Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Senator Levin: Bush Lied
Today's report is a devastating indictment of the Bush administration's unrelenting, misleading, and deceptive attempts to convince the American people that Saddam Hussein was linked with al-Qaida, the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack. The President said this week that "One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." Well, that shouldn't surprise anybody. The President's decision to ignore intelligence community assessments prior to the Iraq war and to make repeated public statements that gave the misleading impression that Saddam Hussein's regime was connected to the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 cost him any credibility he may have had on this issue. President Bush said Saddam and al-Qaida were "allies" and that "You can't distinguish between al-Qaida and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror." The bipartisan report released today directly contradicts that linkage which the President has consistently made in his effort to build public support for his Iraq policy. The bipartisan committee report finds that the prewar intelligence assessments were right when the intelligence community said Saddam and al-Qaida were independent actors who were far from being natural partners.... The accurate prewar intelligence assessments didn't stop the administration from making many false and misleading statements trying to link Saddam Hussein with al-Qaida. [...] Just 2 weeks ago, the President said in a press conference that Saddam Hussein "had relations with Zarqawi.'' Our Intelligence Committee report demonstrates that statement made 2 weeks ago by the President was false. The committee report discloses, for the first time, the CIA's October 2005 assessment that Saddam's regime "did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye towards Zarqawi and his associates." The President's statement made just 2 weeks ago is flat out false. [...] On September 25, 2002, the President said "Al-Qaida hides. Saddam doesn't, but the danger is that they work in concert. The danger is that al-Qaida becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world." And then he said "You can't distinguish between al-Qaida and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror." The next day, in September of 2002, Secretary Rumsfeld said "We have what we consider to be credible evidence that al-Qaida's leaders have sought contacts in Iraq who would help them acquire weapons of mass destruction capabilities." On 14, 2002, the President said "This is a man [Saddam] that we know has had connections with al-Qaida. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al-Qaida as a forward army." On January 30, 2003, Vice President Cheney said: "Saddam's regime aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaida. He could decide secretly to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against us. And as the President said on Tuesday it would just take one vial, one canister, one crate to bring a day of horror to our Nation unlike any we have ever known." On February 6, 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz said "And, worst of all, his connections with terrorists which go back decades and which started some 10 years ago with al-Qaida are growing every day." [...] In addition to trying to create the impression that Iraq was connected to the 9/11 attackers, the administration also claimed that Iraq had provided al-Qaida with training in poisons and gases. For instance, in a speech on October 2002, the President said, "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaida members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.'' In February, 2003, the President said, "Iraq has also provided al-Qaida with chemical and biological weapons training.'' In March of 2003, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said there was a "very strong link to training al-Qaida in chemical and biological weapons techniques, we know from a detainee that–the head of training for al-Qaida, that they sought help in developing chemical and biological weapons because they weren't doing very well on their own. They sought it in Iraq. They received the help.'' Those statements were based on representations of Ibn al Shaykh al-Libi, a detained senior al-Qaida operative. But what the administration hid was the fact that the Defense Intelligence Agency did not believe al-Libi's statement. In February 2002, a year before the President claimed that Iraq "provided al-Qaida with chemical and biological weapons training,'' the DIA assessed that al-Libi "is more likely…intentionally misleading the debriefers.'' [...] On October 8, 2002, the Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, issued a statement that "there is no inconsistency between our view of Saddam's growing threat and the view expressed by the President in his speech.'' The Tenet statement was aimed at damage control and it undercut the CIA's own crucial assessment at a critical moment. The New York Times quoted Tenet prominently in a major story on October 9. [...] Director Tenet issued that statement at the behest of the administration on the eve of the Congress's debate on the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq. The use of the Director of Central Intelligence by the administration to contradict his own agency's assessment in order to support a policy goal of the administration is reprehensible, and it seriously damaged the credibility of the CIA.These instances of flagrant lies, damning as they are, are merely the things Senator Levin can tell us about. In the middle of this speech, the senator warns us:
The intelligence assessments contained in the Intelligence Committee's unclassified report are an indictment of the administration's unrelenting and misleading attempts to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11. But portions of the report which the intelligence community leaders have determined to keep from public view provide some of the most damaging evidence of this administration's falsehoods and distortions.... Much of the information redacted from the public report does not jeopardize any intelligence source or method but serves effectively to cover up certain highly offensive activities.As Keith Olbermann said: "The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is 'lying by implication.' The impolite phrase is 'impeachable offense'."
* misleading impression
* directly contradicts
* false and misleading statements
* flat out false.
* falsehoods and distortions...
It's great that we have an accurate-information teller in the Senate.
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