Sunday, April 29, 2007

5. "The Same Intelligence We Had"

For years, the Bush Administration has been saying Congress and the American people approved the war based on full knowledge of the threat Iraq posed.

Now Sen. Dick Durbin is disputing that:

"The information we had in the intelligence committee was not the same information being given to the American people...I couldn't do much about it because, in the intelligence committee, we are sworn to secrecy. We can't walk outside the door and say the statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress."

In his new memoirs, George Tenet, then CIA Director, writes, “There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat.” CIA material was cherry-picked to make the case for invasion.

That confirms what other insiders have revealed. In 2004, former Treasury Secretary Paul O”Neill told writer Ron Susskind and then 60 Minutes, “From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” ten days after the inauguration, eight months before 9/11.

A permanent member of the National Security Council, O’Neill said, "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The President saying ‘Go find me a way to do this.’"

The same year, Richard Clarke, who had been Bush’s counter-terrorism coordinator, was asked on CNN, “You paint a picture of a White House obsessed with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Why do you believe that?”

Clarke’s answer: “Because I was there and I saw the weeks immediately after 9/11, the President signed a national security directive instructing the Pentagon to prepare for the invasion of Iraq.

”Even though they knew at the time from me, from the FBI, from the CIA, that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.”

The question behind all this is, Why were they so intent on invading Iraq? The answer is ugly and maddening.

(continued above)

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