Friday, June 13, 2008

Senate Report: Bush Used Iraq Intel He Knew Was False

There's long been a question whether the Bush Administration was knowing telling falsehoods to justify the Iraq War or whether they were just confused. There's no doubt that the justifications they used were false ... but impeachability or culpability in a large extent rests on whether they purposely lied. Of course being so completely confused as to threaten us with Iraqi nuclear weapons, that did not exist, doesn't give any confidence as to their qualifications for high office.

Senate Intelligence Committee has finally released a long delayed report which covers these questions.

...The two final sections of a long-delayed and much anticipated "Phase II" report on the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence, released on Thursday morning, accuse senior White House officials of repeatedly misrepresenting the threat posed by Iraq.

...The "Phase II" report states -- in terms clearer than any previous government publication -- that there was no operational relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, that Bush officials were not truthful about the difficulties the United States would face in post-war Iraq and that their public statements did not reflect intelligence they had at the time, and, specifically, that the intelligence community would not confirm any meeting between Iraqi officials and Mohamed Atta -- a claim that was nevertheless publicly repeated.

"Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence," Rockefeller said in a statement provided to The Huffington Post.

However on a brief read of the reports the situation isn't as clear cut as "they lied" or that everything they said was 100% false.

The report follows a format of, for each type of potential weapon Iraq might have possessed, it first delineates the statements made by the Administration and then explores any existing supporting evidence in various reports. In many cases the administration statements were not completely supportable but not clearly a lie.

On nuclear weapons - The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOMM) repeatedly found that Iraq's nuclear program had been destroyed or neutralized. It was clear they had been buying dual use technologies, however, and that they retained intellectual capital (people and information) that would let them restart a nuclear program if they had the freedom. That it would take 7-8 years, with foreign help, to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon and a bit more time to build a missile. The Defense Intelligence Agency produced several reports discussing the aluminum tubes as dual use material, and attempts to buy nuclear material, however recall that the DIA was this special office set up to concoct propoganda and cooked intelligence. It's not surprising, then, in the next bullet to learn that the Department of Energy (DOE) contradicted these claims. The State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (State/INR) also disagreed, and instead reported that the aluminum tubes were meant for other purposes. The National Ground Intelligence Center had also disagreed and found that the aluminum tubes were consistent with "rocket casings" (which they were) and inconsistent with centrifuges.

...etc...

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