Thursday :: Jul 10, 2003

Thursday Night “Bush Lied About Niger” Update

by Steve

Tonight, we are told that the CIA was so troubled by the claims by British intelligence about the Niger uranium story that they tried to talk the Brits into killing the claim as far back as September 2002. This means that the Ambassador Wilson information had made its way to the top of at least the CIA and the White House as far back as September, since Bush would have known from Blair that the Brits rejected the CIA attempts to kill the story. Yet Rummy said yesterday to the Senate Armed Services Committee that he only learned recently about the problems with the Niger story. For this claim to be true, Rummy would have had to ignore what the CIA was trying to tell the Brits since September 2002. To believe Rummy’s claim we would have to believe that Rummy hasn’t talked to George Tenet or Colin Powell since at least September 2002.

Second, Powell told the world that the Niger story was too weak to use in the speech to the United Nations. Yet he and Bush apparently found it credible enough for the President to use on his own people in the SOTU, as Powell defended Bush today over the SOTU error. What this says is that Powell feels more concern for his own credibility amongst his peers at the UN, but doesn’t feel Bush owes his own people the same level of honesty in a SOTU given a week before. Why is this?

Powell knew the IAEA and the CIA already destroyed the Niger story because State, the NSC, and the CIA had been briefed by Wilson. Yet when it comes to using this same unsupported evidence to bamboozle the American people into a war at a SOTU, such a lack of concern for the truth is apparently OK as “an honest mistake” even though 200 Americans have now died from Bush’s “honest mistake.”

Even though the President’s own intelligence service had taken the extraordinary step of trying to convince an ally five months before to drop a claim they felt was unsupportable, the President ignored that and included the claim anyway contrary to his own agency. The Brits have never given their evidence to their chief coalition partner, according to both sides of the pond, and Blair is sticking to his story that there was more than the Niger story to warrant the claim. Yet despite demands from his own Parliament to produce such other evidence, 10 Downing Street has failed to do so. And the IAEA has said for a week now that the only evidence they were aware of on Niger wasn’t anything from the Brits, but solely the discredited information from the Americans.

The Bushies are now quite willing to say that they got their information from the Brits, information the Brits say the Americans never saw. On top of this, CBS News confirmed tonight that Bush went ahead with the Niger claim in the SOTU after the CIA told him they couldn’t support it. When Bush changed the origin of the claim in the text to reflect a British origin, the CIA relented. Yet according to Blair, the Brits to this day have never shared that evidence with Bush or the CIA. So if we are to believe this, Bush overruled his CIA and took what Blair was saying on faith without asking for proof.

Sounds like a well-run organization.

Steve :: 11:23 AM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!