Wednesday, April 12, 2006

RECYCLING OLD INTELLIGENCE: John Aravosis takes AP to task for an article today reporting on Pres. Bush's public statements about why he authorized leaks of top-secret information on Iraq's pre-war nuclear program. The AP's Deb Reichmann unquestioningly repeats Pres. Bush's public statements "explaining" why he authorized the leaks:

President Bush said Monday that he declassified sensitive prewar intelligence on Iraq back in 2003 to counter critics who claimed the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

"I wanted people to see the truth and thought it made sense for people to see the truth," Bush said during an appearance at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

"You're not supposed to talk about classified information, and so I declassified the document," he said in a question-and-answer session after delivering a speech on Iraq. "I thought it was important for people to get a better sense for why I was saying what I was saying in my speeches. And I felt I could do so without jeopardizing ongoing intelligence matters, and so I did."

Aravosis asks:

Okay, and do you think it might be relevant to include in the AP story the fact that the information that Bush leaked in order to supposedly "spread the truth" was in fact information that had already been proven wrong months BEFORE Bush authorized it to be leaked?

In other words, Bush wasn't spreading the truth, he was intentionally spreading lies. Do you think you'd find that relevant?

From this weekend's Washington Post:

But according to Libby's grand jury testimony, described for the first time in legal papers filed this week, Cheney "specifically directed" Libby in late June or early July 2003 to pass information to reporters from two classified CIA documents: an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and a March 2002 summary of Wilson's visit to Niger.

One striking feature of that decision -- unremarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it -- is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.

In other words, Bush didn't want people to see the truth, in fact he intentionally leaked false information, information he knew had been disproven months before, in order to trick the American people into supporting the war in Iraq under false circumstances.

If you were a normal human being, and you had a story in front of you about how the president is now claiming he was trying to spread the truth when in fact it's known that the president was knowingly spreading lies, you'd find that last little fact kind of relevant to your story. In fact, you'd find the fact that the president outright lied today a rather BIG story.

But if you're the Associated Press, well, it would seem that you, like Fred Hiatt, can't be bothered to actually follow the news you're writing about. ...

For anyone who doesn't know, Fred Hiatt is the editor of the Washington Post's editorial page, and assumed to be the author of the unsigned editorial in the Sunday edition lauding Pres. Bush for what the editorial calls "a good leak." That piece of uninformed shilling for the RNC was ably taken apart by bloggers like Josh Marshall, who pointed out that even opinion pieces have to be based on facts. Judd at Think Progress posted a point-by-point debunking of all the lies in Hiatt's editorial. Jane Hamsher asked if Hiatt reads his own newspaper; and Jane, Georgia10 at Daily Kos, and Publius at Legal Fiction all note that there was a reason why the president declassified only selected parts of the National Intelligence Estimate.

But the public is not as gullible as the WaPo's editorial page editor. The latest USA Today/Gallup poll, released today, reveals that, by a wide margin, Americans disapprove of Pres. Bush's decision to leak classified information to the press.

The latest USA Today/Gallup poll finds more than 6 in 10 Americans critical of President George W. Bush on the leak controversy. The more closely people are following the issue, the more likely they are to say he did something illegal rather than unethical. The poll also shows that 37% of Americans continue to approve of Bush's job performance, unchanged from last month. ...
Overall, 63% of Americans believe Bush did something either illegal (21%) or unethical (42%), while 28% say he did nothing wrong.
The more closely people are following the issue, the more likely they are to say Bush did something illegal rather than unethical, though expert opinion suggests that Bush has the authority to declassify information and thus his actions could not have been illegal. The less attentive respondents are more likely to think Bush did something unethical rather than illegal.

Eriposte at The Left Coaster has an encylopedic analysis of the so-called "French connection" to the Saddam-attempted-to-purchase-uranium-from-Niger forged intelligence. I have not read it all the way through yet -- and there is actually a second part still to come -- but from my initial skim it looks to be quite an exhaustive and comprehensive history of the forgery.

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