Friday, November 25

GOP Corruption Probe Grows

Last weekends NYTimes highlights Department of Justice statements that the GOP Corruption probe which has snared GOP Lobbyists Mike Scanlon and Jack Abramoff could widen to include members of Congress.


Scanlon & Abramoff
WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 - The Justice Department has signaled for the first time in recent weeks that prominent members of Congress could be swept up in the corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff, the former Republican superlobbyist who diverted some of his tens of millions of dollars in fees to provide lavish travel, meals and campaign contributions to the lawmakers whose help he needed most.

The investigation by a federal grand jury, which began more than a year ago, has created alarm on Capitol Hill, especially with the announcement Friday of criminal charges against Michael Scanlon, Mr. Abramoff's former lobbying partner and a former top House aide to Representative Tom DeLay.


For those who've forgotten or simply been hiding under rock -- Mike Scanlon is the really sensitive and funny guy who was saying the following in an email:

Judging by the sentiments of Mike Scanlon, a former spokesman for U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, and Abramoff's secret partner, conservative Christians provided an essential and unwitting tool in the lobbyists' fight in Louisiana on behalf of the Coushatta tribe against rival gambling operations. Scanlon composed a memo in October 2001 that he sent to Coushatta lawyer Kathy VanHoof and Abramoff describing the role religious radio could play in the effort:

"Simply put," Scanlon wrote, "we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them. The wackos get their information from the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the Internet and telephone trees."

Scanlon detailed a strategy to advertise on Christian radio against proposed casinos at Delta Downs and Pinnacle. "We will produce and air at least two radio ads that give biblical reasons why [the casinos] should be blocked and the tracks shut down." Scanlon recommended providing $575,000 for "solidifying the support of the Christian conservatives and the minority religious outlets of SW Louisiana."

Meanwhile back in the NYT article:

The charges against Mr. Scanlon identified no lawmakers by name, but a summary of the case released by the Justice Department accused him of being part of a broad conspiracy to provide "things of value, including money, meals, trips and entertainment to federal public officials in return for agreements to perform official acts" - an attempt at bribery, in other words, or something close to it.

Mr. Abramoff, who is under indictment in a separate bank-fraud case in Florida, has not been charged by the federal grand jury here. But Mr. Scanlon's lawyer says he has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation, suggesting that Mr. Abramoff's day in court in Washington is only a matter of time.

So Scanlon has already plead guilty, mostly likely with an offer to rat on the bigger fish - most likely including members of Congress. Hey Mr. Delay - ready for your next mug shot?

Scholars who specialize in the history and operations of Congress say that given the brazenness of Mr. Abramoff's lobbying efforts, as measured by the huge fees he charged clients and the extravagant gifts he showered on friends on Capitol Hill, almost all of them Republicans, the investigation could end up costing several lawmakers their careers, if not their freedom.

The investigation threatens to ensnarl many outside Congress as well, including Interior Department officials and others in the Bush administration who were courted by Mr. Abramoff on behalf of the Indian tribe casinos that were his most lucrative clients.

The inquiry has already reached into the White House; a White House budget official, David H. Safavian, resigned only days before his arrest in September on charges of lying to investigators about his business ties to Mr. Abramoff, a former lobbying partner.

"I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century," said Thomas E. Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution. "I've been around Washington for 35 years, watching Congress, and I've never seen anything approaching Abramoff for cynicism and chutzpah in proposing quid pro quos to members of Congress."

Even by the gold-plated standards of Washington lobbying firms, the fees paid to Mr. Abramoff were extraordinary. A former president of the College Republicans who turned to lobbying after a short-lived career as a B-movie producer, Mr. Abramoff, with his lobbying team, collected more than $80 million from the Indian tribes and their gambling operations; he was known by lobbying rivals as "Casino Jack."

Mr. Abramoff's lobbying work was not limited to the casinos, though. Newly disclosed documents from his files show that he asked for $9 million in 2003 from the president of Gabon, in West Africa, to set up a White House meeting with President Bush; there was an Oval Office meeting last year, although there is no evidence in the public record to show that Mr. Abramoff had a role in the arrangements.

The real question to me doesn't seem to be whether several members of Congress will eventually be frog-marched out of the Capital -- but simply how many, and whether they'll have the chutzpa to try and run again in 2006. Something tells me that they probably will, and it will be glorious to behold as they go down in flames, taking GOP control of congress with them.

Update From the Washington Post:

The Justice Department's wide-ranging investigation of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has entered a highly active phase as prosecutors are beginning to move on evidence pointing to possible corruption in Congress and executive branch agencies, lawyers involved in the case said.

Prosecutors have already told one lawmaker, Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) [Pictured at Left], and his former chief of staff that they are preparing a possible bribery case against them, according to two sources knowledgeable about the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The 35 to 40 investigators and prosecutors on the Abramoff case are focused on at least half a dozen members of Congress, lawyers and others close to the probe said. The investigators are looking at payments made by Abramoff and his colleagues to the wives of some lawmakers and at actions taken by senior Capitol Hill aides, some of whom went to work for Abramoff at the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, lawyers and others familiar with the probe said.

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R), now facing separate campaign finance charges in his home state of Texas, is one of the members under scrutiny, the sources said. Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) and other members of Congress involved with Indian affairs, one of Abramoff's key areas of interest, are also said to be among them.

Prosecutions and plea deals have become more likely, the lawyers said, now that Abramoff's former partner -- public relations executive Michael Scanlon -- has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and to testify about gifts that he and his K Street colleagues showered on lawmakers, allegedly in exchange for official favors.


Uh oh, it looks like the lesser Rat (Scanlon) has already jumped off the ship only to let the bigger Rats burn as the hull catches fire.

Vyan

Wednesday, November 23

The New Blue America

Posted by kpete on Democratic Underground


The latest 50 State Poll from SurveyUSA indicates that approval ratings for Republicans have dropped all across the country creating a brand New Blue America.

Bush knew there were no Iraq/al-Qaeda Links

Murray Waas at National Journal:

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The administration has refused to provide the Sept. 21 President's Daily Brief, even on a classified basis, and won't say anything more about it other than to acknowledge that it exists.

The information was provided to Bush on September 21, 2001 during the "President's Daily Brief," a 30- to 45-minute early-morning national security briefing. Information for PDBs has routinely been derived from electronic intercepts, human agents, and reports from foreign intelligence services, as well as more mundane sources such as news reports and public statements by foreign leaders.

One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group. Saddam viewed Al Qaeda as well as other theocratic radical Islamist organizations as a potential threat to his secular regime. At one point, analysts believed, Saddam considered infiltrating the ranks of Al Qaeda with Iraqi nationals or even Iraqi intelligence operatives to learn more about its inner workings, according to records and sources.

The conclusions drawn in the lengthier CIA assessment-which has also been denied to the committee-were strikingly similar to those provided to President Bush in the September 21 PDB, according to records and sources. In the four years since Bush received the briefing, according to highly placed government officials, little evidence has come to light to contradict the CIA's original conclusion that no collaborative relationship existed between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

"What the President was told on September 21," said one former high-level official, "was consistent with everything he has been told since-that the evidence was just not there."

In arguing their case for war with Iraq, the president and vice president said after the September 11 attacks that Al Qaeda and Iraq had significant ties, and they cited the possibility that Iraq might share chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons with Al Qaeda for a terrorist attack against the United States.


Democrats in Congress, as well as other critics of the Bush administration, charge that Bush and Cheney misrepresented and distorted intelligence information to bolster their case for war with Iraq. The president and vice president have insisted that they unknowingly relied on faulty and erroneous intelligence, provided mostly by the CIA.


The new information on the September 21 PDB and the subsequent CIA analysis bears on the question of what the CIA told the president and how the administration used that information as it made its case for war with Iraq.

So when Bush talks about "having the same intelligence information" does he mean this? I seriously doubt it since a year after this information was provided to him he made the following statements...

We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.
All of this information turned out to be not true so just who is the liar here?

Further examples:
But a comparison of public statements by the president, the vice president, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld show that in the days just before a congressional vote authorizing war, they professed to have been given information from U.S. intelligence assessments showing evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link.

"You can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror," President Bush said on September 25, 2002.

The next day, Rumsfeld said, "We have what we consider to be credible evidence that Al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts with Iraq who could help them acquire … weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities."

The most explosive of allegations came from Cheney, who said that September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, the pilot of the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center, had met in Prague, in the Czech Republic, with a senior Iraqi intelligence agent, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, five months before the attacks. On December 9, 2001, Cheney said on NBC's Meet the Press: "[I]t's pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in [the Czech Republic] last April, several months before the attack."

Cheney continued to make the charge, even after he was briefed, according to government records and officials, that both the CIA and the FBI discounted the possibility of such a meeting.

Credit card and phone records appear to demonstrate that Atta was in Virginia Beach, Va., at the time of the alleged meeting, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials. Al-Ani, the Iraqi intelligence official with whom Atta was said to have met in Prague, was later taken into custody by U.S. authorities. He not only denied the report of the meeting with Atta, but said that he was not in Prague at the time of the supposed meeting, according to published reports.


So if the CIA was saying one thing - why did the President say another? Because he was getting intelligence from a secret unit within the Defense Department.

One reason that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld made statements that contradicted what they were told in CIA briefings might have been that they were receiving information from another source that purported to have evidence of Al Qaeda-Iraq ties. The information came from a covert intelligence unit set up shortly after the September 11 attacks by then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith.

Feith was a protégé of, and intensely loyal to, Cheney, Rumsfeld, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, and Cheney's then-chief of staff and national security adviser, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. The secretive unit was set up because Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Libby did not believe the CIA would be able to get to the bottom of the matter of Iraq-Al Qaeda ties. The four men shared a long-standing distrust of the CIA from their earlier positions in government, and felt that the agency had failed massively by not predicting the September 11 attacks.

At first, the Feith-directed unit primarily consisted of two men, former journalist Michael Maloof andDavid Wurmser, a veteran of neoconservative think tanks. They liked to refer to themselves as the "Iraqi intelligence cell" of the Pentagon. And they took pride in the fact that their office was in an out-of-the-way cipher-locked room, with "charts that rung the room from one end to the other" showing the "interconnections of various terrorist groups" with one another and, most important, with Iraq, Maloof recalled in an interview.



It seems that the Pentagon Intelligence unit may have been directly at the heart of the entire Plame-gate affair (Which may be why Wurmser's has been reportedly been cooperating with Patrick FItzgerald for some time.

The Pentagon unit also routinely second-guessed the CIA's highly classified assessments. Regarding one report titled "Iraq and al-Qaeda: Interpreting a Murky Relationship," one of the Naval Reserve officers wrote: "The report provides evidence from numerous intelligence sources over the course of a decade on interactions between Iraq and al-Qaida. In this regard, the report is excellent. Then in its interpretation of this information, CIA attempts to discredit, dismiss, or downgrade much of this reporting, resulting in inconsistent conclusions in many instances. Therefore, the CIA report should be read for content only-and CIA's interpretation ought to be ignored."

This same antipathy toward the CIA led to the events that are the basis of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity, according to several former and current senior officials.

Ironically, the Plame affair's origins had its roots in Cheney and Libby's interest in reports that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium yellowcake from Niger to build a nuclear weapon. After reading a Pentagon report on the matter in early February 2002, Cheney asked the CIA officer who provided him with a national security briefing each morning if he could find out about it.

Without Cheney's knowledge, his query led to the CIA-sanctioned trip to Niger by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Plame's husband, to investigate the allegations. Wilson reported back to the CIA that the allegations were most likely not true.


It's seems that the Pentagon Intelligence Unit might just be at the center of this entire ball of yarn, which continues to unravel bit by bit...

Vyan

Tuesday, November 22

Republicans back down from Murtha-Gate

Oh, what a difference a week makes.

Last week President Bush was railing about Democrats throwing out "baseless and false charges" concerning the War. Dick Cheney quickly followed suit claiming that Democrats were "making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war." The criticism, Cheney said, threatens to undermine the morale of U.S. troops while "a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie."

This week, after seeing his great ship of state run aground by the swift-boating of Rep. John Murtha, Bush takes (almost) all of it back.

story.bush.china.jpgAfter fiercely defending his Iraq policy across Asia, President Bush abruptly toned down his attack on war critics Sunday and said there was nothing unpatriotic about opposing his strategy. "People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq," Bush said, three days after agreeing with Vice President Dick Cheney that the critics were "reprehensible."

The president also praised Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), as "a fine man" and a strong supporter of the military despite the congressman's call for troop withdrawal as soon as possible.

. . . Thousands of miles from home, Bush and other White House officials have not let a day go by without a tough counterattack against Democratic critics of the president's Iraq policies. But the president replaced the no-holds-barred approach with a softer tone Sunday. "I heard somebody say, `Well, maybe so-and-so is not patriotic because they disagree with my position.' I totally reject that thought," Bush said.

"This is not an issue of who's patriotic and who's not patriotic," he said. "It's an issue of an honest, open debate about the way forward in Iraq."

An honest debate, wherein the first thing you do is attack the honesty of your opponents - followed quickly by eating your words with a side of crow? Indeed.

story.cheney.jpgEven Cheney has softened his blows.

Cheney stopped short of joining those Republicans who have questioned the patriotism and courage of Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, calling him "a good man, a Marine, a patriot." Cheney's subdued comments about Murtha followed those of President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Still he did cling to the primary party line:

"The flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight. But any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false," Cheney said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute.

This defense of course leaves open the possibilty that those other than the "Leader of the nation" were responsible for the distortions -- quite possibily even Cheney himself. He was clearly involved in the discussions of "how to handle Wilson", as well as took numerious personal trips down the CIA to talk directly with analysts. and according to State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson had a virtual Cabal with Donald Rumsfeld and actually attempted to block some papers from being included in the Senate Intelligence report.

As I've repeatedly said - the question depends on whether the President himself was made aware via his Daily Briefings that the DIA suspected that al-Libi was lying about links between Saddam and al-Qaeda, that "Curveball" was lying about Iraqi WMD programs, and whether had anything to do with suppressing the DOE and INR's doubt about the Iraqi Nuclear program just as they attempted to squash Joe Wilson's dessent on the Niger Uranium - and George Tenet and/or Condolezza Rice told the British government that the "facts were being fixed around the policy".

Whether Bush was personally aware or not his repeated claims that those in Congress "had the same intelligence" has been thoroughly debunked by not just the WashingtonPost(‘Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material.’), John Kerry ("...the only people who are trying to rewrite that history are the President and his Republican allies."), but also former Sen. Bob Graham who pointed out that the unclassifed version of the pre-war National Intelligence Estimate provided to most congressmen did not include many of the serious doubts about the veracity of claims regarding a renewed Iraq Nuclear program from both the State Department and the Department of Energy.

So disastrous has been the Murtha incident for Republicans that even the Colonel who was allegedly the source for Rep Jean Schmidt's comments has disavowed them.

From the NY Times

Colonel Denies Disparaging Murtha

By The New York Times

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 - A colonel in the Marine reserves has taken issue with how his views were represented in a Republican attack last week on Representative Murtha.

Speaking on the House floor on Friday, Representative Jean Schmidt, Republican of Ohio, asserted that the colonel had "asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, marines never do."

But a spokeswoman for the colonel, Danny R. Bubp, said Ms. Schmidt had misconstrued their conversation.

While Mr. Bubp, a Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, opposes a quick withdrawal for forces, "he did not mention Congressman Murtha by name nor did he mean to disparage Congressman Murtha," said Karen Tabor, his spokeswoman. "He feels as though the words that Congresswoman Schmidt chose did not represent their conversation."

Asked to respond on Monday, the congresswoman's office said only, "Mrs. Schmidt's statement was never meant to disparage Congressman Murtha."
And just to make matters even worse, Donald Rumsfeld on Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer this weekend claimed that the U.S. will begin drawing down at least 20,000 troops in Iraq following the successful completion of this Decembers elections - which is exactly the plan that was suggested by John Kerry over a week ago.

Senator John Kerry introduced in the Senate his plan to succeed in Iraq and bring the vast majority of our combat troops home in a reasonable timeframe tied to specific, responsible benchmarks to transfer responsibility to Iraqis – beginning with the draw down of 20,000 U.S. troops after successful Iraqi elections in December. These additional troops are in Iraq only for the purpose of providing security for the upcoming elections. If they remain in Iraq after that benchmark is achieved, it only exacerbates the sense of American occupation.
With Rumsfeld now lining up with John Kerry on troop withdrawals it should be interesting to see what's happens to the rhetoric of the right-wing when they can no longer use their favorite slur after "Liberal" -- "Traitor".

Then again they could always pitch a bitch about some irrelevant black "X" over Dick Cheney's face on CNN.

Vyan

What the Dems Knew

In a new article in the Washington Post, Former Sen Bob Graham has laid out exactly what he and other Democrats who voted for the Iraq War knew - when they knew it, and most importantly what they didn't know.

What I Knew Before the Invasion

By Bob Graham
Sunday, November 20, 2005; Page B07

In the past week President Bush has twice attacked Democrats for being hypocrites on the Iraq war. "[M]ore than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," he said.

The president's attacks are outrageous. Yes, more than 100 Democrats voted to authorize him to take the nation to war. Most of them, though, like their Republican colleagues, did so in the legitimate belief that the president and his administration were truthful in their statements that Saddam Hussein was a gathering menace -- that if Hussein was not disarmed, the smoking gun would become a mushroom cloud.

The president has undermined trust. No longer will the members of Congress be entitled to accept his veracity. Caveat emptor has become the word. Every member of Congress is on his or her own to determine the truth.

As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and the run-up to the Iraq war, I probably had as much access to the intelligence on which the war was predicated as any other member of Congress.

I, too, presumed the president was being truthful -- until a series of events undercut that confidence.

In February 2002, after a briefing on the status of the war in Afghanistan, the commanding officer, Gen. Tommy Franks, told me the war was being compromised as specialized personnel and equipment were being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for the war in Iraq -- a war more than a year away. Even at this early date, the White House was signaling that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was of such urgency that it had priority over the crushing of al Qaeda.

So, nearly a year before going to war with Iraq or effort in Afghanistan began to be compromised - this criticism has been echoed by not only John Kerry, but also by former CIA Bin Laden Desk Chief Michael Scheuer in his book "Imperial Hubris".
In the early fall of 2002, a joint House-Senate intelligence inquiry committee, which I co-chaired, was in the final stages of its investigation of what happened before Sept. 11. As the unclassified final report of the inquiry documented, several failures of intelligence contributed to the tragedy. But as of October 2002, 13 months later, the administration was resisting initiating any substantial action to understand, much less fix, those problems.

At a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Sept. 5, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. An NIE is the product of the entire intelligence community, and its most comprehensive assessment. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared. Invoking our rarely used senatorial authority, I directed the completion of an NIE.

Tenet objected, saying that his people were too committed to other assignments to analyze Saddam Hussein's capabilities and will to use chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons. We insisted, and three weeks later the community produced a classified NIE.

It's important to note here as Sen Graham does - that the Administration did not willing provide an NIE to the Congress prior to the Iraq War, such information was only provided as a result of actions demanding it be Sens. Graham and Durbin.

There were troubling aspects to this 90-page document. While slanted toward the conclusion that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction stored or produced at 550 sites, it contained vigorous dissents on key parts of the information, especially by the departments of State and Energy. Particular skepticism was raised about aluminum tubes that were offered as evidence Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. As to Hussein's will to use whatever weapons he might have, the estimate indicated he would not do so [use WMD's] unless he was first attacked.

If Saddam was unlikely to use WMD's unless attacked and provoked - exactly why did we attack him in March of 2003?

Under questioning, Tenet added that the information in the NIE had not been independently verified by an operative responsible to the United States. In fact, no such person was inside Iraq. Most of the alleged intelligence came from Iraqi exiles or third countries, all of which had an interest in the United States' removing Hussein, by force if necessary.

Ok, here's the kicker people --

The American people needed to know these reservations, and I requested that an unclassified, public version of the NIE be prepared. On Oct. 4, Tenet presented a 25-page document titled "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs." It represented an unqualified case that Hussein possessed them, avoided a discussion of whether he had the will to use them and omitted the dissenting opinions contained in the classified version. Its conclusions, such as "If Baghdad acquired sufficient weapons-grade fissile material from abroad, it could make a nuclear weapon within a year," underscored the White House's claim that exactly such material was being provided from Africa to Iraq.

So basically, all the critical questions that needed answering - "how valid is this intelligence" - "can we trust these informants?" - were left out of the unclassified version of the report the most of Congress saw Further, even the classified version did not include additional information that we now know was available as early as Feburary of 2002 from the Defense Intelligence Agency which indicated that the two primary sources for the NIE information were both unreliable (Ibn al-Shayk al-Libi and "Curveball") and very likely liars.
From my advantaged position, I had earlier concluded that a war with Iraq would be a distraction from the successful and expeditious completion of our aims in Afghanistan. Now I had come to question whether the White House was telling the truth -- or even had an interest in knowing the truth.

On Oct. 11, I voted no on the resolution to give the president authority to go to war against Iraq. I was able to apply caveat emptor. Most of my colleagues could not.

So ultimately the question as to whether most of Congress was mislead and misinformed deliberately by the Bush Administration is clearly "yes". The only remaining question is whether the dispositive information available from the DIA, DOE, INR ever reached President Bush before he made various speeches - such as his Cincinnati speach where he claimed...
  • And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Yet, Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world.
  • We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.
  • Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.
  • The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" -- his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.
Did President Bush know that all of these statements were falsehoods when he spoke them, and did he even care? It's interesting to note that the Intelligence Information provided the Congress failed to show the indications that were well available within the Intelligence Community that Iraq might not still possess viable WMD's, did not have an active nuclear program and did not actives links to Al-Qaeda.

Vyan