Saturday, July 12, 2003

What did he know and when did he know it?

MoDo on the "National House of Waffles":

The Bush administration has known all along that the evidence of the imminent threat of Saddam's weapons and the Al Qaeda connections were pumped up. They were manning the air hose.

Mr. Tenet, in his continuing effort to ingratiate himself to his bosses, agreed to take the fall, trying to minimize a year's worth of war-causing warping of intelligence as a slip of the keyboard. "These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president," he said, in 15 words that were clearly written for him on behalf of the president. But it won't fly.

It was Ms. Rice's responsibility to vet the intelligence facts in the president's speech and take note of the red alert the tentative Tenet was raising. Colin Powell did when he set up camp at the C.I.A. for a week before his U.N. speech, double-checking what he considered unsubstantiated charges that the Cheney chief of staff, Scooter Libby, and other hawks wanted to sluice into his talk.

When the president attributed the information about Iraq trying to get Niger yellowcake to British intelligence, it was a Clintonian bit of flim-flam. Americans did not know what top Bush officials knew: that this "evidence" could not be attributed to American intelligence because the C.I.A. had already debunked it.

Ms. Rice did not throw out the line, even though the C.I.A. had warned her office that it was sketchy. Clearly, a higher power wanted it in. And that had to be Dick Cheney's office.

Dick Cheney as a "Higher Power"... Now that is a truly frightening concept.