Senate Intelligence Committee rebukes Bush, Cheney on prewar claims By Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times June 6, 2008

Senate Intelligence Committee rebukes Bush, Cheney on prewar claims

The panel's reproach, the most pointed on pre-invasion intelligence, doesn't call for penalties or a follow-up inquiry.

By Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer - June 6, 2008

WASHINGTON -- In a long-delayed report, the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday rebuked President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for making prewar claims -- particularly that Iraq had close ties to Al Qaeda -- that were not supported by available intelligence.

The report, which was opposed by most Republicans on the panel, says the president and other members of his administration repeatedly exaggerated evidence of an Al Qaeda connection to take advantage of the charged climate after Sept. 11. It is the most pointed reproach to date of the Bush administration's use of intelligence to build the case for the Iraq war. But the document stops short of calling for any follow-up investigation or sanction.

"In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when, in reality, it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the intelligence panel. "Sadly, the Bush administration led the nation into war under false pretenses."

In a second report, the committee provides new details on clandestine, post-Sept. 11 meetings between Defense Department officials and Iranian dissidents seeking support for a plan to overthrow the Islamic regime. The report faults national security advisor Stephen Hadley and others for their roles in an effort that was hidden from the CIA.

The report on the Bush administration's case for war, 170 pages long, reads like a catalog of erroneous claims. The document represents the most detailed assessment to date of whether those assertions were backed by classified intelligence reports available to senior officials at the time.

The report largely exonerates Bush administration officials for some of their prewar assertions, including claims that Baghdad had stockpiles of illegal chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing a nuclear bomb. Even though those claims were subsequently proved wildly inaccurate, the report notes, they were largely consistent with U.S. intelligence at the time.

But the report says the Bush administration veered away from its own intelligence community's conclusions in two key areas: Iraq's relationship with Al Qaeda and the difficulty of pacifying Iraq after a U.S. invasion.

Statements in dozens of prewar speeches and interviews created the impression that Baghdad and Al Qaeda had forged a partnership. But the report concludes that such assertions "were not substantiated by the intelligence" being shown to senior officials at the time.

Claims that Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had met with an Iraqi agent in Prague, for example, were dubious from the beginning and subsequently discounted. The idea that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had provided chemical and biological weapons training to Al Qaeda hinged on intelligence from a source who soon was discredited.

Bush officials strayed even further from the evidence in suggesting that Hussein was prepared to provide weapons of mass destruction to Al Qaeda terrorist groups -- a linchpin in the case for war.

In October 2002, for example, Bush warned in a key speech in Cincinnati that "secretly, and without fingerprints, [Hussein] could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own." The threat was repeated frequently in the run-up to war but was "contradicted by available intelligence information," the committee says.

On post-war prospects, the report contrasts the rosy scenarios conjured by Cheney and others with more sober intelligence warnings that were being presented to senior officials.

Cheney's prediction that U.S. forces would "be greeted as liberators" was at odds with reports from the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which warned nearly a year earlier that invading U.S. forces would face serious resistance from "the Baathists, the jihadists and Arab nationalists who oppose any U.S. occupation of Iraq."

The release of the report is likely to touch off renewed debate over the committee's approach and methodology. Senior Republicans accused Democrats of using the report to score political points in an election year and of refusing to subject congressional Democrats' prewar claims to similar scrutiny. Republicans also complained that officials mentioned in the report were not afforded a chance to respond.

In dissenting views attached to the main text, Republicans cited quotes from Rockefeller, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and others that often echoed Bush administration language in describing the Iraq threat.

"The report released today was a waste of committee time and resources," said a conclusion signed by Sen. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri, the ranking Republican on the committee, and three of his colleagues. Bond accused Democrats of "a partisan agenda" and said they had "cherry-picked information and distorted policymakers' statements."

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino called the report "a selective view," adding that the White House regretted faulty information.

The reports released Thursday were the final installments of a multi-part investigation of Iraq intelligence failures that the committee launched in 2004.

Previous pieces documented blunders that led U.S. spy agencies to reach erroneous assessments of Iraq's weapons capability.

But the evaluation of prewar claims by policymakers took far longer to finish, largely because it was so controversial. Over the last several years, panel members repeatedly sparred over the merits and scope of the work.


oh how nice we get a

oh how nice we get a mainstream media story and intelligence report telling us something that was obvious 5 years ago.

Keith Obermann and Richard Clarke discuss this last night (6/5)

(we're not trying to convince us, we're trying to awaken the sleepers)

Olbermann & Clark

Olbermann's introduction sounds like he's prepping us for the whole TRUTH.

Was going to write

a comment.....but only two words come to mind. UNF**KING BELIEVABLE !

With a statement... "the White House regretted faulty information." that should be grounds for a criminal investigation. If that statement from OUR White House has to do with the "information" they went on to invade Iraq with, then why the hell aren't "We the People" demanding that we get out of Iraq, & put these lyin 'bastards (& bitch),on trial for the murder of over 4,000 of our men & women in uniform??!!!

Can this be used

do get them with something w/ real teeth?

Truth About Iraq War NYTimes June 6, 2008

The Truth About the War

* comments (617)


It took just a few months after the United States’ invasion of Iraq for the world to find out that Saddam Hussein had long abandoned his nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. He was not training terrorists or colluding with Al Qaeda. The only real threat he posed was to his own countrymen.

"We are a nation that has let our government send thousands to their deaths based on lies, while thousands more innocent Iraqis are killed...."

LR, Fairfield, CT

It has taken five years to finally come to a reckoning over how much the Bush administration knowingly twisted and hyped intelligence to justify that invasion. On Thursday — after years of Republican stonewalling — a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee gave us as good a set of answers as we’re likely to get.

The report shows clearly that President Bush should have known that important claims he made about Iraq did not conform with intelligence reports. In other cases, he could have learned the truth if he had asked better questions or encouraged more honest answers.

The report confirms one serious intelligence failure: President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials were told that Iraq still had chemical and biological weapons and did not learn that these reports were wrong until after the invasion. But Mr. Bush and his team made even that intelligence seem more solid, more recent and more dangerous than it was.

The report shows that there was no intelligence to support the two most frightening claims Mr. Bush and his vice president used to sell the war: that Iraq was actively developing nuclear weapons and had longstanding ties to terrorist groups. It seems clear that the president and his team knew that that was not true, or should have known it — if they had not ignored dissenting views and telegraphed what answers they were looking for.

Over all, the report makes it clear that top officials, especially Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, knew they were not giving a full and honest account of their justifications for going to war.

The report was supported by only two of the seven Republicans on the 15-member Senate panel. The five dissenting Republicans first tried to kill it, and then to delete most of its conclusions. They finally settled for appending objections. The bulk of their criticisms were sophistry transparently intended to protect Mr. Bush and deny the public a full accounting of how he took America into a disastrous war.

The report documents how time and again Mr. Bush and his team took vague and dubious intelligence reports on Iraq’s weapons programs and made them sound like hard and incontrovertible fact.

“They continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago,” Mr. Cheney said on Aug. 26, 2002, adding that “we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.”

On Oct. 7, 2002, Mr. Bush told an audience in Cincinnati that Iraq “is seeking nuclear weapons” and that “the evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.” Saddam Hussein, he said, “is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon.”

Later, both men talked about Iraq trying to buy uranium in Africa and about the purchase of aluminum tubes that they said could only be used for a nuclear weapons program. They talked about Iraq having such a weapon in five years, then in three years, then in one.

If they had wanted to give an honest accounting of the intelligence on Iraq’s nuclear weapons, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney would have said it indicated that Mr. Hussein’s nuclear weapons program had been destroyed years earlier by American military strikes.

As for Iraq’s supposed efforts to “reconstitute” that program, they would have had to say that reports about the uranium shopping and the aluminum tubes were the extent of the evidence — and those claims were already in serious doubt when Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney told the public about them. That would not have been nearly as persuasive, of course, as Mr. Bush’s infamous “mushroom cloud” warning.


I don't like...

The Bush Administration.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

And I don't like...

the news media that enable that administration at every critical juncture, then belatedly try to soft-peddle its criminal behavior as something worthy of a good scold, and nothing more. And as for their own record in enabling that behavior, not so much as an acknoledgement that I can see.

Anyone know where Scott Ritter is these days?


Richard Clarke is an @ss and I don't trust him either. *scowl*

Richard Clark a player in COG

I have to second not liking Richard Clark. He is another player in the onging mystery of COG (Continuity of Government).

...don't believe them!

Jay Rockefeller Press Conference

What the heck...

...are "We the people" supposed to do now? What is REALLY goin' on here? I, for one am out raged at the foot dragging of legal prosecution that NEEDS TO TAKE PLACE on this matter!! So what if it cuts into "things that need to be done", we'll get thru all that. We got thru Watergate, Iranscam, etc., etc! Shame on the main stream media, ( which is owned by corporations infused with the "military indutrial complex") & shame on US for wanting to be entertained rather than informed!! If there is a hell, it's fire waits for THEM, not US!!!