Thursday :: Jul 17, 2003

Durbin Says Tenet Fingered White House Official Yesterday-McClellan Overreacts


by Steve

Well we know why Scott McClellan got the job replacing Ari Fleischer: he is a cutthroat weasel who has no hesitation changing the subject to employ the age-old Bush misdirection plays his predecessor perfected.

Today on ABC’s “Good Morning America”, Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin revealed that George Tenet named the White House official who insisted the unsubstantiated African uranium story be in the SOTU. Durbin did not name the individual due to the confidential nature of the hearings. But the revelation by Tenet of a White House official he was willing to name must have been enough for even the normally Bush-defending Intelligence Committee chair Pat Roberts to confirm that White House officials may now be called also to testify, and that there will be public hearings in September when the Senate returns from its summer recess.

That wasn’t enough for the pathetic McClellan to engage in typical Rovian overkill by blasting Durbin’s credibility this morning by smearing him as someone who wasn’t with the right group in their support of the war. Of course he also said that Durbin was spouting nonsense about Tenet naming a White House official. So we will see pretty soon whether McClellan has any credibility at all, since either Durbin or McClellan is right, not both.

McClellan better hope that his version of what was said behind closed doors yesterday is borne out, since he himself was not there whereas Durbin was. It if turns out that Tenet did name someone and Durbin is right, then McClellan has already sunk as low as his predecessor in his first week on the job and will have no credibility whatsoever.

CIA Director George Tenet told members of Congress a White House official insisted that President Bush's State of the Union address include an assertion about Saddam Hussein's nuclear intentions that had not been verified, a Senate Intelligence Committee member said Thursday.

Sen. Dick Durbin, who was present for a 4 1/2-hour appearance by Tenet behind closed doors with Intelligence Committee members Wednesday, said Tenet named the official. But the Illinois Democrat said that person's identity could not be revealed because of the confidentiality of the proceedings.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan was quick to dispute Durbin's account. "That characterization is nonsense. It's not surprising, coming from someone who was in a rather small minority in Congress who did not support the action we took," McClellan told reporters.

Durbin, appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," said that Tenet "certainly told us who the person was who was insistent on putting this language in which the CIA knew to be incredible, this language about the uranium shipment from Africa."

"And there was this negotiation between the White House and the CIA about just how far you could go and be close to the truth and unfortunately those sixteen words were included in the most important speech the president delivers in any given year," Durbin added.

Countered McClellan: "The whole idea that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was not real was something that was never under debate previously. This is an attempt to continue to rewrite history."

Ah yes, back to that “re-writing history” charge again, are we? Like the many attempts the White House makes to rewrite what Bush said and why he said it in just the last two weeks? The White House is on a slippery slope here in that they keep clinging to the thread that Saddam was a real threat, which in fact was never in doubt. What has been proven to date is that Saddam was not the imminent threat that Bush and Blair made him out to be. It is on this point that the White House case for a March invasion falls apart, since for an imminent threat of WMDs to have been real we would have found something more than twelve-year old disassembled parts buried in the back yard of a Iraqi scientist by now.

Good start in your new job, Scott. Now go back to the hole you emerged from.

Steve :: 9:28 AM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!