Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cheney and Rice: when truth does not fit,... ignore it!

Watching American political shows on Sundays is always a great source of entertainment. Today, we had two great illustrations on the Bush administration' take on reality – when the truth does not fit your agenda, either change it or better, ignore it.

Here’s Vice President Dick Cheney on NBC Meet the Press on the (Republican-led) Senate Report which concludes that Saddam Hussein had no prewar ties to Al Qaeda:
RUSSERT: The committee said there was no relationship. In fact saddam —
CHENEY: I haven’t seen the report. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.
RUSSERT: But Mr. Vice President the bottom line is…
CHENEY: We know that Zarqawi running the terrost camp in Afghanistan prior to 9/11. After we went in after 9/11, then fled and went to Baghdad and set up operations in Baghdad in the spring of 2002 and was there and then basically until the time we launched into Iraq. [Full transcript here]

Cheney must be the only one who has not read it... I guess he's too busy...

As for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, she has read the report all right so she tried to put the blame on then CIA Director George Tenet. [Tenet recently said he was pressured by the White House and that he “agreed to back up the administration’s case for war despite his own agents’ doubts about the intelligence it was based on”.] but she admitted not reading another report from the Defense Intelligence Agency in Feb. 2002 — before the U.S. invasion — which also concluded that Iraq and Al Qaeda had no relationship.

Here's what she said on Chris Wallas's show on Fox News today:

WALLACE: Secretary Rice, this report — if I may, this report isn’t now. This isn’t after the fact. This was a Defense Intelligence Agency report in 2002. Two questions. First of all, did you know about that report before you made your statement?
RICE: Chris, we relied on the reports of the National Intelligence Office, the NIO, and of the DCI. That’s what the President and his central decisionmakers rely on.
WALLACE: Did you know about this report?
RICE: There are conflicting intelligence reports all the time. That’s why we have an intelligence system that brings those together into a unified assessment by the intelligence committee of what — community of what we’re looking at. That particular report I don’t remember seeing.
In other words, there was at best conflicting intelligence and the administration chose to ignore what did not fit their agnda, and at worst, they pressured the intelligence community into backing up a dubious theory. It must also be added that some of the source for the intelligence backing up the idea of a link between Hussein and al-Qaeda was the exile leader Ahmad Chalabi.
Nothing we did not know of course, but it’s always better when the source is… people in the administration themselves..

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