Wednesday :: Jul 9, 2003

Wednesday Morning "Bush Knowingly Lied About Niger" Update


by Steve

The way things are going on this story, Mary and I might as well start a daily update on the Administration's daily lies on this story alone.

Thanks to a tip from Scott, it appears that Bush is trying to tap dance away from having to answer direct questions from reporters while on his Africa trip about the Niger lie. According to an AP wire story and USA Today this morning, Bush will not acknowledge that he used false information in his SOTU to make the case for war; he only focuses on the fact that Saddam is not around any longer to create problems. In other words, a continuation of this Administrationís ďends justifies whatever meansĒ approach to the world, no matter how many soldiers or innocent Iraqis paid for that set of calculations. He remains confident in the decision he made.

Yet while Bush was doing this tap dance, the White House formally retracted his SOTU claim.

And a Newsday piece today contains Ambassador Wilsonís blistering critique of White House efforts to diminish what he did and reported.

A former U.S. diplomat who investigated reports of Iraq buying uranium in Africa yesterday blasted the Bush administration's admission that it used faulty intelligence despite his warnings.

Joseph Wilson, who revealed Sunday that he had been sent on a mission to Niger last year by the CIA, said yesterday in an interview that "with 200 Americans dead [in Iraq] and 150,000 in danger and billions of dollars spent, it is not enough to say, Gilda Radner-like, 'Never mind.'"

Wilson, a former U.S. charge d'affairs in Baghdad and National Security Council staffer, said the administration knew before, not after, the president's speech in January that the allegations were likely false because he had reported this in March 2002 to the State Department and the CIA.

A senior intelligence official told Newsday last month that the information was widely disseminated throughout the administration to "all of God's children."

If you read Carl Levinís comments closely, you will see a clever approach in the making. Levin is taking the stance that he wants to know why the policy makers didnít have the information from the intelligence community that the Niger story was bogus before the SOTU and the Iraq invasion. Levin and most Democratic senators, just from reading the media accounts and Wilsonís own statements recently, already know that the US Intel community had already told the Administration well in advance of the SOTU that the Niger story was crap.

But by posing the question this way, Levin correctly does two things: he forces the CIA and others in the Intel community to defend themselves by saying they did provide the information to the White House, State, and the NSA. And secondly, he keeps from overshooting and coming right out and saying Bush knowingly went to war based on lies he told the American people.

Levin is building a case from the ground up, and not playing into Roveís hands by allowing himself to say something that can be used to discredit him later for overshooting.

It will work.

Steve :: 9:30 AM :: Comments (11) :: Digg It!