“Mr. Bush was not mentioned in the indictment. But the fact that so many of his aides seem to have been involved in dealing with the issue that eventually led to the leak…leaves open the question of what the president knew.” Further reading HERE.
The New York Times reveals that the Bush administration was warned in February 2002 that its source of knowledge for the claim that Iraq was training al Qaeda in chemical and biological weapons was “was intentionally misleading the debriefers.”
Beginning in February 2002 and continuing into 2004, the Bush administration repeatedly used this false evidence to justify the war against Iraq. Here are some examples:
Powell: “Al-Qaeda continues to have a deep interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. As with the story of Zarqawi and his network, I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to al-Qaeda. Fortunately, this operative is now detained and he has told his story. I will relate it to you now as he, himself, described it”¦The support that this detainee describes included Iraq offering chemical or biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000.” [Powell remarks to UN, 2/5/03]
Bush: “Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.” [2/6/03]
During Wednesday’s gaggle, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan explained why there is no need to investigate the manipulation of intelligence prior to the Iraq war:
[T]hey wanted to look at how the intelligence was used. The intelligence “” how the intelligence was used was all part of the public record.
Actually, that’s not true. Editor and Publisher previews an article that will appear in tomorrow’s New York Times based on a newly declassified memo:
It shows that an al-Qaeda official in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to this Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002″¦
“The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi’s credibility,” Jehl writes. “Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi’s information as ‘credible’ evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.”
Are there other memos floating around that will reveal more about how intelligence was used and abused to justify the Iraq war? That’s why we need a real investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
UPDATE: The full NYT article is now available.
Scooter joins a time-honored tradition.
“President Bush has ordered White House staff to attend mandatory briefings beginning next week on ethical behavior and the handling of classified material after the indictment last week of a senior administration official in the CIA leak probe,” the Washington Post reports.