Saturday, May 5

What did Rice Know (about the Niger Forgeries) and when did she know it?

That's what Henry Waxman wants to know. He's already subpoened her, while she remains "dis-inclined" to honor that subpeona claiming that it is a "seperation of powers" issue - but since new revelations have surfaced that a state department analyst clearly identified the Niger documents as "probably a hoax" and "clearly a forgery" three months before the President's 2003 State of the Union address Rice and the State Dept have apparently blocked his access to Congressional Investigators - that view seems increasingly spurious.

It's one thing to dubiously claim that Executive Priviledge extends not simply to communications directly with the President, as has been the historical precedent, and that the now extend all the way to communications between the CIA and NSC, it's quite another to willinging obstruct a lawful Congressional Investigation by refusing to grant them access to witnesses.

It seems the Diva of Dissembling is at it yet again.

ere are the relevant facts from David Corn at Slate:

In mid-October 2002, a nuclear analyst named Simon Dodge in the State Department's intelligence division was forwarded copies of documents purporting to outline a recent sale of 500 tons of yellowcake uranium—which can be enriched for use in nuclear weapons—from the impoverished African nation of Niger to Iraq. As he reviewed the papers—which had been handed to the U.S. Embassy in Italy by an Italian journalist who had received them from a not-so-credible paid source—Dodge zeroed in on a bizarre companion document. It described a secret 2002 meeting at the home of the Iraqi ambassador in Rome of representatives of the world's outlaw states—Iraq, Iran, Sudan, and Libya (and Pakistan, too). The purpose of this session was to form a clandestine alliance against the West and to concoct a "plan of action" for "Global Support."

Iran and Iraq in a secret pact to create a partnership of rogue states? This was something out of James Bond—or Austin Powers. Dodge considered it "completely implausible," as he later told congressional investigators. Yet this memo bore the same "funky" (as he saw it) embassy of Niger stamp that appeared on the uranium-deal papers. That was, for Dodge, a telltale sign. If the uranium-agreement papers were coming from the same source as the outlandish rogue-state alliance memo (and bearing the same suspect markings), they, too, must be fishy. He concluded that the entire set of papers from Italy was likely fraudulent and e-mailed that assessment to colleagues within the intelligence community. Three months later, he reiterated his concerns in a Jan. 12, 2003, e-mail to other intelligence-community analysts and warned that the uranium-purchase agreement "probably is a hoax."

It's become clear that there were plenty of things "fishy" about those Niger documents. First of all was the fact that Iraq already had 500 tons of Yellowcake which had been purchased in the 80's and were under the control of UN Weapons inspectors. And Besides the "funky stamp" noted by Dodge there were a whole host of other problems as documented by Vanity Fair last year.

The forged documents were full of errors. A letter dated October 10, 2000, was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Allele Elhadj Habibou—even though he had been out of office for more than a decade. Its September 28 postmark indicated that somehow the letter had been received nearly two weeks before it was sent. In another letter, President Tandja Mamadou's signature appeared to be phony. The accord signed by him referred to the Niger constitution of May 12, 1965, when a new constitution had been enacted in 1999. One of the letters was dated July 30, 1999, but referred to agreements that were not made until a year later. Finally, the agreement called for the 500 tons of uranium to be transferred from one ship to another in international waters—a spectacularly difficult feat.

In fact long before Dodge - who was apparently the first American official to actually see the documents first hand - the Niger claims had been thoroughly discounted by the intelligence community. According to Vanity Fair's report it had been knocked down at least 19 different times before Bush's State of the Union.

In December 2001, Greg Thielmann, director for strategic proliferation and military affairs at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), reviewed Iraq's W.M.D. program for Colin Powell. As for the Niger report, Thielmann said, "A whole lot of things told us that the report was bogus. This wasn't highly contested. There weren't strong advocates on the other side. It was done, shot down."

By late 2002 Joseph Wilson had already been to Niger and back, to follow up on the Niger documents filing a verbal report with CPD at CIA which was also shared with INR at State. What he found was Bupkis. Not only had the Iraqis failed to get Uranium from Niger, the Nigerian government couldn't have given it too them if they wanted to since the mining operations was under the control by the French and overseen by the IAEA. By the time Wilson returned the story had been essentially debunked.

By now the Niger reports had been discredited more than half a dozen times—by the French in 2001, by the C.I.A. in Rome and in Langley, by the State Department's INR, by some analysts in the Pentagon, by the ambassador to Niger, by Wilson, and yet again by State.

Despite the fact that members of the Intelligence Community were highly skeptical of these documents, the White House continued to press the issue - interjecting references to the Niger claims into President Bush's October Cincinatti speach. An intervention was required...

The C.I.A. faxed a memo to Hadley and the speechwriters telling them to delete the sentence on uranium, "because the amount is in dispute and it is debatable whether it can be acquired from the source. We told Congress that the Brits have exaggerated this issue. Finally, the Iraqis already have 550 metric tons of uranium oxide in their inventory."

Even after this fax, the reference remained in the speach - so George Tenet personally picked up the phone and called Hadley.

According to his Senate testimony, he told Hadley that the "president should not be a fact witness on this issue," because the "reporting was weak." The C.I.A. even put it in writing and faxed it to the N.S.C.

The reference was removed from the speach, but the issue just refuse to remain dead, like a cat from a Stephen King novel.

For the next two months, December 2002 and January 2003, references to the uranium deal resurfaced again and again in "fact sheets," talking-point memos, and speeches. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Rice all declared publicly that Iraq had been caught trying to buy uranium from Niger. On December 19, the claim reappeared on a fact sheet published by the State Department. The bureaucratic battle was unending. In light of the many differing viewpoints, the Pentagon asked the National Intelligence Council, the body that oversees the 15 agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, to resolve the matter. According to The Washington Post, in a January 2003 memo the council replied unequivocally that "the Niger story was baseless and should be laid to rest." The memo went immediately to Bush and his advisers.

Yet, miraculously, Bush still uttered the infamous 16 words on National Television during his 2003 State of Union, fueling greater support for his eventual decision to began a war with Iraq.

Despite Rice claims last week to George Stephanapolous that this has been "well investigated" IT. HAS. NOT. Neither the Robb-Silberman commission nor the Senate Intelligence committe under Roberts addressed this isssue.

And now, on top of the moutainous pile of evidence that the White House was well and repeatedly informed that the Niger story was bogus - we have Dodge's assesment and the stunning fact that the State Department refuses to let him speak to Waxman's Committee even though he is more than willing to do so. Waxman's letter to Rice.

[A] member of your legislative office informed Committee staff that you were prohibiting Mr. Dodge from meeting with Committee investigators. This official claimed that allowing Mr. Dodge to speak with Committee staff would be "inappropriate" because the Committee voted to issue a subpoena to compel your attendance at a hearing on your knowledge of the fabricated evidence.

I assume that your legislative staff was acting without your authorization in this matter. It would be a matter of great concern - as well as an obvious conflict of interest - if you had directed your staff to impede a congressional investigation into matter that may implicate your conduct as National Security Advisor.

In fact, it would be Obstruction of Justice for anyone at State, particularly Secretary Rice, to interfere with a Congressional investigation, not to mention possible Witness Tampering charges and what was that other one again...?

Oh yeah... Contempt of Congress.

Maybe, just maybe, they're so resistant to this inquiry for a reason, perhaps it's the apparently probability that the Niger Forgeries were originated by the U.S. according to a Reagan era CIA Official.

The Italian intelligence service, the military intelligence service, was acquiring information that was really being hand-fed to them by very dubious sources. The Niger documents, for example, which apparently were produced in the United States, yet were funneled through the Italians.

This allegation has also been repeated and supported by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern as he appeared on Tucker Carlson this week.

Tucker:"That memo came from abroad."

McGovern:"Some of it came from abroad, but you know if you trace the memo back and see the characters who are involved, it's my appreciation that the memo leads right back to the doorstep of the Vice President of the United States."

Tucker: "So the Vice President you believe forged, now if the Vice President was behind that forgery, don't you think he would have done a better job?"

McGovern: "I don't think he and Lynn, you know, sat down and did it. I think they farmed it out to a cottage industry of former intelligence agents that did a rather amateurish job."

McGovern is clearly referring to Michael Ledeen, a former member of Reagan's NSC - who had more than few fingers in the Iran-Contra cookie jar - and has long been rumored to have have used his long-standing links to SISMI and the then incoming Bush Administration to act as a rogue independent intelligence operative in 1999 when the forgeries were created. Last year's Vanity Fair article stopped short of claiming it had proof that Ledeen and/or his associates were responsible for the forgery, but McGovern's claim indicates that he may have found information that is more damaging.

Or not, we'll see.

This is all the more reason, of course, for Rice to damn the torpedos and continue play "beat the clock" with the Waxman investigation forcing them into court to gain each and every single peice of information if she can - for now that is.

As I've stated before, they can always simply Impeach Her Arrogant Ass.

Vyan

Friday, May 4

Sheehan Calls Out O'Reilly

He's been lying about her for years now, and so far she's taken it in stride - but now finally the gloves are off and Peace Activist Cindy Sheehan is taking Bill O'Reilly on directly.

I have had enough of Bill O’Reilly’s obsession with me and his unfair and unbalanced program. I almost wrote a piece called, "Oh Really, O’Reilly, " when the Bush Mob mouthpiece was on the David Letterman show and when Letterman stuck up for me, Bill said: "No one goes on my show and calls terrorists ‘freedom fighters." He is one slimy operator because I am sure what he said was true...no one goes on his show and calls terrorists "freedom fighters," but the statement is so misleading because it leads one to believe that I have ever been on his show and have called terrorists "freedom fighters."

The only time I have watched O’Reilly’s show was recently when my dear friend Col. Ann Wright, US Army, Ret. was on the program. She was ostensibly on to comment about the Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners of war during the time when Iran was holding some British Marines as prisoners. O’Reilly turned it into brouhaha about Ann being an " America hater." When Ann saliently pointed out the fact that she had served her country in the U.S. Army for 29 years and asked O’Reilly how many years he served, he had her mike cut.

After that episode, I went back to working on my computer and a few minutes later O’Reilly was talking about me and how I had the "big money" of George Soros behind me and that’s why he had to do his best to "expose" me every chance he gets. At that point, I looked up at my assistant who was sitting next to me and told her to get George Soros on the horn and tell him that his "big money" was about three years late and we really could use the funds.


But Cindy wasn't content just to list a series of grievances - she put forth a demand to take action.

There was a successful campaign led against BushCo and war critic, Don Imus, waged through his advertisers. He was taken off the air and I say it’s about time that grass roots progressives pull the plug on Fox News beginning with the hate-filled rhetoric of Bill O’Reilly.

It is not because of his public libel of me, I have often found his weird attraction to me a little humorous and very sad, but because of G.I. Joe (a letter writer who spouted O'Reilly's rhetoric to Sheehan), I am calling for a boycott of every sponsor of Bill O’Reilly’s show. When his empty spin zone is shut down, hopefully the rest of the purveyors of Bush propaganda will get the message.

We voters, activists, and grass roots peace and justice workers, are in the considerable majority and we are also consumers. It’s about time we used the power of OUR purse strings to hold the "vast wasteland" of Fox News accountable. Then maybe, just maybe, we can get information from our mainstream news sources and not right-wing infotainment. This is something fairly easy to do, and besides a letter to Fox News telling them why you are not supporting O’Reilly and his sponsors, we can focus on what’s important: ending the occupation of Iraq and holding Fox’s best-friends, the Bush Administration, accountable.

Bill O’Reilly: get off your high horse and get off of our TV screens!

TO CALL FOX NEWS CHANNEL:
1-888-369-4762TO E-MAIL GENERAL COMMENTS:
YourComments@foxnews.com


A List and Contact links for O'Reilly's Sponsors can be found here.

My only comment here is that I for one like to have my wingnuts out in the open where we can keep an eye on them. I don't care if O'Reilly is on the air or not - without him Media Matters would be alot less fun - but I do think that there's nothing is wrong with letting Fox Advertisers know where you stand as viewers for their continually enabling the Fraud that this is a "News" channel.

If they want to call themselves "Fox Opinion Channel" and/or "GOP-TV" that's fine with me.

I would like to also ask for people outraged by the lies this station presents on a regular basis to contact their congressman and demand that the Fairness Doctrine be reinstated, that since the FCC is already regulating "Profane Speech" they might as well do the same with Hate Speech from the likes of Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Neal Boortz, Dennis Prager.

It wouldn't shut them down or take any of them off the air - it would just make them and their advertisers have to pay through the nose the next time Ann wants to make "Faggot Jokes" or call 9-11 widows "Harpies". Why stop with just O'Reilly?

Vyan

Thursday, May 3

The Next Veto Threat - Bush *Hearts* Hate Crimes

Fast on the heels on his second all-time Veto, President Bush has already began the rumblings for his third. This time though the issue isn't Stem Cells, or the continuation of the Iraq Escalation - this time he's threatening to Veto legislation that would help prevent hate crimes.

Because, y'know Hate Crimes are something we certainly need more of...

Now exactly why would the President and Conservatives have a hard time with this bill? Could it be that they think they have a right to be bigots? From USA Today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House issued a veto threat Thursday against legislation that would expand federal hate crime law to include attacks motivated by the victims' gender or sexual orientation.

The hate crimes bill, with strong Democratic backing, is expected to pass the House Thursday. Similar legislation is moving through the Senate.

But the legislation, which also would increase the penalties for bias-based violence, has met outspoken resistance from conservative groups and their Republican allies in Congress, who warn that it undermines freedom of speech, religious expression and equal protection under the law.


"Equal protection?" - hm, seems some people are a bit more equal than others in the Conservative mind.

The White House, in a statement, said state and local criminal laws already provide penalties for the crimes defined by the bill and "there has been no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement."


Although the vast majority of Hate Crimes reported in 2005 were cases of Racial Bias (4,691 offenses), the level of Sexual-Orientation Bias is still quite significant with 1,171 offenses. That is only slightly less that the incidents of Religions Bias (1,314) and more than bias based on National Origin (1,144) - not counting of course the recent Police Riot against immigrants on May Day in Los Angeles.

One point that should be emphasized is that this legislation also protects people assaulted for their gender - even if they happen to be straight - which is a statistic which isn't recorded by the FBI Hate Crime stats. In other words, it would protect women and as we've seen in the wake of the I-Mess the attitudes that continue to be projected onto women are no small contributor to violence perpetrated against them.

Somehow I'm not exactly surprised that conservatives who have evicerated Civil Rights Enforcement, attempted to change the constitution to ban same-sex marriage and gave us the so-called partial birth-abortion ban which won't save a single child, but will put far more women at greater risk or serious injury and possible death, especially those who are only 17-years-old and younger - really don't give a rat-ass about protecting women from Hate Crimes either.

I mean, let's not make a Federal Case out of this stuff...

It also questioned the constitutionality of federalizing the acts of violence barred by the bill and said that if it reaches the president's desk "his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill."


That's right - y,see - people like Ann Coulter have a Constitutional Right to call John Edward's a "Faggot" in reference to Isiah Washington's onset rant, or to say Al Gore is "Totally Gay". Rush Limbaugh is constitutionally protected when he wonders who would design Edward's "Inaugural Gown."

But if some violent religious nutbag like say - Eric Robert Rudulf - should take things up a notch from a few fighting words and - I don't know - decide to plant their own IED near a Women's Clinic or a Gay Bar - we wouldn't want to bother the FBI with it would we?

Even so, the legislation in question doesn't address hate speech - vile as much of it may be - it addresses hateful actions, not that James Dobson or John Boehner seems to know the difference.


Radical right-wing groups have lobbied aggressively against this bill. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson called it “insidious legislation” that would “silence and punish Christians for their moral beliefs.” (Listen to Dobson HERE.) The Concerned Women for America said the bill is meant to “grant official government recognition to both homosexual and cross-dressing behaviors, and to silence opposition to those behaviors.”

Today, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) reiterated this far-right talking point. He claimed that under the hate crimes bill, you would be charged with a crime if you were “thinking something bad” before you committed a crime against someone. “I just think it takes us down a path that is very scary.”


This news was posted while I was halfway through this diary, and it brings up something I had considered including by was going to let is slide. Well, not anymore.

The idea that "Hate Crimes" constitute "Thought Crimes" is frankly a total load of BullCrap. Everyday in courts all around the country the question of intent and Premeditation are regularly introduced. What you were thinking when you kill someone is the difference between manslaughter, 2nd and 1st degree murder.

BOHN-er is simply full of it. And in point of fact the focus of the legislation is very limited:

This legislation goes after criminal action, like physical assaults, not name-calling or verbal abuse. The bill clearly states that “evidence of expression or associations of the defendant may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial, unless the evidence specifically relates to that offense.”

The hate crimes legislation is by endorsed by 31 state attorneys general and leading law enforcement agencies. Under current law, federal officials are able to investigate and prosecute “attacks based on race, color, national origin and religion and because the victim was attempting to exercise a federally protected right,” but unable to intervene “in cases where women, gay, transgender or disabled Americans are victims of bias-motivated crimes for who they are.”


All it's doing is allowing already protected federal rights, such as voting, from being abridged for women, gays and the disabled in the same way that it is already (allegedly) protected for racial and ethnic minorities.

For the record, I'm not gay - but I don't see any reasonable problem with that, although I do think I have an idea why some of these guys really can't stand the idea.

Here's some more details from the Hate Crime Stats.

Sexual-Orientation Bias
In 2005, law enforcement agencies reported 1,171 hate crime offenses based on sexual- orientation bias.

* 60.9 percent were anti-male homosexual.
* 19.5 percent were anti-homosexual.
* 15.4 percent were anti-female homosexual.
* 2.3 percent were anti-bisexual.
* 2.0 percent were anti-heterosexua


I've long argued that crimes committed against male-homosexuals are actually crimes against women-by-proxy. In the mind of a rough, tough Malboro kind of man - he's is to adored by women - and women only. The idea of some other guy being attracted to him, and possibly thinking about him in the same way he would treat a women - is repugnant. Those guys don't want someone else treating them the way they treat their girlfriends - FUCK THAT NOISE!

So naturally anyone who even sniffs at this "Man's Man" the wrong way is going to get, and deserves a beat down, right?

IMO there's a common thread among the "Macho Men", particular those who join the military (although thankfully far from all of them) linking the mindset that took us from Tailhook to Abu Ghriab.

It's not an accident that General Pace thinks homosexuality is immoral - despite the latest Scientific information which tends to indicate that being gay is biological and not neccesarily psychological, which means that discrimination against them is exactly a vile as that initiated on the basis of race or other biological factors.

The only "immoral" persons in this situation are the President and his Conservative enablers who continue to seek to deny all of us, gay and/or straight, the equal protection of the law as was promised 139 years ago, yet still has not been realized, by the 14th Amendment.

There are details on how to Contact Your Representatives and let them know how you feel in This Call To Action Diary.

Vyan

Sunday, April 29

The Contempt of Condoleeza

Today the Secretary of State made a whirlwind tour appearing both on Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer and This Week with George Stephanapolous to address the multi-headed shit storm that coming her way from the never-ending 16 Words Controversy, George Tenet's New Book, her failure to respond to 9-11 warnings and apparent "inclination" to ignore a Congressional Subpoena.

Yeah, Life Sure can be a Bitch when you're a Gangsta! eh, Condi?

The most pressing issue, since George Tenet will be appearing on 60 Minutes tonight, is the fact that in his new book he confirms the July 10th briefing with Condi Rice and Stephan Hadley that was first revealed by Bob Woodwards "State of Denial".

Rice originally denied that the briefing had even happened, claiming that it wasn't mentioned in the 9-11 report!

But that canard didn't last long when her spokesman Sean McCormack revealed that there really had been a briefing, but gee it wasn't really any "big deal", ok?

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack [said]... the information Rice got "was not new'’ and didn’t amount to an urgent warning.

Strange, that's not how McClatchy reported it.

One official who helped to prepare the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, described it as a "10 on a scale of 1 to 10″ that "connected the dots" in earlier intelligence reports to present a stark warning that al-Qaida, which had already killed Americans in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and East Africa, was poised to strike again...

Today Schieffer pressed Rice on this issue, using excerpts from tonights 60 minutes report where Tenet states that his briefing was intended to spark immediate pre-emptive offensive attacks in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda.

Rice: The idea of launching preemptive strikes into Afghanistan in July of 2001, this is a new fact. I don't know what we were supposed to pre-emptively strike in Afghanistan. Perhaps someone should ask that question...

A New Fact? Really? Back when the Woodward's book came out, it was discussed on Olberman with Roger Cressey.

OLBERMANN: My first question, you‘re now consulting within a firm with Richard Clarke, who was at that meeting on July 10, on the central question of whether Rice was warned then of an attack on the U.S. Do we know who‘s right here, Woodward or Secretary Rice?

CRESSEY: Yes, she was warned. I mean, there was a meeting. It was George Tenet, Dick Clarke, another individual from the agency, Cofer Black, and Steve Hadley. And what it was, Keith, was a briefing for Dr. Rice that was similar to a briefing the CIA gave to us in the situation room about a week before, laying out the information, the intelligence, laying out the sense of urgency. And it was pretty much given to Dr. Rice and Steve Hadley in pretty stark terms.

But it was more than just a warning - there was a plan attached also.

OLBERMANN: The $500 million Cofer Black action plan against bin Laden, would have read like crazy talk if that had been presented to her as Woodward describes it?

CRESSEY: Not crazy talk, but because in some respects, that‘s what we did after 9/11...

Although Cofer's amazing Bucket-o-Bin-Laden's-Head plan was probably a tad over the top (Wassa matter, they don't make decent Pikes no more?!), at the very least they could have done what Bill Clinton Did in 1998 against Al Qaeda and even if they didn't kill bin Laden, they could have disrupted their operations and sent a signal that we were on to them, just as he had with the Lincoln and Holland Tunnel Attacks and the Millenium Bomb Plot. It might have postponed or even caused 9-11 to be aborted.

Or they could have done what Clinton really wanted to do which was have Special Forces go after Bin Laden. Clinton stated...

"Hugh [Shelton, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs], what i think would scare the shit out of these al Qaeda guys more than any cruise missle... would be the sight of U.S. commandos, Ninja guys in black suits, jumping out of helicopters into their camps, spraying machine guns. Even if we don't get the big guys, it will have a good effect."

Except that the Joint Chief's wouldn't let him.

Then there was the Armed Predator Project which had languished on the shelf since Bush had taken office, and the fact that despite Richard Clark's desperate plea for a meeting of the NSC Principles to discuss the immentent threat of Al Qeada and implement his PLAN TO ATTACK AND DISMANTLE THEM (pdf) back in January of 2001 - No Such Meeting took place until September!

Anyway, while the Bush Administration was laying down in the face of Al Qaeda - they were more than ready to stand up and swat down the "imminent threat" of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Rice on This Week today. (Not an exact transcript)

Stephanapolous: So was Iraq really an imminent threat?

Rice: Imminent? An "imminent threat" is not "if somebody is going to strike tomorrow," but rather, "it’s whether you believe you’re in a stronger position today to deal with the threat, or whether you’re going to be in a stronger position...

Well, what we tried to do was assess whether the threat was growing better or worse. Saddam has abused the UN Oil for Food Program. His people were under harsh sanctions, while he was enriching himself. He was still filing mass graves. This was a threat that needed to be dealt with. It was the totality of the picture prompted the President to make the decision he made

Ok, we had to solve the mass grave problem in Iraq, but not in Darfur? We had to "Get Saddam" but Bin Laden wasn't news? Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S. was "Historical Information?" Yeah, right.

It's odd that I've never noticed a single mention of Mass Graves in HJ 141, the Iraq Force Resolution. But maybe that's because IT DOESN'T HAVE ANY.

It does say this...

Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;

This seems to be more about recovering our MIA's and property stolen from Kuwait during the First Gulf War than addressing the "imminent threat of Iraqi mass graves", doesn't it?

Well, it does talk about Saddam Hussein's attempts to gather WMD's and Nuclear Materials.

Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated;

Unfortunately, none of this was true.

Which then leads us to the next issue that Rice was hammered about this morning - The 16 Words.

Back in 2003 Rice said on This Week:

The Intelligence Community did not know, at least at levels that got to us (in the White House), that their were serious questions about this report

And today on This Week:

Stephanopolous: But that statement wasn't true. You and Stephen Hadley received a memo in October of 2002 that indicated that there were serious questions [ about the 16 words report].

On both shows, Rice stuck to her talking points.

This has been one of the most investigation issues...

The information was included in the NIE...

Both the Robb-Silbermann Commission and the Select Senate Commitee have addressed this...

I have answered these questions [of Rep Waxman] with hundreds of pages of documents and with several letters...

I answered these questions at my confirmation hearing...

Maybe we [Hadley and I] should have remembered [to keep the 16 words out after the Cincinatti speach], but we didn't

In point of fact neither the Robb-Silberman Commission or the Senate Select Commitee investigation had the authority to address the question of how the Bush Administration used, manipulated and/or ignored the intelligence it was provided.

The Robb-Silbermann commission essentially blames the Intelligence Community for Bush's 16 word mistake.

The Intelligence Community failed to authenticate in a timely fashion transparently forged documents purporting to show that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from Niger.

This is basically true, since the CIA didn't yet have copies of the documents in question, but they had sent Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate and he had found that there was no "there" there. Besides the NIE did include a a lengthy dissent from the State & Energy Depts about the viabiilty of aluminum tubing for use in a centerfuge.

Contrary to her claims Sec Rice has not addressed all of Waxman's questions...

In my March I2 letter, l requested information about what you knew about this assertion and how it ended up in the State of the Union address. I asked you to answer specific questions raised in a June 10, 2003, letter and a July 29,2003, letter, both of which I enclosed. These questions included: (1) whether you had any knowledge that would explain why President Bush cited forged evidence about Iraq’s efforts to procure uranium from Niger in the State of the Union address; (2) whether you knew before the State of the Union address of the doubts raised by the CIA and the State Department about the veracity of the Niger claim; (3) whether there was a factual basis for your reference in a January 23,2003, op-ed to "Iraq’s efforts to get uranium from abroad"; and (4) whether you took appropriate steps to investigate how the Niger claim ended up in the State of the Union address after it was revealed to be fraudulent.

He has sent her a total of 16 letters, most of which she has blown-off.

According to Committee records, you have satisfactorily responded to only five of those 16 letters.

Now she's been put under subpoena and she's going to blow that off too.

Rice apparently feels that a) She's already answered the question and/or b) She prefers to answer them on TV, but not in front of the House Oversight Commitee.

Stephanopolous: Why not Testify?

Rice: It's a seperation of powers issue. I was in the White House, and it's up to the White House Counsel's Office.

Stephanopolous: Waxman intends to site you for Contempt of Congress

Rice (and Hadley's) problem here is that George Tenet didn't just send a single memo about the Niger issue. He sent several, as well as phone calls. From the Washington Post via Common Dreams.

The officials made the disclosure hours after they were alerted by the CIA to the existence of a memo sent to [Bush]'s deputy national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, on Oct. 6. The White House said Bush's chief speechwriter, Michael Gerson, on Friday night discovered another memo from the CIA, dated Oct. 5, also expressing doubts about the Africa claims.

Hadley, who also received a phone call from CIA Director George J. Tenet before the president's Oct. 7 speech asking that the Africa allegation be removed, took the blame for allowing the charge to be revived in the State of the Union address. "I should have recalled . . . that there was controversy associated with the uranium issue," he said

Shortly after Friday's briefing, [Dan Bartlett] and Hadley said yesterday, Gerson discovered the first of two CIA memos to the White House from last October. The CIA memo, dated Oct. 5 and addressed to Gerson, Hadley and others, objected to a sentence that the White House included in a draft of Bush's upcoming speech, saying [Saddam Hussein]'s "regime has been caught attempting to purchase" uranium in Africa. The officials did not release the memo but said the uranium information was on Page 3 of a four-page document.

Oh, it was all the way back on Page 3? So you guys only read the cliff notes of your memos from the CIA now?

Two memos and a call directly from the Director of Central Intelligence himself - and they just plain forgot? No wonder she doesn't want to go under oath with that stinker of a story. The "I was just too busy" defense didn't work for Scooter and it doesn't work here.

Instead Rice intends to play chicken with the Congress, which could get very interesting indeed. As Kagro X has mentioned, there have been occasions when the Attorney Generals' Office has declined to prosecute a Contempt of Congress Charge against an Administration official, but that isn't the last card they have to play.

Just as John Murtha brought up today during his appearance on Face the Nation in regards to influencing the President - they also have the option of Impeachment, particularly if the Alberto Gonzales hand-picked lapdogs at the DOJ decide not to prosecute Secretary Rice for the pure and utter Contempt she's shown the Congress and the American people with this cock and bull story of her's.

The simple fact is that she failed to respond to genuinely urgent warnings about Al Qaeda and then ignored evidence that Saddam Hussein wasn't any kind of imminent threat to the U.S. Even the NIE, incomplete though it was, still stated that "he was unlike to use WMD's Unless he was provoked."

So of course, we provoked him didn't we!

The body count for the blunder of ignoring what the weapons inspectors were actually saying ("The U.S. Intel is Garbage") has risen to over 3,300 for Americans and hundreds of thousands for Iraqis, not to mention those who've been permenently wounded by this war - and those who were needlessly lost on 9-11.

It's high time someone was held accountable for the fact that the Bush Administration was completely asleep at the switch on 9-11 and the total FusterCluck we're made out of Iraq. Rice is as good a person to start with as anyone.

Investigate, Indict, Impeach, Remove - then Rinse and Repeat.

Update 4-30-07:

Ok, I've had a chance to review Tenet's performance on 60 Minutes and first thing I have to say is "Wow, doesn't that guy have some issues!"

Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern has taken him to task on OpedNews.

We write to you on the occasion of the release of your book, At the Center of the Storm. You are on the record complaining about the "damage to your reputation". In our view the damage to your reputation is inconsequential compared to the harm your actions have caused for the U.S. soldiers engaged in combat in Iraq and the national security of the United States. We believe you have a moral obligation to return the Medal of Freedom you received from President George Bush. We also call for you to dedicate a significant percentage of the royalties from your book to the U.S. soldiers and their families who have been killed and wounded in Iraq.

McGovern also recounts what Bob Baer has to say about Tenet's ridiculous of his "Slam Dunk" whine...

"So, it is better that the 'slam dunk' referred to the ease with which the war could be sold? I guess I missed that part of the National Security Act delineating the functions of the CIA - the part about CIA marketing a war. Guess that's why I never made it into senior management."

I myself have two major bones to pick with him. First his claim that "Enhanced Interrogation" has been worth it.

What he seems to conveniently forget is that while he was sitting there behind Colin Powell at the UN while he talked about Al Qaeda and Saddam being "in cooperation" - that information came from someone who had been part of the CIA Ghost Detainee program named Ibn Sheik al-Libi and that al-Libi had told us what we wanted to hear in order to stop being tortured.

Former CIA European Chief Tyler Drumheller had tried to remove references to "biological labs" from the UN Speech because he knew the information came from a source he knew to be a fabricator codenamed "Curveball". Yet those references found their way back into the speech.

Tenet may like to protend that "No one has died" from being tortured under the CIA program, but he ignores the fact that the Pentagon and Military intelligence have also implemented their own interrogation and Ghost Detainee programs which have so far resulted in the deaths of at least 26 people (that we know of so far).

Yes, it is to his credit that Tenet tried to have the 16 words removed from various speeches made by the President - but he wasn't the only one.

Vanity Fair has found at least 14 instances prior to the 2003 State of the Union in which analysts at the C.I.A., the State Department, or other government agencies who had examined the Niger documents or reports about them raised serious doubts about their legitimacy--only to be rebuffed by Bush-administration officials who wanted to use the material. "They were just relentless," says Wilkerson, who later prepared Colin Powell's presentation before the United Nations General Assembly. "You would take it out and they would stick it back in. That was their favorite bureaucratic technique--ruthless relentlessness."

The second issue I have with Tenet is this arguement that the CIA had assets on the ground in Afghanistan in 1999 that could have "done something about bin Laden, but President Clinton wouldn't give the go ahead."

This is frankly a line of bull. Former NSC member Roger Cressey has already debunked this:

Mr. Miniter (In his Book "Losing Bin Laden") also alleges that in the spring and summer of 1998 the Clinton administration was deadlocked over the decision to conduct a special forces mission near a bin Laden camp. Mr. Miniter suggests that the president did not want to overrule Pentagon concerns over risks because he could not "stomach sending thousands of troops into harm's way." Mr. Clinton was, in fact, ready and willing to undertake a special forces or other paramilitary assault on bin Laden, particularly after our missile attacks on bin Laden in the summer of 1998, and often pressed his senior military advisers for options. But Mr. Clinton's top military and intelligence advisers concluded that a commando raid was likely to be a failure, given the potential for detection, in the absence of reliable, predictive intelligence on bin Laden's whereabouts.
Mr. Clinton approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al Qaeda. As President Bush well knows, bin Laden was and remains very good at staying hidden.

In point of fact, it wasn't Clinton who refused to pull the trigger on bin Laden when he might have had a chance - it was Tenet as has been documented by Richard Clark as he debunked ABC's "Path to 9-11".

  1. Contrary to the movie, no US military or CIA personnel were on the ground in Afghanistan and saw bin Laden.
  1. Contrary to the movie, the head of the Northern Alliance, Masood, was no where near the alleged bin Ladin camp and did not see UBL.
  1. Contrary to the movie, the CIA Director actually said that he could not recommend a strike on the camp because the information was single sourced and we would have no way to know if bin Laden was in the target area by the time a cruise missile hit it.

Vyan

Vyan