Thursday, November 17, 2005

So that's what journalism looks like

James Kuhnhenn and Jonathan S. Landay for Knight Ridder. (Emphasis Nitpicker's, link swiped from Froomkin.)
ASSERTION: In his speech, Bush noted that "more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power."

CONTEXT: This isn't true.

The Congress didn't have access to the President's Daily Brief, a top-secret compendium of intelligence on the most pressing national security issues that was sent to the president every morning by former CIA Director George Tenet.

As for prewar intelligence on Iraq, senior administration officials had access to other information and sources that weren't available to lawmakers.

Cheney and his aides visited the CIA and other intelligence agencies to view raw intelligence reports, received briefings and engaged in highly unusual give-and-take sessions with analysts.

Moreover, officials in the White House and the Pentagon received information directly from the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an exile group, circumventing U.S. intelligence agencies, which greatly distrusted the organization.

The INC's information came from Iraqi defectors who claimed that Iraq was hiding chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, had mobile biological-warfare facilities and was training Islamist radicals in assassinations, bombings and hijackings.

The White House emphasized these claims in making its case for war, even though the defectors had shown fabrication or deception in lie-detector tests or had been rejected as unreliable by U.S. intelligence professionals.

All of the exiles' claims turned out to be bogus or remain unproven.

A recently declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report from February 2002 said an Al-Qaida detainee was probably lying to U.S. interrogators when he claimed that Iraq had been teaching members of the terrorist network to use chemical and biological weapons.

Yet eight months after the report was published, Bush told the nation that "we've learned that Iraq has trained Al-Qaida members in bomb-making and poisons and gases."

The resolution that authorized use of force against Iraq didn't specifically address removing Saddam. It gave Bush the power to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq" and to "enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."


Post a Comment

<< Home