Did Harry Reid Hit Bill Frist This Week With The "Smoking Gun"?
When Harry Reid shut down the Senate earlier this week due to Pat Roberts and Bill Frist’s stonewalling of a Phase Two investigation over how the Bush Administration used intelligence in making its case for war, many of us wondered why now? What took you guys so long to use a procedural lever that you’ve had available to you all along that could have been employed before the election to raise the issue of Bush’s lies into a campaign issue? Was it a sudden re-growth of guts and balls that did this, or did the Democrats now come into possession of new information that was withheld from them before the election that gave them the club to force this issue out into the open now? We now know the answer, and it is the latter.
According to Editor and Publisher this afternoon, the New York Times has been provided with a previously-classified intelligence document by Senator Carl Levin. And what does this document say, which was provided to the Democrats conveniently months after the 2004 elections?
The intelligence document says that the US intelligence community knew as early as February 2002 that an Al Qaeda operative who was the source for the Bush Administration claims that Saddam was training Al Qaeda members in bomb-making and chemical weapons was indeed a fabricator. And who knew this? Rummy’s Defense Intelligence Agency. And yet what did Bush do eight months later in Cincinnati just before the war resolution?
“Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that ‘we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.’”
Some of you may say that “big deal; so Bush lied about this.” But keep in mind that we now know that the Bush Administration also knew as far back as January 2003 that the Niger uranium claim was based on forgeries. We know that the Bush Administration was also told that the aluminum tubes story was bogus before the invasion as well. We now know that the claim that Saddam was assisting Al Qaeda was also a lie, and that the Administration knew this from Rummy himself as far back as February 2002. And we know that the IAEA was still on the ground in Iraq and had not confirmed any of Bush’s claims that Saddam had definitively stockpiled WMDs in violation of the two UN resolutions that Bush based his war upon.
And why exactly is this so important? Because take a look at the certification that Bush sent to Congress to start the war, which was required in the October 2002 war resolution, and then see that as we suspected over two and a half years ago, Bush has a big problem now:
March 18, 2003
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:
(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and
(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
GEORGE W. BUSH
This latest revelation means that at the time Bush justified the commencement of war against Iraq consistent with what was required under Public Law 107-243, he certified things not in evidence, and made claims to Congress (Saddam’s active operation of a WMD program and Saddam’s assistance to Al Qaeda) that he, Cheney, and Rummy already knew were false.
He lied to Congress to start the war. And now 53% of the American public says that if it is clear that Bush lied, they would support Congress considering impeachment proceedings against the president.
That may be why the Democrats just now made their stand this week. They have new evidence that Bush lied to Congress, and that the March 18, 2003 determination was faulty, and that Bush knew it was based on fabricators, faked documents, and doctored intelligence.