Thursday, February 05, 2004

When No One Wants To Take Blame, Maybe the Truth Will Prevail

David Kay testified in a Senate hearing that they were all wrong but interestingly (though not likely coincidentally), just as George Tenet stated in Georgetown today, neither was "pressured" for a conclusion. However, George Tenet, is apparently not willing to take the fall for faulty intelligence on the part of his agency leading to the conclusion of any imminent threat.
via Alternet

In a major speech this morning addressing the failure to find WMD in Iraq, CIA Director George Tenet said the intelligence community never told the White House that Iraq was an imminent threat to America -a stunning blow to the White House, considering its repeated and unequivocal claims that war was necessary because Iraq was an "imminent," "immediate," "urgent" and "mortal" threat. While the White House has tried to say it never claimed Iraq was an imminent threat, the record proves otherwise. Tenet's speech follows an interview last night on 60 Minutes II with the State Department's top intelligence officer Greg Theilmann, who said, "The main problem [before the war] was that the senior administration officials have what I call faith-based intelligence. They knew what they wanted the intelligence to show ... They were really blind and deaf to any kind of countervailing information the intelligence community would produce. I would assign some blame to the intelligence community and most of the blame to the senior administration officials."

Tenet's remarks are consistent with the intelligence community's repeated warnings to the White House that the President's WMD case for war was weak. Not only did the intelligence community not say Iraq was an imminent threat, but in many instances they acknowledged they had no hard evidence about Iraq's WMD at all. Consider this: In 1997, the International Atomic Energy Agency verified there were "no indications" that Iraq was able to produce nuclear weapons or had "clandestinely acquired such material." The Defense Intelligence Agency told the White House in September, 2002 that there was "no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons" and said, "a substantial amount of Iraq's chemical warfare agents, precursors, munitions, and production equipment were destroyed between 1991 and 1998 as a result of Operation Desert Storm and UN actions." The State Department's intelligence agency warned the White House against the WMD claims in October 2002, saying, "The activities we have detected do not ... add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquiring nuclear weapons."

David Kay publicly disagreed with Tenet's assessment today (no link thus far). Perhaps, in their unwillingness to be scapegoats, information will be forthcoming from sources within the CIA.

Of course, the pResident is going to handpick appoint a commission Friday to investigate prewar intelligence that led the United States to mistakenly conclude that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction, U.S. officials told NBC News on Thursday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the nine-member panel would likely include Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who broke ranks with his party and joined Democrats in demanding an investigation, and David Kay, the former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq.

Kay, who told Congress last week that Iraq?s purported weapons did not exist at the time of the U.S. invasion last spring, denied that he had been asked to serve on the panel in an interview Thursday with CNBC's Capitol Report.

"I've had no discussion with anyone concerning whether I should serve or who else should serve," said Kay, who would not comment when asked whether he would serve on the panel if asked."
If that isn't enough, let's throw Hans Blix into the mix as he has a new book coming out, on nothing other than, you guessed it, Iraq.

Ah, so now it was a mistaken conclusion. Things could get interesting much sooner than The Administration would like them to -stay tuned.


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