President. I am amazed at the hypocrisy of the far right.

Posted by: Kris | November 3, 2005 02:09 PM

Mike is certainly one of those "35%" who still support Bush.

If he was caught with Condi in the Oval Office on the Executive Desk, Mike will STILL defend him.

These people ARE the reason this admin has failed us.

Posted by: BULLA | November 3, 2005 02:11 PM

Once again you twisted the facts. Bottom line is we were not attacked by Iraq. They were no threat to us anymore that Castro, who by the way is only 90 miles away and has been a ruthless cold blooded dictator for over 40 year. He had about as much to do with 9/11 as Iraq. Im glad you and your brothers are serving our country. But it is folks like us who speak out against the war so that you do not have to fight for a cause that turns out to be lies. We speak out not becuase of some party ideology but because we dont want you to go to war. And if you have to, make damn sure we are attacking the proper people. My uncle was killed in Vietnam, and if someone then would have spoken louder maybe he wouldnt have died. We the American people were lied to, and lied to hard. Even to this day Cheney thinks Iraq had something to do with 9/11.

Posted by: Rodney Harrington | November 3, 2005 02:12 PM

Come on ANON.. do you know Joe Wilson? or do you always parrot what you hear from from the right? Wilson wasn't paid for his service. So whether or not he was unemployed is not relevant. BTW his conclusions were supported by two other individals send to look into the matter. They were ignored by the administration because they did not support the cause for war.

Posted by: Kris | November 3, 2005 02:19 PM


His employment status is relevant--he didn't go for the money (he doesn't need it) but people don't like feeling useless. And I didn't say anything about his conclusions being right or wrong (apparently they were right) but rather that he had no expertise and there was no reason to take his report seriously, which it wasn't. The administration perhaps should have known that Africa claims were bogus, but not bc Joe Wilson said so. And he did write his piece because his feelings were hurt that he was not taken seriously.

Posted by: anon | November 3, 2005 02:30 PM

ANON, I am assuming you mean he had no expertise in WMD and you are correct. However, yellow cake is the mined material and a background in WMD is not what was required. His experience and contacts with the country in question as well as his background with Iraq were the qualifications necessary. We're not talking about secretly shipping a weapon out of country, were talking about moving tons of unprocessed ore and large amount of cash...

You know it's ok to have an honest disagreement on policy, but what bothers me most about the administration is the personal attacks used to marginalize their opponents. Your comments about Wilson are in the same vain. You write as if you know for certain that his motives for writing his oped piece were because "his feelings were hurt that he was not taken seriously" Do you know Joe Wilson? I hope that you are always judged by what you do, not by what someone else says you did.

Posted by: Kris | November 3, 2005 02:51 PM

I had thought others had adequately posted as the validity of the whole Wilson Plame thing previously. Yet I see the same line being repeated by Anon and Mike yet again.

THe difficulty with their arguments aren't the 'facts'. As presented their 'facts' are correct. It is their analysis.

1. Unemployment indicates ineffectiveness and incompetence. Wilson was a former Abassador. The tippy top within a particular country. DOes that speak of incompetence. Moreover, if unemployment equtates to incompetence, I urge you to watch your step around the AARP.

2. Nepotism explains Wilson's going off to Nigeria. Valerie recommended Wilson, but did not have the authority to authorize the trip. So someone else sent Joe. Unless the authorizing officials are relatives of Joe, nepotism is dead in the water.

3. Pity? do you have the autorization documents? Have you interviewed those involved in sending Mr. Wilson? No. They are still state secrets and the individuals involved unknown. So the pity 'argument' is an interpretation built on a solid foundation of nothing. Your mentors should pity your poor logical constructions.

4. Wilson's report wasn't taken seriously. Yet his conclusion that Iraqis had met with Nigerian officials over trade linkages was taken by the administration, and Nigerian officials, as evidence of an active Iraqi nuclear program (the Nigerians believed the trade linkages were intended to facilitate future uranium purchases). So the administration chose to take seriously some of Joe's conclusions, but not others (the others being those that proved correct).

5. Intelligence was gathered 'correctly'. It was, in so far as we are speaking of the CIA, FBI, and NSA. Each agency followed specific gathering and reporting protocols. The OSP did not. The OSP, for instance, mined Wilson's report for the Nigerian trade linkages, but left the rest sitting in the breeze. The OSP came up with the infamous aluminum tubes theory (a theory so ludicrous that Powell at first refused to put it into his speach to the UN). The boxcar manufacturies that turned out to be for filling balloons (which British companies sold to Saddam with government approval)? OSP. The OSP is the purported intelligence agency believed to have 'fixed' and 'sexed up' the intelligence for the Iraq war (curiously, both of these terms derrive from the British press discussing the Italian documents).

The OSP has NOT been investigated as have the CIA and NSA. Feith has stonewalled and hired a bevy of lawyers, and the Republican have so far made little progress since this summer. Or have you all missed the reason for that closed session? Oh yeah, one of the primary analysts at the OSP has been implicated in espionoge by passing classified documents to Israel. Caught on tape in fact. By the FBI. He has plead guilty.

Posted by: chris | November 3, 2005 03:03 PM

Note how comfortable with their passivity and complicity in the Iraq War sham has the Washington Post gotten these days.

Messner: "Then the Democrats pulled a stunt to bring attention back to the Iraq claims".

Now - two and a half years into this war that was based on so many exaggerated and cherry-picked claims - the minority party is trying its damnedest to HOLD THE PARTY IN POWER TO THEIR PRE-ELECTION PROMISE of the Phase II investigation into all this, and it is brushed off as a "stunt"? No wonder the Post is becoming more and more irrelevant by the month to readers.

Back in June - before the Niger/Plame thing got back in the headlines, 57% of the public believed that the administration *deliberately* deceived us on the way into Iraq. The Post still thinks the whole thing is a joke. RIP, mainstream media. You used to serve the public, but no more. We're sick of you.

Posted by: Mark | November 3, 2005 03:13 PM

it's hard for me to understand how we as americans, irrespective of our party affiliation, are not disturbed by the events and circumstances surrounding this.where is the outrage,when there's obviously ethical lapses involved at the very least.republican/democrat or independent should put this administration liable for what is happening in our country.do we expect anything less especially from a president who ran supposedly to change the(bad) image of the white house ? i hope not! cause if this is the change they were promising it turned out to be worst. not only the credibility of the office(white house)is in question,but the image of the american people,represented by this president, as a whole to the world had deteriorated. this certainly demand a deep thought from all of us if we really care as americans,on top of all our party affiliations or political inclinations.

Posted by: gino | November 3, 2005 03:14 PM

No matter what Fitz said, it is ALL about the war. Why else the cover-up? Get real, Ms. Messner.

Posted by: JD | November 3, 2005 03:29 PM

Lets not forget PNAC. That is the cabal to which Cheney, Rumsfield, Feith, Wolfowitz, Khalilzad, Perle, Bolton, ect. belong to. PNAC is why we went to Iraq. Go to their web site and read their own words.

Posted by: Mark W. | November 3, 2005 03:46 PM

Can we (even Mike) agree on one thing-- that it was wrong to leak the classified identity of a CIA agent to the press? We can disagree on Wilson's motives and even his competence; but the Administration could easily have laughed off his op-ed and other charges by saying it was an oral report, not thorough, not credible, etc. But outing his wife indicates something more vengeful, and seems to me to move into the realm of unethical (if not criminal) and abuse of their access to such classified information.

Posted by: jim | November 3, 2005 03:48 PM

I'd hate to think what you'd have to do in the Bush White House to be considered a "slam dunk" for being fired.

But I'm sure it would have to involve a barnyard animal

New on EWM: Kevin Bacon to play Libby in upcoming "Six Degrees of Scooter"

...It's 'Dumb and Dumber' meets 'All the President's Men...'


Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | November 3, 2005 04:26 PM

"Can we (even Mike) agree on one thing-- that it was wrong to leak the classified identity of a CIA agent to the press?"
No. Rather it WOULD be wrong if her identity WAS, in fact, classified. However, Mr. Fitzgerald investigated this allegation in great detail and found that there was no evidence that law was broken in Ms. Plame's disclosure. I agree - in principle - that disclosure of classified secrets is a bad thing. However, the American people deserve to know the truth. Besides, as I said, her outing was inevitable once Joe Wilson went public with his claims. The media was bound to discover his connection with the CIA - namely, his wife - eventually. Whether they heard from the White House or not.

Again, in my opinion, I don't think the intent was to hurt Valerie Plame and destroy her career. I believe the intent was simply to set the record straight. The only personal attack that I see is Joe Wilson's Op-Ed piece (and follow on book) that included some very serious allegations that have been proven - by 2 independent investigations - to be unsubstantiated.

Do I think "leaks" are bad, in general? Yes and no. Unfortunately, it is how the game of politics in Washington is played. Bill Clinton played it and the Republicans cried foul. The shoes on the other foot. Live with it.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 04:27 PM

"Since 1969 every Republican administration has commited felonies and the compounded them with coverups. GHW Bush solved his problems by providing pardons to those who could have hurt him and possibly destroyed the Republican Party. GW Bush will do the same before he leaves office. He has no choice. Republicans can't govern without criminals in their administrations."

2 words for you: Mark Rich

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 04:29 PM

Mike: As you probably know, her identity WAS classified. Read the indictment. It evidently wasn't prosecutable because it couldn't be proven that Libby and Official A KNEW she was a covert operative.

So "disclosure of classified secrets is a bad thing" except "American people deserve to know the truth." Gee, that's useful. (PS: Ken Starr holds the all-time record for leaks).

Posted by: jim | November 3, 2005 04:42 PM

"Iraq is a central front on the war on terror today because we made it so. Saddam had no WMD and was not involved in Sept 11 as was suggested by our President."

Well, you're right - Saddam wasn't bad guy. Let's give him his country back.

But seriously, Iraq is the central front for the war on terror because it is a foothold for democracy in the Middle East. The terrorists cannot afford to let muslims govern themselves or their hateful ideology will die. That is why they are throwing everything they have at Iraq.

To be honest, I don't think the intention was for Iraq to be the central front. The expectation was that Saddam's fall would not brink a lick of sympathy from the rest of the Islamic world. And for the most part we were right. What was not expected was that there would be so many outsiders (from neighboring countries) who would be so warped as to commit suicide-bombings against fellow arabs just to stop them from having democracy. If someone had told me in 2002 that this was going to happen I wouldn't believe it.

In the short term, this is a bad turn of events because it means that the reconstruction is a lot more difficult and the war is far more costly than we thought it would be.

In the long run, however, I believe that success in Iraq will be a major setback for Al Qaida. They know this. That is why they fight so hard to stop it. But if we back away, we will allow them to use Iraq as a staging area for more attacks on the US and other western targets. Furthermore, our failure will embolden other countries who sponsor terror to continue their support and even to arm them with WMDs.

But my main problem with you liberals is that you blame the President for not knowing in 2002 what we know for fact today. The information that was available in 2002 indicated that Saddam had WMDs and he had close contact with known terrorists. The State Department had Iraq on its list of terror-sponsoring nations long before Bush took office. And Al Quaida are not the only terrorists in the world.

You guys take what we know today (or at least what you think we know today), distort it and then blame Bush for not knowing 3 years ago. Go back and look at the debate on Capitol Hill in the pre-war days of late 2002. Both Democrats and Republicans had access to the same intelligence reports and they reached the conclusions I listed above. If "Bush lied", then everyone lied. Personally, I don't think anyone lied - they were just given bad intelligence.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 04:47 PM

Come on people, there is no story here. Don't let the Libs fool you, Rove and Company ain't going anywhere.

Posted by: Eeek! Liberals! | November 3, 2005 04:48 PM

Re: Mike Magner:

"What was not expected was that there would be so many outsiders (from neighboring countries) who would be so warped as to commit suicide-bombings against fellow arabs just to stop them from having democracy. If someone had told me in 2002 that this was going to happen I wouldn't believe it."

In September of this year the Center for Strategic and International Studies placed the amount of foreign combatants in Iraq at 4 to 10 percent. Do you question the validity of this study, and if not, do you have a comment on it?

Posted by: Will | November 3, 2005 05:28 PM

My hat's off to you, Mike. It's good to see a deluded, world-conquering neocon putting his money where his mouth is and actually going to war instead of sending someone else to do his dirty work. I'd like to see all the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz children over there getting shot at and carbombed instead of the non-silver spoon crowd the U.S. military likes to target for recruitment. What do you think about the Bush cabal's efforts to slash VA benefits? Better hope you don't get wounded over there, unless you happen to be a pampered rich boy like our president.

Posted by: GhostBMC | November 3, 2005 05:35 PM

But Mike,

We did know. Go back and read the postings, papers, books, and histories of a litany of Iraqi, Middle East, security, and political experts throughout the world indicating that Iraq did not have:

1. links to al-Qaida beyond, say, ordinary Iraqi's running off to Afghanistan.
2. A nuclear weapon.
3. A nuclear development program.
4. The ability to strike the U.S.

Or that the U.S. did not have:

1. the troop capacity to institute security.
2. An actual post-war plan.

The 'truth' was out there. No one was listening. Not the Post, not the neo-cons, not the majority of the democrats, not the media, not even the majority of the American public. No, the 'crazies' that believed these 'ridiculous' stories pandered about by Ritter and 'Marxist' academia were a minority.

This minority believed in a ridiculous myth; a myth that also turned out to be correct.

Bush had differential intelligence reports. CIA documents listed a range of possibilities from 'no weapons program' to 'bombs in three years'. The reports indicated a high probablility that weapons programs continued, but not a certainty. OSP reports, those reports that recieved the most coverage by this Administration, made no such balanced appraisals.

OSP reports were dubious from the start and disproven before the war. This presents a special connudrum for this adminstration. Is it lying to state that everyone likes french fries, when you have surveys right in front of you that indicate that only 75% actually like French Fries and 25% actually eat them?

Is it lying to indicate that aluminum tubes are for centrifuges when the majority of the intelligence agencies in the world, plus the CIA believe they are for rockets? Is it lying to indicate that trucks and trains for filling artillery observation balloons are actually chemical weapons facilities even when the British government has handed you the procurment documents (from British companies) indicating their real use? Is it lying to indicate al-Ansar camps as evidence of linkage between Saddam and al-Qaida when these camps are in regions controlled by Kurds and surrounded by Pershmerga? Regions in which Saddam is prohibited from sending military or security apparatus?

Posted by: chris | November 3, 2005 06:18 PM

Will wrote:
"In September of this year the Center for Strategic and International Studies placed the amount of foreign combatants in Iraq at 4 to 10 percent. Do you question the validity of this study, and if not, do you have a comment on it?"

I do not question the validity. It is true that in terms of the overall percentage of "insurgents" the vast majority are Sunni Iraqis. However, the foreigners are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the deaths - particularly of innocent civilians. That is because the Sunni "insurgents" mainly attack U.S. convoys with roadside bombs and kill about 1-2 soldiers a day, on average. The foreign terrorists are responsible for the majority of the suicide bombings, especially the ones that targeted the UN building, mosques, and public and religous gatherings.

Also, according to my Brother-in-law who operated around Tikrit for about 9 months (his job was arresting Baathists and other insurgent leaders), many of the "attacks" that are counted by the AP are little hit and run attacks that do little, if any of the damage. Some of the attacks that are included in these types of accounts are kids throwing rocks.

So, no I don't disagree with the assessment that the foreign terrorists only make up 4-10 percent of the total population. However, I think there is a difference between "insurgents" who resist the "occupation" and the terrorists who purposefully kill innocent Iraqis.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 06:19 PM

"My hat's off to you, Mike. It's good to see a deluded, world-conquering neocon putting his money where his mouth is and actually going to war instead of sending someone else to do his dirty work."

Thanks! Just trying to do my part to make the world a better place. :)

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 06:24 PM

Okay. One more and that's it.
Chris wrote;
"We did know. Go back and read the postings, papers, books, and histories of a litany of Iraqi, Middle East, security, and political experts throughout the world indicating that Iraq did not have:
1. links to al-Qaida beyond, say, ordinary Iraqi's running off to Afghanistan.
2. A nuclear weapon.
3. A nuclear development program.
4. The ability to strike the U.S."

Let's see.
Number 1: We also knew that Iraq was a State Sponsor of terrorism according to the State Department's annual reports going back a decade or so.
Number 2: Nobody thought Iraq had a nuke. At least I didn't. However, if we waited till he had one it would have been too late.
Number 3: We knew that he was interested in getting one. We knew, for example, that he had deals with North Korea to transfer missle systems - Saddam even made payment on it!
Number 4: Nobody thought that he would strike the U.S. directly. However, there was a fear that he would secretly give his WMDs to terrorists and allow them to attack us instead.

Lastly, if we allowed Saddam to get away with violating UN sanctions we would have made the statement to all other terror-sponsoring, WMD-acquiring thuggish regimes out there that this sort of behavior is going to go unchallenged. Part of what led us to war was that Saddam thought we would back down like we always did during the Clinton years.

Anyway, nice chatting with you all. But that's the last one.


Posted by: | November 3, 2005 06:32 PM

The FactCheck.org reference is a year old and no longer up to their usual standards - today we know a lot more about the forgeries, like they were indeed the info used to tip the Brits and the US, and the US had them in posession and knew them to be forgeries almost 4 months before the 16 words.

But the biggest problem with the FactCheck is that it fails to deal with the extent to which the true words "saddam sought" uranium were used to mislead us, as in mushroom clouds were imminent. If you kid told you they were going to a friends party and the friend's parents would be home, and you later found out the party was in a hotel room while the parents were exactly where he said they'd be - at home, would you say the teen lied to you? Of course. But the Fact Check article only says the facts were true - Saddam sought uranium (the parents were home). But the truth was that the US knew Saddam hadn't gotten any. That made the "sought" stuff a lie.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 3, 2005 07:06 PM

Perhaps I'm missing something?

I see 3 issues:

1) Senior members of the Bush II administration either lied about what they knew to sell Congress and the American people a war or they didn't -- the fall out as it affected Wilson/Plame is secondary.

2) If Senior member of the Bush II administration did in fact lie, then one or more of them either did or did not act illegally to cover up their lies

3) And most importantly George W. Bush either knew or did not know what his administration was doing in regards to creating support for this war.

My take (worth what you are paying for it) is that it has been repeatedly shown that the administration only presented information advancing their views and routinely ignored information that discredited their views. If this is not lieing it is at least intellectually dishonest... It is hard to understand anybody supporting the view that President Bush's administration didn't know the truth about Al Queda/Iraq (no connection), 9-11/Iraq (no connection), WMD/Iraq (nothing), and on and on and on. If they knew the truth, then they lied. If they didn't, then they were incompetent. You'll see blame pointed at the CIA (they work for the Administration making that a circular argument), you'll see blame pointed at President Clinton (that gets old and it is dishonest -- unless you credit President Clinton with all the good things that happen under Bush II as well.) Whatever happened to the concept of "The Buck Stops Here?"

We now have an indictment showing that at least Mr. Fitzgerald and a Grand Jury believe a senior administration offical lied in an attept to cover up actions taken by the administration. A court of law will need to determine the facts, but it seems clear that the administration did not bend over backwards to help the investigation. I have to wonder why not -- where there is smoke, there is usually fire: if the activities they were apparently covering up weren't illegal or dishonest, why cover them up?

So we reach the final question, one that only President Bush can answer: Did President Bush know or have reason to know that his administration was misleading the American people in an effort to create a war climate to justify an attack on Iraq? I'd like to believe not, but until there is actual cooperation from the Administration with honest investigation (bi-partisan, non-political) into the decision making surrounding the war, nobody outside the administration will ever know... ...until the tell all books are published in 10-20 years.

I know the President doesn't care what one guy in Colorado thinks and will never read this, but if he did I'd tell him that the only way to secure a positive place for himself in US history is the present what he has done and why honestly. If he really feels it was the right thing to do, tell us. If he felt he needed to mislead, lie, or distort the facts presented to the country to get approval to fight a war he felt we needed to fight, say so and say why. Not doing so is dishonest and cowardly...and that will be his long term legacy.

If he told the truth all along, then he should help us find out where, between Joe Wilson saying "no uranium from Niger" and George Bush saying "uranium for WMD from Niger" the message got distorted...you'd think it would keep him up nights.

Posted by: Bob (In Denver) | November 3, 2005 07:06 PM

Should the fact of Wilson's trip to Niger itself been classified? (afterall it was the CIA that sent him.) Wilson openly discussed this trip in the press. You could probably find the name of Valerie Plame being married to Joe Wilson in the state marital records.

Posted by: Tom in Washington, DC | November 3, 2005 09:09 PM

Mike Magner, you must secretly work in the WHIG. You're an expert in spinning hte true, true and unrelated.

As duly debunked, Wilson never said he was asked to go by the VP, and he was a loyal servant to Reagan and George I, even called a hero by him, not a partisan hack. Get a clue, it doesn't work anymore except among the ignorant.

But the real story here isn't Plame, its the yellowcake forgeries, which just keep popping up like a bad penny. We now know that both the Brits and the CIA were "tipped" to the story that Saddam bought 500 tons of yellowcake (need 10 tons to make 1 bomb), but that a faction of the CIA and DIA and other agencies doubted the story. The "smoking gun" documents "proving" the sale were sent to the US (State and CIA)on October 9, 2002 and were immediately known to be forgeries. Answer this - it there was any hint they could pass for real don't you think they would have been leaked to the press like the "aluminum tube" story? When we saw how bad the forgeriers were we hid them, and if you read the Butler report we "forgot" to tell our friends the Brits that the 500 tons story didn't measure up anymore.

So what's the Bush lie? Wilson's report of his trip alone was just one opinion. But it turns out 3 (THREE) people investiged the sale story in Niger (General Fulford, Ambassador Owens-Kirkpatrick and Wilson), and NONE believed the story to be true. The best that could be spun from the effort was to confirm that Saddam may have sent a trade delegation to Niger in 1999, but that the PM didn't meet with them - which got spun into "Saddam sought uranium". By itself probably more spin than lie - like when your kid tells you his math grade went "way up", when it went from a C- to a C.

But that "spin" was used to create a false impression. First of all, why did Bush say "British" sources? Because too many in the CIA could have leaked the story about the forgeries - but a CIA agent couldn't claim to know exactly what the Brits knew, so Bush was safe. Then since we failed to tell the Brits of the forgeries, the Brits indeed called Bush's words "well founded" according to what THEY knew at the time - read the Butler report for yourself. Convenient to withhold intel from you allies, then use their outdated knowledge to spin a story, no? Finally came the great mislead - the fact that Saddam sent a trade delegation to Niger in 1999 even while 3 (THREE) goverment officials believed it not credible that he got uranium and the returned weapons inspectors found nothing of real threat and the original source of the threat was known by OUR governmnent to be forged but withheld from our allies - got turned into a story that Saddam sought uranium and the next attack might be mushroom clouds.

You say that's not a lie? Saddam sought uranium, that's the truth, you say. OK. Next time your kid says he's going to a party and the parents will be home, then you find out the party was in a hotel room but the parents were indeed home and not at the party, let me hear you explain to your kid whether the true statement he told you was used to make a lie that he would be at a parentally supervised party.

Grow up and get a clue. True words used to paint a false picture make a lie.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 3, 2005 09:26 PM

"Lastly, if we allowed Saddam to get away with violating UN sanctions we would have made the statement to all other terror-sponsoring, WMD-acquiring thuggish regimes out there that this sort of behavior is going to go unchallenged."

Well, now that Mike has realized he can't blow smoke at us he wants to have a genuine debate on the facts. Too bad our President wasn't willing to have a genuine debate on the facts. Two and a half years later we might have either made a real, honest case and gone in with the world behind us, enough international troops and made something good there, or we would have achieved making enough bluster to get the inspectors back in and got Saddam's attention, and put him back in his box until a better solution presented itself while we used the capital we earned from reboxing Saddam into making damn sure Iran and North Korea were contained so Saddam couldn't get the weapons. I know plenty of servicemen from Afghanistan - we pulled out troops out of there for Iraq and only left enough to control the cities and even that is crumbling - they tell me things are going to come down around our ears there sometime soon.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 3, 2005 09:41 PM

Oh, and while I'm on a rant, Mike, allow me to finish.

Why were the French so much againt us? Because they manage the African uranium mine for the IAEA. When they first heard the yellowcake story THEY sent people to make sure it wasn't true. Then when we kept peddling the story they knew to be a lie they pushed back. So we had great fun dumping cases of french wine and renaming freedom fries, but no where were the American people ever made aware of how the French were in a position to know we were spinning a story that wasn't true to justify an invasion? France has a large Muslim population and were onboard in Afghanistan - they have a stake in this outcome. Maybe if we'd had HONEST debate with France this might have had a different outcome.

I am pissed at the implications of the way this administration "misled" aka LIED to us!

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 3, 2005 09:47 PM

'This is all truly politics. Mrs Wilson injected herself into this when she conspired with her husband and the CIA to discredit the administration. The administration was defrending itself and its agenda (right or wrong).'

If this is truly politics, it is like the politics that led to the burning of the Reichstag and then blaming the communists. Better look up the way fascist states work Chris. This is not what American politics is supposed to be.

Using only "politics", Germany went from an elected democracy to a dictator appointed to power by the German equivalent of Congress in one year, mostly by fearmongering and lies. Go read about the sequence of events behind that and then tell me the way we were misled into getting into Iraq, supporting the Patriot Act, not screaming bloody murder while Congress is busy passing Court Stripping Legislation (legislation that forbids the Supreme court from ruling on it) and the virulent way this administation destroy its enemies is just "politics".

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 3, 2005 10:13 PM

Let us please cook this down to the reality of the situation.
1. Bush wanted to go to war with iraq.
2. they had to sell it to congress and the American public
3. They used conservative and liberal reporters to promote their war efforts
4.If you got in their ideological way you were toast... shenseki, wilson et al.
5. Ideology and politicos have no business in fighting wars.
6. The smart people that advised Bush 41 about Iraq were 100% correct.
7. The neocons that advised W were wrong. - ideology never trumps reality.
8. Outing Plame was a major hit on National Security - when you out a "NOC" you compromise all their contacts all their cultivated persons (read spies) and all their realtionships. Any party to an outing is the most insidious of traitors. Ask Bush 41.
All this other fecal material is just that "Shit"

Posted by: Duane | November 3, 2005 10:47 PM

This really seems to be a sticking point for you guys:
"As duly debunked, Wilson never said he was asked to go by the VP"

Okay, I may have made a technical error on this one. Maybe he didn't claim that he was sent by Dick Cheney. But he DID claim that his wife had nothing to do with him being sent on the mission. Then a Senate Intelligence Committee investigating his claims found that Wilson "was specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly."

So we know that at least one of his public statements was found out to be false. In other words, he's a known liar. I might have screwed up and gotten his lies confused, but the basic point I was making still holds.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 3, 2005 11:05 PM

Yo Patriot

A great society should possess great minds!!!!

Posted by: duane | November 3, 2005 11:14 PM

Black is white. I have lied.

Does that mean that any indications I provide that black is black and white is white should be viewed with skepticism? Or is black indeed black, regardless of my first statement?

And anyway, as numerous posters have noted, including myself, the CIA, not Wilson's wife, sent him. Else I should recommend myself President and voila, it would happen!


Posted by: chris | November 4, 2005 03:27 AM


Congrats on going through each of my points and failing to disprove any of them. Thanks! Since oils and canvas appear beyond you, I recommend a wall and some good crayons. . .

Patriot, in the true spirit of patriotism run amok, you have managed to burn your allies along with your enemies. Thanks! (dripping sarcasm). Did you work for the Kerry campaign?

Posted by: Chris | November 4, 2005 03:44 AM

What justified Clinton's Balkan Wars? What American interest was involved? Milosoveic wasn't as bad a bad guy as Saddam. What justified Clinton's bombings of Iraq? What justified Clinton's "Iraq Liberation Act?" Democrat morons have the answer & it is that since CALIGULA Clinton was a Democrat he could do anything he wanted.

Posted by: Rationale for War | November 4, 2005 06:57 AM

Mike Magner is right.

Perhaps those of you who think, "Bush lied, 2000 died" would never read the Weekly Standard. If you are an open-minded, tolerant person I suggest you check out the following article:

Stephen Hayes has documented the Wilson "misstatements". Even if you don't agree that Wilson has made "misstatements", if you are anti-war or anti-Bush, you need to know what the other side is saying and why they are saying it.
Then, maybe we can have some real dialogue and not just assertions, wild accusations and name-calling that make up most Leftward discussion of the War in Iraq.

Someting's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.(For what it's worth) Wilson either lied repeatedly or he cannot recall what actually happened. (Same for Scooter)

Bush did not lie. The reasons we are in Iraq are many and not only related to WMD.
Bill Clinton said, "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
Feb 17, 1998 and here's the source:

Let's turn down the heat and the hate and turn up a little tolerance and understanding. Don't we all love America too much to be incessantly ripping half of our fellow citizens? Don't be hatin', be participatin'.

Love to all,

Posted by: Salt | November 4, 2005 07:22 AM

One more thing:

All of you who do not support the war, but support our troops please consider:

Investigate the run-up to the war after our troops are no longer in harm's way.

1) We are already there.
2) It is important to all that we stay until Iraq has a stable domestic situation.
3) Undermining why we're there has a de-moralizing effect on our troops.

The only reason to investigate now is the November 2006 Congressional election.

Do you really support the troops or just the Democrat party?

Love to all.

Posted by: Salt | November 4, 2005 07:33 AM

One more "one more thing":

When Wilson returned from Niger. He did not have to give a written report (since he was not a CIA agent). He gave an oral report. The CIA issued a written report based on his trip in March 2002.

The Senate Intelligence Committee reports that the CIA believed that Wilson supported their position (that Iraq had attempted a purchase) while the State Dept Intelligence believed that Wilson supported their position (that Iraq had not). (Conclusion 13 on page 73)

The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that, "The Central Intelligence Agency should have told the Vice President and other senior policymakers that it had sent someone to Niger to look into the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal and should have briefed the Vice President on the former ambassador's findings." (Conclusion 14, Page 74)

So, Cheney said, in effect, "Who is this guy and why did the CIA send him of all people?"

In all the discussions around Washington with government officials and reporters it became apparent that his wife worked at the CIA.

I have never seen any evidence to suggest "retaliation" or "trying to destroy" anyone as the anti-Bush story line has become.

Love to all.

Posted by: Salt | November 4, 2005 08:21 AM

Amen, Salt!

What this whole CIA leak investigation represents to the Democrats is a chance to reinvent themselves as anti-war. In October of 2002, Congressional Democrats looked at the poll numbers and decided that they needed to appear hawkish enough if they wanted to win the election. So they WILLFULLY jumped on the "Iraq has WMDs" bandwagon.

Personally, I supported the war on other grounds - Saddam was an evil guy, the Iraqi people should be free, let's deal a blow to islamofascism, etc. Frankly, I never thought that the case on WMDs was that convincing. I remember reading the transcript of Colin Powell's address to the UN and being surprised at the lack of any substantial charges. I remember thinking, "We're going to go to war over remote controlled airplanes with spray bottles attached, centrifuge tubes, and mobile trailers? Iraq had 4 years with no UN inspections from 1998 to 2002 and that was the best they could do?" What shocked me was how weak the President's claims were. Saddam sought uranium from Afica. SO????

But my skepticism ended when Democrats came out of closed-door intelligence briefings and said things like this:

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock. His missile delivery capability, his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists including Al-Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." -- Senator Hillary Clinton, October 10th of 2002

I figured that the Senators on Capitol Hill have much greater access to intelligence reports than either I or the media. And that if it looked fishy, that they would do their job and demand more information, more proof, and more hearings. But rather than skeptical, prominent Democrats like John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy sounded even more sure than President Bush, Rumsfeld, or Cheney that the time to act was now.

Now, 3 years later, the poll numbers are different. Now the American people don't support the war. And so the Democrats have created this myth that they would never have supported the war if there wasn't some conspiracy from Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby to TRICK them. That despite all the access to the intelligence they either had, or could have demanded, they couldn't make a clear decision because THEY WERE TRICKED!

And so they've created this whole conspiracy nonsense whereby they claim that anybody who dared to express a dissenting opinion about WMDs was skewered by the Cheney Cabal. That nobody DARED to question the intelligence. We were all paralyzed by fear that the evil White House was going to get us so we had no choice but to vote the war. And you MoveOn.Org idiots out there who buy into this conspiracy garbage oughtta think again.

Am I willing to debate the REAL reasons we got into war? Sure! But the time to do that has long past. You debate the war BEFORE you start it. Now, we have only one choice - to win.

The Democrats have the spines of linguini and supported a war that they secretly opposed and don't have the courage to face it so they blame their failures on White House operatives, they attack our soldiers and their conduct in the war, they attack our President, and they make up bogus conspiracies, and they pull stunts like shutting down the Senate.

Can any of you liberals tell me what the Democrats actually stand for? I know they hate Bush, but what is their plan? How are they going to make the country safe?

And one more thing - Bush hasn't changed the reason we went to war. Freeing the Iraqi people from a ruthless, brutal dictator who murdered and tortured hundreds of thousands of his own citizens was stated as a primary reason for the war from the outset. It wasn't called "Operation Iraqi Freedom" for nothing.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 4, 2005 08:48 AM

If Clinton was so bad, why is it that everytime a natural disaster happens, the Bushies call upon Clinton to rally the home team. (Tsunami and Hurricane relief)

Why would the ethically pure mix with the ethically challenged?

I am continually amazed by the hypocracy of Bush supporters. They take every opportunity to lambast Clinton, but when the same situation arises with Bush they make excuses.

Ethics is important, Clinton should not have lied about Lewinsky. Yet Bush says anyone involved with the leak will be dismissed. Duh?

Lying to investigators and grand jury is serious. Clinton should have told the truth. Now, lying, perjury and obstructing justice is a mere technicality.

Every nominee deserves an up or down vote. Well, everyone but Myers.

We let in Clinton's nominee (Ginsberg) didn't we? Yeah but Republicans were involved in the selection process weren't they?

(Robert's) Catholic religion is not important. Myers is from a mainstream Evangelical Christian Church.

Here's a term Republicans ought to be familiar with ... FLIP FLOP

I can't wait for the commercials.

Posted by: whittyone | November 4, 2005 10:17 AM

Okay....It is indeed possible that Libby was probably just following orders- whether they were actual orders or they were implied by Libby- a man who (ironically) would like to keep his job.

In the backs of our minds we know that most of these people are not as smart as we would like to think that they are, but we still act shocked when we see how stupid they can be. If you are a top aide, R or D it doesn't matter, once you talk to the press, you can bet your bottom dollar that your name is gonna come up, Bubba. And yes, our government has been covering things up since its inception. I can't tell you exactly when it happened, but there was a shift in American government some time ago where officials began to place trust in others.

We used to be paranoid of everyone, and because of that, there were very few leaks (Good or bad, that's the way it was, eh?). Now, even though we know deep down that no one can be trusted, we continuously place trust in people who, for the most part, will drop a dime on you in heartbeat.

This indictment is not about the propriety of war. It is about policy and unlawful conduct. We cannot criminalize politics. Everything government is politics. Elected and appointed officials are politicians. Also some time ago, politics became a negative word. Politics is what created this country....it is a necessity. Let's focus on finding criminality in people's actions first (starting with Libby and Rove)and not spend so much time worrying over whether or not it was a political move or something else. If there is fault in Bush's and Cheney's actions for the war, it will become evident in time. You still have three years to officially kick them out.

As far a the war goes, I think no matter how many insurgents we kill and no matter how much government we help install in Iraq, as soon as we pull out, that place will be back in the hands of Islamist Extremists, and that's a fact, Jack.

Posted by: BT | November 4, 2005 10:35 AM

Who's kidding who benrand? You smack liberals around by intimating they somehow rationalized Sandy Berger's behaviour. Yet, I seem to remember that Berger went through the very same process that Libby is now undergoing and suffered the same embarrassment.

It seems to me that it is you conservatives who practice moral relatism and moral equivalency. The way you tell it, conservative misdoings--Bill Bennett (addiction to gambling); Rush Limbaugh (addiction to oxycontin and doctor shopping); Bill O'Reilly (addiction to phone sex); and Strom Thurmond (addiction to his Afican-American housemaid and fathering an illegitimate child)--are all liberal media conspiracies.

It seems to me that there is a goodly deal of handwringing on the right these days. And by the way, Sandy Berger no longer has political power, nor do any other liberals you use as some queer moral eqivalency to try and deodorize the moral stench coming from the right.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 4, 2005 11:23 AM

"As far a the war goes, I think no matter how many insurgents we kill and no matter how much government we help install in Iraq, as soon as we pull out, that place will be back in the hands of Islamist Extremists, and that's a fact, Jack."

You don't give the Iraqis much credit. I look at them and see people who have defied the threats of blood thristy terrorists to vote in a government and to approve the most liberal constitution in the history of the Arab world. I see Iraqis standing in long lines to join the police and military forces despite terror bombings directed at these recruitment centers. Despite whatever "failings" you see on the part of the Bush Administration, these people will prevail.

They don't whine about "voter intimidation, long lines at the polling stations, or confusing ballots" like the Democrats in America. And they don't cower in the face of terrorism.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 4, 2005 11:30 AM

Boy, these Bushphiles really annoy and astonish me! What in the world will it take for you morons to get your head out of that dank, malodorous orifice you have had it stuck up since Bush stole the 2001 election?

Bush is the most unpopular leader in free world history. Can you believe that a few, short years ago his right wing hagiographers--Stephen Hayes among them--were comparing this dolt to Winston Churchill?

Can you possibly imagine Winston Churchill uterring: "We need more power to power the power to the power poles."

Posted by: Jaxas | November 4, 2005 11:32 AM

He stole the 2001 election, too? He wasn't even on the ticket in 2001. That's a pretty slick trick.

I can't believe you left-wing lunatics are still stuck on the 2000 election. Bush won the electoral vote in 2000. Get over it!!! All of the legal, legitimate votes in Florida were counted twice and Bush had more votes than Al Gore. The media did their silly recounts later and reached the same conclusion. No one STOLE anything.

And what about the elections Clinton won? He never got the majority of the votes in either 1992 or 1996. Less than half the votes cast in those elections went to Clinton. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the votes went to some guy named Ross Perot. (Where is he now, by the way?) so Clinton had the most votes. But my point is that Bush had a higher vote percentage in 2000 than Clinton had in 1992 and 1996. But Clinton was still "legitimate". So is Bush. Get over it!

Maybe if you morons would start thinking about the next election and come up with some sort of plan for how your going to secure this country and win the war on terrorism you might have a chance. But if you are going to be stuck in Florida, 2000 - GREAT! It's your funeral.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 4, 2005 11:42 AM


Don't get me wrong...I applaud the Iraqis for trying. But it is still under the protection of the U.S. Military. Their defenses are not adequate and I think they can still be swayed by murderous extremists hellbent on destroying any established government. Even though Saddam Hussein is an evil, evil monster...he is correct in saying that Iraq must be ruled with an iron fist....and I don't think the Iraqi government will stand up on its own for very long. Did anyone see the hearings for Saddam and his buddies? Ho, ho that was a joke. They had no control over Hussein and let him continuosly disrespect the court.

Anyway...that's still not the main subject of this blog. Does anyone agree?

Posted by: BT | November 4, 2005 11:42 AM

Obviously I am a lot more optimistic than you are. I don't see a mess or a failure. I see progress in the right direction. President Bush has laid out an exit strategy and we are meeting the major milestones. What is the exit strategy? Elections -> Constitutional Drafting Committee -> Constitution Ratified -> Elections for permanent government. Also the training of Iraqi police and military to take over their own security. So far it has been messy but it appears to be working.

Getting back to the original topic... Nothing about this CIA leak investigation so far has lead me to the conclusion that Bush lied about Iraq and that the White House led a campaign to attack anyone who criticized them or dissented.

I think Joe Wilson has tried to elevate his importance as it relates to pre-war intelligence when in fact his report from his trip to Niger was apparently ignored by the CIA and not even passed onto the White House.

I think that there is no evidence that there was a conspiracy to out Wilson's wife as a means of retribution. It seems to me that this Joe Wilson guy, who the White House had never hear of, came out of nowhere and starting spinning some serious allegations. They looked into the matter and didn't think that much about it. When a few reporters called the White House for comment, white house officials told them what they knew and didn't give it much thought.

Later when a big stink was made about "Outing an Undercover CIA Agent" they really could not remember what they said to who, because it wasn't a significant issue at the time. Reporters call all the time and ask for comment on a lot of different issues. And they are able to obtain comments from "unnamed sources" all the time.

Did Libby lie and try to cover up his part? The independent counsel seems to think so. I, personnally, do not know. I give him the benefit of the doubt. He seemed to be willing to cooperate and testify and allow others to testify, which seems to indicate he wasn't trying to lie or cover anything up. But if he did, he should be punished. But in the meantime, let's not forget innocent until proven guilty.

And let's not jump from false statements in this sidebar matter to Bush lied about the intelligence that led to war and Democrats voted for the war only because Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby tricked them into it.

Posted by: Mike Magner | November 4, 2005 12:01 PM

To paraphrase Einstein, bloggers are useless -- they give only answers.

I'll try not to be useless, but instead ask a couple of questions I haven't read many other places.

First -- is it possible that reasonable people can disagree which agents are supposedly covert and which aren't? It appears to me the answer is Yes. If so, that's not necessarily on Bush but is very much on an agency culture that would invite a gray area. Libby (or whomever else) should understand that such-and-so agent is either covert or not, and that should be the end of it. Something that's this big a deal shouldn't have any ambiguity for any given person, whatsoever.

Second, is it possible this problem didn't start in Washington? I'm not much into conspiriacy theories, but let's pretend that Niger's government has problems. Source of intelligence A says no, Iraq is not pursuing any such thing. Source of intelligence B says yes, the goods are being sought by Hussein. Our guys (and the Brits) say, "OK thanks" and issue the reports. Why would they differ?

Well for starters, revelations by Source A, depending on when they were made, would violate sanctions agreed upon by the UN. (Corruption under the watchful and vigilant eye of the UN? Nah, that could never happen.)

At least in public, Source A is Niger's former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mayaki. The factcheck.org site above breaks it down, but Wilson is quoted as having been steered away from any discussion of trade by Mayaki. And Mayaki admits to having had an Iraqi delegation meet with him -- all the while denying or hemming/hawing on the issue of uranium.

Revelations by Source B (or Sources B), safely anonymous, have no such restriction or pressure to deny, and chirp like a bird that yes, the goods were being sought.

That would jibe with the facts with which I am aware. Very possibly, Wilson believed he was acting in good faith. Ambassadors often operate at an official, high level, taking prime ministers at their word (though they shouldn't).

It would also jibe with a Washington that is not necessarily corrupt or scheming but highly incompetent. In a culture where the president thinks Dobson is the definitive word on SCOTUS judges and can't properly vet Miers, why wouldn't Wilson think that Mayaki is the definitive word on Hussein's musings and couldn't properly vet African activity overall? Conflicting intelligence reports which are truthful would mean to Wilson that Wilson was wrong. That overloads the machine and would make his hair frazzle. (The ability to gaze into people's hearts and divine the truth is a superpower unique to this administration. Someday I would like to have it.)

So those are the questions. Can reasonable people disagree about whether an agent is covert? I say Yes (and that's a shame in much need of correction). Discuss. And is it possible that the outing ultimately owed not to payback but stunning incompetence? Again, discuss.

Posted by: Jim P | November 4, 2005 12:40 PM

Bush's literal statement may have been that Iraq was trying to acquire the yellowcake. But what the public thought was that Iraq had usable nuclear weapons. Perhaps it was well established that the Iraqis were trying to acquire yellowcake. But there's a huge gap between that and the threat of nuclear attack on the US, and it is the latter that Bush was selling the American people in his State of the Union. I don't know any evidence of that charge. Do you?

Posted by: Keshini Ladduwhetty | November 4, 2005 12:45 PM

"is it possible that reasonable people can disagree which agents are supposedly covert and which aren't?"

Simple answer: yes.

But Plames job classification isn't defined by what people think it was. Plame's job was, and is, defined by what the CIA classified her as. All released evidence thus far indicates this classification was a covert operative.

Plame's CIA classification is not a matter of public debate or somehow obscure; it is defined by the CIA. Else all of you are milkmen because I have a petitions signed by 80 people (sorry ladies, you are now men as well. Don't plame me, it is simply a disagreement among us men).

What is obscure is whether or not a known or unknown administration official knew she was classified as a covert operative, then outed her anyway.

Nor does this story originate outside the U.S. Nigeria did not create those documents. A rogue Italian/French agent did. On stolen letterhead. Nor did Nigeria invade Iraq. That was us, the U.S. Nor did Nigerian officials recommend that the President add those 16 words into his State of the Union address. No, the decision to use intel discounted by everyone except the OSP lies somewhere between that august agency and the administration, not some nefarious outside power.

Posted by: | November 4, 2005 01:32 PM

On yes,

It could be that the outing had less to do with payback than incompetence. But outing is outing. And if it was a criminal act, then outing was a criminal act, regardless of motive.

So is perjury, I might add.

Posted by: chris | November 4, 2005 01:54 PM

FWIW, I voted for Perot in the 1992 election. I would have voted for Clinton. My mother, a total Republican convinced me that the Republicans would never let Clinton govern--they hated him so much. I have often wondered if their whole platform was to get even about Nixon. I think the Republicans are wrong about Perot stealing votes from them. I wish more than anything a viable third party candidate would come along that we moderates could get behind and leave the two parties to spend all the rest of their generations trying to justify their positions by whining about how nothing they do matters because the other guys are so bad.

Posted by: Dona D | November 4, 2005 02:57 PM

Perjury is a criminal act, but it is difficult to prove. Also...I don't think that lying to a journalist should be considered perjury, which I think has become part of the perjury argument. I know they lied to others as well, but lying to journalists is no worse than telling your kids that Santa Claus exists.

Second, why can the CIA and FBI lie to everyone, but we can't lie to the CIA and FBI...or any other agency?

Posted by: BT | November 4, 2005 03:02 PM

Just how big a threat was Saddam Hussein? Let's reprise what our leaders had to say on the subject. First, here's the president:

"If he refuses or continues to evade his obligations through more tactics of delay and deception, he and he alone will be to blame for the consequences. . Now, let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction.? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who's really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too."

Here is the vice president:

"If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He's already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons. He poison-gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunction about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world."

Can we, or can we not, agree with this logic?

Posted by: Jon M | November 4, 2005 03:14 PM

"Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA agent as part of an attempt from within the Bush administration to discredit Joe Wilson..."

You seem to know more about this than special investigator Fitzgerald. Why don't you please tell us who outed Plame, and what evidence you have.

Posted by: McFlarp | November 4, 2005 04:27 PM

1. Patriots, stop letting yourselves be sandbagged by the "Clinton did it, everybody lied BS". That isn't a defensible standard (but judge, everybody cheats on their income tax you can't prosecute me) and it is solely designed to get your eye off the ball of what this administration has done. Don't take the bait.
2. The National Standard article is overall quite good, but misses a few points. Wilson is small potatoes. Two other people, a 4 star general and an active Niger ambassador said the same thing he did about Saddam not getting yellowcake. So all the work trying to trap Wilson in a lie doesn't undo the other two reports - its just a distraction and needs to be appreciated for that. The bottom line is, 3 people, at least two of whom have been held above any partisan suspicions, all went to Niger said the same thing - the 500 tons of yellowcake sale story wasn't credible. So how the Cheney-ites at the CIA spun their findings that Saddam sent a trade delegation that the PM "presumed" to want to buy yellowcake into "Saddam vigorously pursued uranium and so we better make a preemptive attack before your babies go up in a mushroom could" is a model of deceptiveness that cannot be defended by decent people.

But I digress. There are a number of immensely troubling things in the Weekly Standard article. In order:
a. Why hasn't the Senate Intel Comm followed up on the dichotomy of opinions in the CIA - McLaughlin was quite upfront about it, the CIA people who sent Wilson were quite upfront about it - who was in the two camps, what data did they each acquire and how did they use/disseminate the data? How is the failure to disseminate balanced or conflicting information in favor of only information supporting war explained up the chain of command - where, at which person, did the balance stop and the feeding of "convenient" data only begin, and who did this person answer to?
b. Why hasn't the "communications breakdown" been pursued? If two top officials were kept out of the loop at the CIA and NSC, how did that happen? What was the chain of command? Who was supposed to share the intel with them and why didn't they? How do the "stovepipes' like Bolton fit into this model of keeping people out of the loop?
c. The yellow cake forgeries. They were
"discovered" October 9 2002. It is not possible the CIA and State did not recognize they were forgeries immediately. CIA agents have been quoted as saying everyone knew they were forgeries immediately. It took the IAEA only a few hours to figure it out. This administration was desperate to get us into war, if there was even a shred of possibility the documents helped the case for war they would have been leaked. Not only were they not leaked, we hid them and kept even knowledge of their finding from the Brits. So what earthly explanation has been offered for the 5 month gap between the time we got the forgeries until we admitted we had them and that we knew they were forged? Once Wilson started making noise about them a few reports came out with "leaked" explanations floated like trial balloons like the Italian Ambassador "lost" them. THE 5 MONTH GAP WHEN MANY PEOPLE AT STATE AND CIA SAW THESE DOCUMENTS AND KNEW THEM TO BE FORGED UNTIL WE FESSED UP ABOUT IT STINKETH. STINKETH TO HIGH HEAVEN AND I BELIEVE IS AT THE ROOT OF THIS CASE (BESIDES WHO FORGED THEM, OF COURSE). So who was in the chain of command that failed to boot this information out to where it needed to go? Someone made the decision to hide the forgeries for 5 months. I want to know who and why.
d. "the CIA never objected to the Iraq-Africa language on the grounds that it was unreliable." Who in the CIA? Agents knew the documents were forged. So where in the chain of command did they pass up the info about the forgeries and where did it stop? 'And why is Tenet now making up stories that he "forgot' to vet the speech, and Hadley falling on swords? It stinketh.
e. If you read Bob Woodwards book, Colin Powell's failure to mention the uranium intel in his UN speech has a different connotation - Powell called the intel he was shown "bull$$$$" and only agreed to speak about things they could dazzle him with enough bull about to make him think it was credible.
f. This business of Wilson telling people about his trip and telling people about the forgeries is a distraction. Just eliminate Wilson and use the info from General Fulford and Ambassador Owens Kirkpatrick and the story still STINKETH. The point is the facts are quite clear that the report from Wilsonn's trip said Saddam "sought" and that the reports from 3 people including Wilson said Saddam didn't get, and the White House cherry picked that, buried the forgery of the documents that were behind all the nuclear claims and kept the info from our allies. Most of us think it STINKETH, and that the amount of spinning done on intelligence that we knew to be forged 5 months before the invasion went so far as to be a damned lie. ANd an honest investigation would show it, if we were ever able to get one.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 4, 2005 05:11 PM

Donna - if the viable third party candidate can't get a majority of the electoral votes, then the House of REp will pick the president. You ready for that? And if we change the constitution to simple majority we'll have multitudes of political parties each getting a small percent of the vote, and either have president elected by 10%of the voters, or have runoff elections between two or 3 candidates each of which may have only gotten a small percentage of votes. Is this country ready for that kind of dissention? I don't have a better answer than two parties who don't really capture the average American slightly left or right of center.

BT - lying to a reporter isn't perjury, lying to grand jury is. If you've allowed yourself to be spun into believing the charges against Libby are for lying to reporters, better change channels. And if you've allowed yourself to believe that calling reporters to tell them about a CIA agent (that the special prosecutor Fitzgerald says WAS under cover) in order to discredit a critic, with absolutely NO THOUGHT about whether or not you might be hurting national security isn't absolutely so IMMORAL we should not accept it from our government, then look in the mirror and examine your own soul.

Posted by: | November 4, 2005 05:19 PM

1. Saddam was a bad man
2. Saddam posed some threat to the US
3. We needed to do some saber rattling to get him back in his box, and then use the capital from that to contain the much more imminient threats of North Korea and Iran. Now we've tipped our hand and our cards were trumped by a few Davids armed with IED's and N Korea and Iran knows Goliath is overextended and broke. Seems like bad strategy to me.
4. It was spinning to the point of a damned lie to say that Saddam sought yellowcake and we were at risk to see our babies die under mushroom clouds.
5. There may very well have been a cogent arugement made that Saddam was enough of a threat to attack him, while ignoring North Korea and Iran, and even people naive enough to believe this administration was competent enough to carry it off. But we were never allowed to have that debate, were we? INsteasd intel was spun into stories so misleading they were damned lies.

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 4, 2005 05:26 PM


Those comments I posted came not from Bush-Cheney 2002, but from Clinton-Gore 1998. Obviously "saber rattling" had not quite done the trick.

This Niger story has completely blown this "bush lied" nonsense out of proportion. This was not "gross misinformation" from a propaganda machine. I was not a huge fan of the Iraq invasion in 2002 and I'm not now in 2005. But I do believe the decision was made in good faith and in America's interest, not some neo-con plot hellbent on world domination.

Joe Wilson never even filed an official report, and his oral report (made only to CIA officials NOT the White House) added credence to the belief that Iraq was seeking WMDs.

We have got to tone down the rhetoric here ("Bush Lied, boys died") and finish this thing. I know the war is finally unpopular enough for the Left to really slam the Administration, and giving up that political capital is not easy. But lets also remember something. Congress, in the most cowardly of fashions, voted to give this President these war powers, not wanting to stick their own necks on the line.

Posted by: Jon M | November 4, 2005 05:56 PM

Patriot, "But we were never allowed to have that debate, were we?"

We did have the debate. Congress voted to give the President the keys to the castle based on the intelligence at hand. I am not a fan of this move for two reasons.

1) It is unconstitutional. The SCOTUS has ruled that branches of government cannot delegate their respective powers.

2) Congressional declarations of war encourage a more thorough debate, the one you alluded to.

Posted by: Jon M | November 4, 2005 06:03 PM

I love when that challenge is ignored. Just shout louder and maybe your kook fringe ideas may come true. Keep bitching, judging after the fact and rewriting history to make yourselves feel better. You obviously value damaging Bush more than supporting democracy in the Middle East, obtaining intel from captured non-uniformed terrorists, and dealing with a nuclear Iran that has threatened to wipe Israel off the map. That's why the American people do not trust liberal Democrats with our national security. Keep it up and you'll continue losing elections. Have an actual idea every now and then. Losers wait for others to propose ideas and then snidely criticize.

Posted by: Again! Define the "lie" | November 4, 2005 06:50 PM

Let's see... I could listen to you and the Weekly Standard ...OR... I can look at the results from the Silbermann-Robb Commission, the Bi-Partison Senate Select Committee on Intelligence AND the British Investigation into the pre-war intelligence - all of which said that the Bush Administration did not manipulate or distort the pre-war intelligence.

As for the debate that didn't happen, blame the Democrats. They saw the same intelligence and reached the same conclusion and they voted to give the President authorization to go to war. If they thought that there was something wrong with the intelligence, they should have demanded more answers. But, if you go back to the Pre-War days, almost NOBODY disputed the assertion that Saddam had WMDs. It was taken as a matter of fact. Sure there were groups of people who dissented with the mainstream view and weren't taken seriously. But, that's the point - they weren't taken seriously by anyone. We had been living under the assumption that Saddam had WMDs for so long, it wasn't even disputed by the mainstream.

Why did we live under this assumption? Quite simple: Saddam had WMDs at the end of Gulf War I. He signed a surrender agreement in which he agreed to destroy these weapons under the supervision of the UN. He played games and hid things and closed off buildings to inspectors and moved things, etc., over the next 11 years. But there were documented stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons that were never accounted for. Where did they go? We still don't know.

Alternate crackpot theory that might explain the pre-war intelligence failures:
Given that we "knew" that Saddam had WMDs, is it possible that there was a huge whole in the intelligence data on Iraq, with almost a total lack of any new data since 1998? One of the things noted by the commissions that studied the pre-war intelligence was that the CIA was unable to get any human intelligence on Saddam's Iraq after the expulsion of the UN Weapons Inspectors. Looking back, I remember Saddam accusing the US of using the Weapons Inspections process to spy on Iraq. And I also remember a report about the UN inspectors complaining that their offices in Iraq were bugged by the CIA. The CIA denied this allegation, but its funny how the intelligence collection in Iraq ended as soon as the Weapons Inspectors were kicked out. But even though the CIA was unable to find out anything new, they still believed that finding WMDs in Iraq was a "slam dunk", and that's what got passed on to the President and the Senate, despite a lack of good, hard, physical evidence.

I can imagine that Bush must have been quiizzing George Tenet about Iraq's current activities and getting the ol' shoulder shrug. I think if there was any pressure from the White House on the CIA, it was to work harder to develop some current intelligence. But I think they pretty much operated under the assumption that Saddam was up to his old tricks but with no HUMINT to go on, they had nothing but satellite photos. So suddenly a mobile trailer becomes a mobile weapons lab. A radio-controlled plane becomes an unmanned drone. A failed attempt to acquire uranium becomes proof of a nuclear weapons program.

If this crackpot theory is true, then I'd have to concede that Bush was wrong for not simply acknowledging that the intelligence was garbage and that we had NO information on Saddam's current program whatsover. However, his other key assertions were still justified: Saddam did not comply with UN sanctions and made a laughing stock of the whole UN arms control program. And our "allies" were too busy scamming the UN Oil-For-Food program to get off their duffs and do anything about it.

Posted by: Mike M | November 4, 2005 08:57 PM

I know Dems want to go back several years and debate why we went to war in Iraq. The problem is everyone who was talking at the time -- WJ Clinton, Gore, Kennedy, HR Clinton, Kerry, France, Germany, Russia, and the Republicans -- were all saying the same thing. Iraq had WMD. Iraq was a threat to its neighbors. Iraq needed to be controlled. The only people I remember saying we shouldn't invade Iraq were Jimmy "The Pacifist" Carter, and Scott "The US is always wrong" Ritter. There was no debate. Everyone knew what they knew. Very few voted against the resolution to use force. Most had access to the same intelligence as the Bush administration. The only problem was the intelligence service in this country and the intelligence services throughout the world got it wrong!!!! No one was mislead -- Pres Jimmy. No one was lied to -- Chairman Dean, Senator Durbin, et al. They were simply WRONG!!!!

Which is worse??? Telling the name of a CIA employee who was not covert (that is why Libby wasn't indicted for "outing" her) or telling DP of the Washington Post we are holding terrorists in "classified prisons." I don't see any harm caused to Mrs. Wilson except by her husband being a not too convincing blow-hard. I'm sure we will be hearing from those countries we have been using to interrogate terrorists very shortly -- and that is a good thing. Bring the terrorists to the US, put them in jail, give them counsel, give them fair trials, and then release those found not guilty and execute those found guilty. This country stands for many things -- leaking information to counter the false claims of Mr. Wilson; leaking info to out "foreign prisons; etc. So bring on the debate, but let us have the debate we should be having and not wasting time arguing about what everyone knew before we went to war. Let us argue about what to do now!!!! The Dems don't have any answers for that question and the president's answer is not specific enough, with detail we Americans and the Iraqis can rely and act on!!!!!!

Posted by: Mil Vet | November 5, 2005 03:35 AM

If Bush is so wonderful, why are the polls showing that the American public no longer trusts him?

Posted by: amadeus | November 5, 2005 04:30 AM

What's all the hub-bub about? Libby is one of the richest men in Washington, and even if convicted, will get a full pardon from Bush.

America's Gulag system will continue.

The civil war in Iraq will continue until a change in American administrations, at which time, our withdrawal will lead to a full-blown civil war.

But then, just like in Vietnam, things will settle down, and in 40 years or so, we will be back to normal.

The main-line presses, such as the Washington Post, who lost great credibility with the American people over their poor and gingoistic pre-war reporting will continue, although the news divisions will become less profitable over time.

The Democrats will come back into power, probably starting in '06. But, nothing will really change. Both parties are owned by big money.

So, as Bobby McFarin once stated, "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

Posted by: cpwash | November 5, 2005 06:39 AM

Mike M,

"Let's see... I could listen to you and the Weekly Standard ...OR... I can look at the results from the Silbermann-Robb Commission, the Bi-Partison Senate Select Committee on Intelligence AND the British Investigation into the pre-war intelligence - all of which said that the Bush Administration did not manipulate or distort the pre-war intelligence."

Ok, let's look at these.
a) Silbermann-Robb Commission: "Finally, we emphasize two points about the scope of this Commission's charter, particularly with respect to the Iraq question. ... [W]e were not authorized to investigate how policymakers used the intelligence assessments they received from the Intelligence Community." http://www.wmd.gov/report/report.html#overview

Bi-Partison Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: This was supposed to be done in two phases. Phase I examined the accuracy of prewar intelligence, and the committee released a report last year detailing those failures. Phase II is a look at how that intelligence was used and whether the data accurately predicted the postwar situation. Phase II has not yet been done and was the reason the Democrats shut down Congress this week in order to force the process along.

The British Inquiry: The best I can find is the Butler Report saying that the intelligence behind the famous "16 words" were "well-founded."

So, none of these make any assertion (that I can find) on how the Bush Administration behaved with respect to the intelligence leading up to the war on Iraq. The question is explicitly out of the jurisdiction of the first two and I can find nothing commenting, one way or the other, on the third.

Therefore, these reports/investigations cannot be used as evidence one way or the other. This was not a question that they went to answer and are completely silent on the subject. Opinions are good. Facts are better. Opinions dressed up as facts are bad.

Posted by: Matt | November 5, 2005 12:11 PM

"Very few voted against the resolution to use force. Most had access to the same intelligence as the Bush administration"
No, they didn't have the same access, that's the point. They had intel that was set up by a careful network of stovepipes and burying of data that made it look like Saddam was making mushroom clouds. Imagine what the Senate vote might have looked like if the Senators had been told this instead of what they were told: 3 people went to Niger in 2001/2 to investigate a specific intel claim circulating the globe that Saddam purchased 500 tons of yellowcake from Niger. They uncovered some proof that Saddam had interest in uranium in 1999 but all 3 said it was not credible that Saddam had gotten yellowcake. A fourth person, a reporter from Italy, later went and came to the came conclusion and as a result was unable to write the blockbuster story she thought she had. More information on the 500 ton sale became available in October 2002 when the documents purported to be the smoking gun were found to be blatant forgeries within a few hours of their acquisition, and when our friends the Brits examined them they agreed with us that they were forgeries. At one point we were worried that the aluminum tubes Saddam ordered were for nuclear work, but a group of nonpartisan nuclear scientists from Oak Ridge and other places have made a consensus that they are for non-nuclear legal missles Saddam is allowed to have, although one lone person not all that well versed in nuclear technology continues to say they could be used for an old fashioned highly inefficient method to purify uranium. So, in summary we feel quite confident that Saddam wanted uranium but do not believe that he got it this way. We remain concerned about North Korea and interest in selling weapons to Saddam from that country, and there is some data that Saddam may have placed an "order" with them. North Korea might well sell to any terrorist group or unfriendly, including Saddam and we believe that to be of grave significance and recommend closer interest in North Korea's nuclear aspirations as their threat is much more imminent. Also, one agent has made serious claims that Saddam is making chemical weapons . But the intel agencies who passed on his info have told us they do not believe the info credible, and indeed when we examined his motives and history we share their suspicions. However we have educated the newly re-inserted missile inspectors on what to watch for with respect to traces of biological or chemical weapons.

" I can look at the results from the Silbermann-Robb Commission, the Bi-Partison Senate Select Committee on Intelligence AND the British Investigation into the pre-war intelligence - all of which said that the Bush Administration did not manipulate or distort the pre-war intelligence."
NIce try. The Senate intel initial report wasn't intended to be the last word, and a lot more data has come out since then. That's what the Democrat's 'closed session" was all about - the stonewalling on this part of the investigation. A real investigation would "follow the forgeries" - how is it that documents "proving" Cheney's story that Saddam bought 500 tons of yellowcake came into State and CIA almost 5 months before we invaded were laughable forgeries, and were successfully buried to the point where they were not even shared with our best allies (whose outdated intel we then used as a justification to go to war). But I am not so naive as to expect that a real investigation will take place, at least with the current Congress.

"As for the debate that didn't happen, blame the Democrats. They saw the same intelligence and reached the same conclusion and they voted to give the President authorization to go to war."
Yes, that's my point. The intelligence was buried, stovepiped and othewise twisted to paint a believable picture that Saddam was coming to make mushroom clouds. I am not happy with Senators who allowed themselves to be suckered in rather than be run over by the Repub steamroller of "not patriotic", and I hope the lone holdout who voted against the Patriot Act gets a medal of Honor someday, or at least a Profiles in Courage award. He deserves it. But the fact that the Senate fell for the manipulated itel doesn't mean that it was right to have manipulated it.

Posted by: | November 6, 2005 02:12 PM

20 Amazing Facts About
Voting in the USA
by Angry Girl


printable version
Did you know....
1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.



2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.



3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.



4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."



5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.



6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.




7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.



8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.



9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.



10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.



11. Diebold is based in Ohio.


12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as consultants and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.



13. Jeff Dean was Senior Vice-President of Global Election Systems when it was bought by Diebold. Even though he had been convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree, Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by Diebold and was largely responsible for programming the optical scanning software now used in most of the United States.



14. Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.



15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.



16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here: http://blackboxvoting.org/baxter/baxterVPR.mov.)



17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.


18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.






19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.



20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.







Posted by: Che | November 6, 2005 04:43 PM

The British Inquiry: The best I can find is the Butler Report saying that the intelligence behind the famous "16 words" were "well-founded."

This report is a "cya" document that they needed to wrote to save their necks, much like the Senate Intel's report. The Butler report says Bush's words were well founded, but the talking points always leave out the qualifiers. At the time, they didn't know that we'd had the forgeries in our hands for MONTHS and that we failed to tell them about the forgeries. Here's what the Butler report actually says:
Conclusion 499. We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government's dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush's State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" was well-founded.
Conclusion 503. From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:

a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.
b. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger's exports, the intelligence was credible.
c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium and the British Government did not claim this.
d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it.

The rest of the document isn't nearly as kind. In fact, anyone who has read the US SEnate Intel Report(instead of reading the partisan talking points about what it does and does not say) might call it blistering in many ways.

OK, LETS DEFINE THE BIG LIE!! Lets begin by repeating points C and D from the Butler report about British Intel, the source of the 16 words so we can see how they were used to craft the big lie. "c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium and the British Government did not claim this." and d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made,
OK, here's the instrucitons on how he built the BIG LIE
1. Used British intel instead of American - the CIA knew Saddam hadn't scored yellowcake.
2. Withheld the forgeries from the BRits so that their intel was outdated when we used it.
3. - Used true words to paint a deceptive picture by declaring that Saddam "sought" uranium, while deliberately omitting the other half of the info, that we didn't tell the Brits all we knew, and that even British intel at that time was inconclusive.
4. Created false and deceptive frightening images of "mushroom clouds" and deceived people into believing "the next attack might be mushroom clouds".

Anyone who has studied Acquinas and the concept of lying by omission as well as commission will understand the nature of the Great Lie.

Mr. Where's the Lie - explain to me how burying the forgeries and denying knowledge of them to Congress and the Brits, then using outdated British intel when your own intel can no longer support your words, then creating a deceptive picture by telling only half the story and spinning it into a much greater threat than it is.. isn't a lie. Need help? Explain to me what you're going to tell your kid when he says he's going to Pat's party and the parents will be home, and you learn Pat's party was in a hotel room and the parent's weren't there - because they were at their home! When you punish your kid for lying and they say "but I never lied to you - I was at Pat's party and Pat's parents were home" are you going to let them off the hook and say you should have asked better questions?

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 6, 2005 06:40 PM

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