Rice Lies Again This Morning on Fox
Condi Rice got away with it again this morning with the hapless lapdog Tony Snow. Snow should have at least challenged this:
SNOW: Based on what you know, would it be safe to say that Saddam did not have nuclear weapons? He wanted to reconstitute the program, but did not have nuclear weapons when the war commenced?
RICE: I believe, if you look back, Tony, we have never said that we thought that he had nuclear weapons. This was an issue of reconstitution, of how quickly he might be able to reconstitute a vast infrastructure that was still in place, of the fact that we missed, the last time around, how close he was to a nuclear weapon.
Except that Dick Cheney did say to Russert on March 16, 2003 just before the war that Saddam has reconstituted nuclear weapons.
Let's talk about the nuclear proposition for a minute. We know that based on intelligence, that [Saddam] has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He's had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.
But then Condi is not alone in perpetrating this lie. Her soulmate Rummy also claims that no one said Saddam had nuclear weapons.
You may be reading too much. I don't know anybody that I can think of who has contended that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons.(Donald Rumsfeld-June 24, 2003)
But at least Snow did bring up the damaging Washington Post story this morning that in essence paints Rice and Bush as liars that they didn’t know about the concerns over the Niger story until recently.
SNOW: OK, I want to talk more about Iraq in a moment. But let's get back to the State of the Union address and some of the stories.
"The Washington Post" today has a story that when the president spoke in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 7th last year, the CIA director, George Tenet, directly struck out a reference to yellow cakes from Niger. And he passed that word on to Steve Hadley, who was your deputy.
Did you know at the time about the striking of that sentence?
RICE: I saw the speech after it has been struck. But let me just say, the Cincinnati speech was constructed apparently with a reference to a specific incident, one specific incident, based on a specific source. The director told Steve Hadley in a brief conversation that he didn't want — taken out, without question, taken out.
Now, the State of the Union was then constructed with language that was broader than a single incident and a single place and a particular quantity.
SNOW: So you...
RICE: It was based instead on broader information, including the British report, which the British say is broader.
SNOW: All right, so when people are saying that the sentence in the State of the Union is simply a clever way of covering up a discredited story about yellow cakes from Niger, you say that's not true. There were more sources of what?
RICE: There were broader statements taken out of the NIE than this...
SNOW: The National Intelligence Estimate.
RICE: The National Intelligence Estimate — than that particular story which had been in the Cincinnati speech.
We then sent what was in the State of the Union out for clearance. There was some discussion about what should be said, how much could be said. The sentence that was agreed upon, which is the one that appeared, "The British intelligence services have found" so forth and so on, was then cleared as a part of the speech in its entirety by the DCI.
SNOW: As you know, I've worked on State of the Union addresses. And typically, guidance for that kind of language comes from your office, from the National Security Council. The CIA doesn't talk to speech writers, at least not very often.
RICE: No, that's right.
RICE: Well, in fact, what we do is that we put together a lot of documentation from all kinds of sources and give that to the speech writers as grist to write from.
SNOW: Yes, and you approve — I mean, quite often, your office drafts language. Did your talking points include mention of the possibility that Saddam was trying to obtain uranium from Africa?
RICE: What was given to the speech writers was, in effect, data from various sources about the nuclear activities of Saddam Hussein. The National Intelligence Estimate had references to uranium acquisition, not only to the specific source, the specific case. And that was, I understand, given to the speech writers; they wrote it.
But what we do, Tony — and I want to be very clear — is that it is also the practice, once something is written, to send it out to the agencies and to say, "Will you stand by this?"
SNOW: Right. So you now say that it doesn't rise to the standard. Is the president mad? The president ought to be ticked about this.
RICE: The president understands that what he said was, first of all, accurate, but secondly, that we have higher standards for what he says. And the reason that we send this out in the clearance process is because we're trying to meet that higher standard.
SNOW: OK, the question that people have is — I mean, you keep talking about a higher standard, and yet this got through. There had been specific requests to delete something that was similar from an October speech. How did it happen?
RICE: Tony, first of all, it was not something that was similar. It was based on different sourcing, and it was broader. It was also, with the British report, in the British report in a way that it's actually sourced in the speech.
So its OK to say it came from the British, even though no one in the US has ever seen the evidence behind the British report?
Now, what we have to depend on, and this is what the director said, we have to depend on the intelligence agencies to say, "No, we're not confident enough in that for the president of the United States to say it."
SNOW: Do you — I look at "The Washington Post" story and I think, you know what, this looks like something somebody at the CIA is leaking to fire back at the White House. How'd you read it?
RICE: I don't know. I don't know where the story comes from. I've said what the story is. The story is that, for Cincinnati, there was a reference in the speech that was specific to an amount, and therefore came from a particular source about a specific place. The director said, "Can't stand with that," took it out without question.
In the State of the Union, we looked at the intelligence. We did say, do you have anything more? They said there was in the NIE, the National Intelligence Estimate, a broader story that had to do with other places in Africa. And so it says, "The British have said" — which is accurate — "The British have said that" so forth and so on.
Now, as Director Tenet has said, he is responsible for his agency's process. I am a — have a very close working relationship with the director. We both agree it was a mistake for this to go in, because it didn't meet the president's standards.
SNOW: OK, I'm going to let you off the hook on this one. I want to do a lightning round on a couple of things….
Well at least Snow admits he is letting Rice get away. So let’s recap. Rice is saying that it was OK to kill something specific in the October 2002 speech as Tenet did because the CIA had problems with the reference in question. But she is also saying that the SOTU was based on broader information (the October 2002 NIE and the Brits) and by saying it was based on the British information we have never seen, it was factually correct but Tenet should have stopped it, even though he has never seen what the Brits have?
Lies, lies, lies.