Saturday, May 21, 2005

MORE PROOF that Pres. Bush lied to Americans and Congress and the United Nations about the intelligence on Iraq.

It has been clear since the September report of the Iraq Survey Group -- a CIA-sponsored weapons search in Iraq -- that the United States would not find the weapons of mass destruction cited by Bush as the rationale for going to war against Saddam Hussein. But as the Walpole episode suggests, it now appears that even before the war many senior intelligence officials in the government had doubts about the case that was being trumpeted in public by the president and his senior advisers.

The question of prewar intelligence has been thrust back into the public eye with the disclosure of a secret British memo showing that, eight months before the March 2003 start of the war, a senior British intelligence official reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair that U.S. intelligence was being shaped to support a policy of invading Iraq.

Moreover, a close reading of the recent 600-page report by the president's commission on intelligence, and the previous report by the Senate panel, shows that as the war approached many U.S. intelligence analysts were internally questioning almost every major piece of prewar intelligence about Hussein's alleged weapons programs.

These included claims that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium in Africa for its nuclear program, had mobile labs for producing biological weapons, ran an active chemical weapons program and possessed unmanned aircraft that could deliver weapons of mass destruction. All these claims were made by Bush or then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in public addresses even though, the reports made clear, they had yet to be verified by U.S. intelligence agencies.

That second paragraph makes it clear that the Washington Post is trying to make up for lost time after ignoring the British memo for two weeks after it was leaked to the press in England; and maybe flex its muscles a bit so people won't think Bush has them by the short hairs after the Newsweek hullabaloo (the Washington Post Company owns Newsweek, for those who don't already know).

But hey, better late than never, I guess.

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