Monday, April 24, 2006


Covering For Mister Thirty-Three Percent

Josh Marshall (via Atrios) was on the phone with Tyler Drumheller yesterday evening. Drumheller is the former CIA officer who was on 60 Minutes last night, explaining that the CIA knew, and kept telling the Bush Administration, that Saddam didn't have squat as far as WMD went. They knew that the Niger yellowcake story was bogus, and told Bush's people -- who then went on as if they hadn't been told. Furthermore, Drumheller brings up the case of Naji Sabri, Iraq's Foreign Minister under Saddam, who the CIA had managed to convert into an operative just before the US invaded in 2003. The Bush Administration was very interested in what such a high-value prize had to say -- that is, until he confirmed what the CIA, UNSCOM, and every other group that actually knew what it was doing had already stated: Saddam had used up all the WMD that Reagan and Rumsfeld and Cheney had given him in the 1980s, and never replaced it. As Marshall says:

Drumheller's account is pretty probative evidence on the question of whether the White House politicized and cherry-picked the Iraq intelligence. So why didn't we hear about any of this in the reports of those Iraq intel commissions that have given the White House a clean bill of health on distorting the intel and misleading the country about what we knew about Iraq's alleged WMD programs? Think about it. It's devastating evidence against their credibility on a slew of levels. Did you read in any of those reports -- even in a way that would protect sources and methods -- that the CIA had turned a key member of the Iraqi regime, that that guy had said there weren't any active weapons programs, and that the White House lost interest in what he was saying as soon as they realized it didn't help the case for war? What about what he said about the Niger story? Did the Robb-Silbermann Commission not hear about what Drumheller had to say? What about the Roberts Committee? I asked Drumheller just those questions when I spoke to him early this evening. He was quite clear. He was interviewed by the Robb-Silbermann Commission. Three times apparently. Did he tell them everything he revealed on tonight's 60 Minutes segment. Absolutely. Drumheller was also interviewed twice by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Roberts Committee) but apparently only after they released their summer 2004 report. Now, quite a few of us have been arguing for almost two years now that those reports were fundamentally dishonest in the story they told about why we were so badly misled in the lead up to war. The fact that none of Drumheller's story managed to find its way into those reports, I think, speaks volumes about the agenda that the writers of those reports were pursuing. "I was stunned," Drumheller told me, when so little of the stuff he had told the commission's and the committee's investigators ended up in their reports. His colleagues, he said, were equally "in shock" that so little of what they related ended up in the reports either. What Drumheller has to say adds quite a lot to our knowledge of what happened in the lead up to war. But what it shows even more clearly is that none of this stuff has yet been investigated by anyone whose principal goal is not covering for the White House.
This is why we need a Democratic Congress. So long as the Democrats in Congress don't have the power to issue subpoenas, this stuff (and far worse) will stay unpunished.

I think it's worse than that, PW.

Democratic staff almost certainly heard Drumheller.

It's time for major turnover of both parties.

But...apres vous, Republicans.
PW, you may need to revise the headline. According to CNN, he's Mr. Thirty-Two Percent.
Actually, the "bipartisan" Robb-Silberman Commission was/is pretty firmly in the hands of Republicans like John McCain and Larry Silberman, who you may recall was one of Ken Starr's nominal bosses and who along with Sentelle enabled Starr to get away with damned near murder for the better part of a decade. No Democratic Senators, or any Democrats with any powers to do much about it.

MEC: Wow. So much for boosting one's ratings through trash-talking Iran. When he crashes through the 30% barrier, do we break out the champagne, dig bomb shelters, or both?
I'm thinking of the Senate Intelligence Committee, PW. Jay Rockefeller is not a fool. Senate staff are not fools. Rockefeller should have blown the whistle on this a long time ago.
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