Bush Was Told Before 2003 SOTU That Saddam Was Not An Imminent Threat To US
Murray Waas of the National Journal reports today that Bush and Cheney were specifically told in advance of the war that:
1. The aluminum tubes/nuclear program claim was suspect;
2. It was unlikely Saddam would attack the US directly or through Al Qaeda;
Who told Bush these things? The intelligence community, and specifically George Tenet in person told Bush these things.
There goes the "I was misled by the intel community" defense. Not to take anything away from Waas, but I'd like to point out that the information Waas reveals today regarding the aluminum tubes was reported by eRiposte here at the Left Coaster months ago.
Let's recap. This is what Bush said about the aluminum tubes in the SOTU on January 28, 2003:
Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.
Yet Bush had been told directly this claim was suspect in early January, weeks before he said this to the American people.
As for the "Saddam can arm terrorists" and "Saddam is an imminent threat" canards, this is what Bush said in the 2003 SOTU:
Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaida. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.
Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained.
Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans, this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.
Yet when he said this to the American people that night, Bush had already been told by George Tenet directly in early January that the intelligence community concluded the opposite.
It wasn't just the 16 words about Niger that were false in this speech. Bush stared the American people in the face and made assertions not based on fact that night.