Politicizing Crappy Intelligence - Again
Image courtesy of Crooks and Liars
Remember the silliness from Little Ricky and Little Petey earlier this week about WMDs being found in Iraq, even though the munitions in question were pre-1991, known already to the weapons inspectors, and not the reason we went to war in 2003? Do you wonder like me why Santorum and Hoekstra chose this week to embarrass themselves, at a time when Santorum is heading for a huge drubbing in November? Guess who helped these two roll out this ridiculous claim this week?
The newly declassified military intelligence report was released Wednesday by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte. Santorum and Hoekstra had urged him to release the report this week during congressional debates on Iraq.
The senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee questioned the timing of the report's release. "What worries me is that the intelligence community — Ambassador Negroponte in particular — may be playing a partisan role in the 2006 election," California Rep. Jane Harman.
So let me get this straight. Negroponte is now using his position to play a partisan role in the 2006 election? He is politicizing intelligence? Or does this go higher?
Note a few things here. As Jonathan Turley noted to Greg Sargent at the American Prospect, and John at Crooks and Liars picked up on, Little Ricky claimed he was waiving around a classified document on Fox News. Isn’t that against the law? And if in fact the document Little Ricky had was the “newly-declassified” summary of the larger document, as the AP noted last night, my recollection is that only Bush and Cheney claim they can suddenly declassify a document, and not Negroponte. So where did the decision come from to perhaps newly declassify a summary of a military intelligence document this week for use in the middle of a political debate?
Perhaps Jane Harman and the rest of her Democratic colleagues in the House, and Jay Rockefeller and his colleagues in the Senate should demand hearings into how this came about. They won’t get anywhere with this, but they will get a couple of news cycles out of it. The fact is that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee used his position and access to the intelligence community for political purposes this week, as did a GOP senator who is facing long odds to get reelected.
But calling for hearings doesn’t go far enough. Democrats should now start banging out a storyline that after manipulating intelligence to get us into a war in Iraq, the GOP still misusing the intelligence community to spin a discredited story for political purposes this fall. And Democrats should make the GOP pay for this by bringing this storyline up to date: if the GOP and the Bush Administration are still manipulating intelligence for political purposes on Iraq, how can Congress or the American people trust anything Negroponte or Bush say about Iran or North Korea?
Kneecap the bastards.