Is there a plumber in the house?
Posted by Mary
d r i p, d r i p, d r i p, d r i p, d r i p, d r i p, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip....
Darn, that duct tape just doesn't seem to do as well as it use to in stopping those leaks.
Today representatives of the White House were acting like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. As Josh Marshall noted, the number of excuses are starting to create their own stink.
All day long the spinners were spreading their propaganda.
Joe Wilson, who? Oh that nuclear threat by Saddam? We already admitted a while ago that this intelligence was false, but you guys in the press just didn't hear it. Besides, the American public doesn't care, so what's your problem?
Joseph C. Wilson provided his evidence last Sunday. Now, Gregory Thielmann has also come out publicly and said that the administration lied when they said that they had evidence of Saddam was actively trying to acquire material for creating necular weapons.
A former US intelligence official who served under the Bush administration in the build-up to the Iraq war accused the White House yesterday of lying about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
This was the first time an administration official has put his name to specific claims. The whistleblower, Gregory Thielmann, served as a director in the state department's bureau of intelligence until his retirement in September, and had access to the classified reports which formed the basis for the US case against Saddam, spelled out by President Bush and his aides.
Mr Thielmannn said yesterday: "I believe the Bush administration did not provide an accurate picture to the American people of the military threat posed by Iraq."
He conceded that part of the problem lay with US intelligence, but added: "Most of it lies with the way senior officials misused the information they were provided."
Kenneth Pollack told Josh Marshall (before the latest revelations) that it was prefectly reasonable to believe that the faulty evidence showed up in the SOTU because some speechwriter added the British evidence and no one realized there was the problem.
Pollack: .... What they basically say is, look, you know, the vice-president's office did find out but the timing isn't the way that you've got it. And in fact when they found out that it was forged that's what led to its being yanked from Colin Powell's presentation. But simultaneously the speechwriter for the State of the Union address had just gone to the earlier, to the British report basically and pulled it from the British report. And they make the point --- and they're absolutely right about this --- which is that no one saw the State of the Union.
The White House says that this piece of evidence was in the speech for 10 days before for Bush delivered it to the nation and it survived 25 rounds of edits:
White House officials said the uranium claim was included in the president's address last Jan. 28 only after the wording had been approved by the CIA, Pentagon and State Department. In his remarks, Bush declared, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Bartlett said the passage was included in drafts of the speech for at least 10 days before Bush delivered it. Bartlett said he knew of no objections to including the charge, or debate over the wording.
"We wouldn't lead with something that we thought could be refuted," Bartlett said. "There was no debate or questions with regard to that line when it was signed off on. This was not a last-minute addition."
Bartlett said he did not know which White House official wrote that section of the speech, which eventually went through more than 25 drafts. Rough drafts of Bush's State of the Union addresses start with an outline produced by White House speechwriters after conversations with Bush and his closest advisers. The speechwriters solicit input from department and agencies responsible for particular topics, and then officials from those parts of the administration are asked to vet the resulting language.
Ari said it would not have been included if the administration had known it was bad:
Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer, told reporters that the White House only learned after the president's speech that documents that were the basis for his uranium-purchase claim had been forged. "After the speech, information was learned about the forged documents," he said. "With the advantage of hindsight, it's known now what was not known by the White House prior to the speech. This information should not have risen to the level of a presidential speech."
So who signed off on the passage? If every line was vetted by the CIA, the State Department and the Pentagon, why wasn't the problem discovered? When did they discover the problem?
And those WMD? Senior British officials are now saying that they don't expect to find any.
Bush says he has no doubt that he did the right thing. However, as Chris Matthews said, the nuclear charge was the major reason why Americans backed Bush in his war:
MATTHEWS: Tony, let me be honest with you. I know a lot of people who were really doubtful about the need for that war. They didnít buy all this human rights stuff, they didnít buy all this other stuff about chemical. But they were afraid that this guy was getting The Bomb. And thatís the reasonóa lot of people watching this show said, ďI donít want that crazy guy to have The Bomb.Ē And they were told by the president that he was building a bomb, and thatís why they supported the war.
Let's give Bush the benefit of the doubt. He didn't know that the evidence was faulty when he gave the speech.
But by the time he sent the troops into war, he knew his evidence was bad. And he knew that the main reason Americans would back his call was because they believed that charge. Perhaps he needs to explain once more why he decided to go to war and why he couldn't even wait for two more weeks more.