As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Lies And The Lying Liars

Bush's statement at today's press conference that he heard about "new information" about Iran's nuclear designs in August but he wasn't told what that information was is an absolute whopper. Why then did he subtly change his words, then, as early as October, from having to stop Iran's nuclear program to having to stop Iran's KNOWLEDGE of a nuclear weapon?

The information that will trickle out in the next couple weeks will be very important to establishing the record.

...Hadley responded by saying that the NIE was only completed in the last two weeks and it rests on “new intelligence”–presumably newer than October 17–which pushed the analysts over the line and caused them to close their judgments on the issue.

Is this true? That will be a subject for further study. But one highly reliable intelligence community source I consulted immediately after Hadley spoke answered my question this way: “This is absolutely absurd. The NIE has been in substantially the form in which it was finally submitted for more than six months. The White House, and particularly Vice President Cheney, used every trick in the book to stop it from being finalized and issued. There was no last minute breakthrough that caused the issuance of the assessment.”

Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell are hammering this very point right now. And she just revealed that the briefers are claiming that Bush indeed was briefed about these reports. Bush looks like either the most incurious person on the face of the Earth (which he is, but even MORE so) or just a bold-faced liar. And Joe Biden is making a bright line.

“Are you telling me a president who is briefed every single morning, who is fixated on Iran, is not told back in August that the tentative conclusion of 16 intelligence agencies in the United States government said they had abandoned their effort for a nuclear weapon in ’03?” Biden said in a conference call with reporters.

“That’s not believable,” Biden added. “I refuse to believe that. If that’s true, he has the most incompetent staff in … modern American history and he’s one of the most incompetent presidents in modern American history.”

Let's be clear. For the last several years the President has consistently lied about Iran's nuclear program. He claimed that we needed to inflame tensions with Russia by building a missile defense system to protect Europe from this nuclear program. Today he claimed that we were on a diplomatic track with the Iranians before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election. That's a complete lie. Bush called Iran part of the Axis of Evil in 2002. He rebuffed Iranian efforts to negotiate a settlement in 2003. This was years before the mayor of Tehran came on the scene.

Joe Biden is on Hardball right now claiming that we went into Iraq to dominate the Middle East through permanent military bases to control oil. And he beat back Andrea Mitchell by saying that the intelligence community didn't get it wrong in Iraq, the intelligence was misused. And he restated that, if the President takes the nation to war with Iran outside his Constitutional authority, he would lead an effort to impeach him. Welcome to the Dirty Fucking Hippie crowd, Joe.

UPDATE: See also how many in the press lazily parroted the Administration line on Iran for years. They make this crap up as they go along, and they should simply not be trusted on any issue of national security.

And also, a note of caution, from Scott Horton at Harper's.

(An intelligence official) speculated, however, that a hardening of attitudes within the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the intelligence community, and in Israel against the plans for an air war in Iran had caused Cheney and his team to fold their cards. “But I’d leave that with a final note of caution,” the source added, “Cheney sometimes appears to give up, but he’s a tenacious son-of-a-bitch. He may very well be back at it tomorrow.”

UPDATE II: Sy Hersh clears up the nonsense, says that the government has been sitting on this NIE for over a year.

Somehow George Bush wasn't privy to any of this.

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