Sunday :: Nov 13, 2005

While Hadley Keeps At The "We Didn't Lie" Defense, Pat Roberts Will Be More Skeptical Next Time


by Steve

On the same day that Stephen Hadley kept pushing the latest Rovian misdirection attempt that the president was misled by bad intelligence but didn’t lie, Senator Pat Roberts seems to be engaged in a curious game of denial himself.

Hadley, as would be expected, continued the latest White House pushback that everyone had the same intelligence, and everyone thought that Saddam had WMDs, but that Bush didn’t lie nor did his administration manipulate intelligence. Howard Dean, to his credit, countered the Hadley spin on CNN today. There are levelheaded pundits who believe this line of argument, guys I respect like Andrew Sullivan, who take the position that there is no evidence that Bush lied, whereas it is likely that Cheney and others predisposed against the Agency looked for every opportunity and angle to push their agenda and use intelligence that supported that agenda. And to this line of argument I will add that one thing about Woodward’s book about Bush’s war preparations that sticks in my head to this day: the discomfort that Bush displayed when he heard for apparently the first time that the “evidence” backing up his reasons for the war were less than the “slam dunk” that George Tenet claimed they were.

Knowing what we know now about how far Cheney would go to get Joe Wilson, who was the first real threat to expose what Cheney had going, it is entirely plausible that a lot of this could be laid at Cheney’s feet, if you wanted to be charitable to Bush for being inept as a chief executive but not a liar. I am not ready to be that forgiving towards Bush, but the “blame Cheney not Bush” mantra will be something we’ll hear more of in the coming weeks.

Which makes Pat Roberts’ act today interesting. In essence, Roberts admitted that the Senate will no longer trust what the intelligence community and the administration put forward without a great deal more scrutiny than Congress has demonstrated so far. Yet it was Roberts who whitewashed his own committee’s report last year and kept the heat from Bush before the election, so it is a little hypocritical for Roberts to now adopt the persona of a senator who actually wants to tell the administration to “prove it.” What’s different of course is that Roberts can read Bush’s poll numbers on honesty like the rest of us, and Roberts is under pressure from Dianne Feinstein to commence the Phase Two inquiry and really dig into how the administration used the available intelligence, so any lame attempt by Roberts to whitewash this by blaming it again on the Agency will not fly. And he knows it.

Steve :: 11:04 PM :: Comments (12) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!