The Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing this afternoon to examine the manipulation of pre-war Iraq intelligence. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who previously disavowed his vote for the war, attended the hearing and asked the panelists why a small number of individuals in the administration “had more influence”¦than the professionals.” Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, said he only needed three words. Watch it.
JONES: My question is this to all four of you who would like to answer, maybe it’s a very simple question. I apologize if it’s been asked before. But what perplexes me is how in the world could professionals – I’m not criticizing anybody here at this table – but how could the professionals see what was happening and nobody speak out?
I’m not saying you did not do your duty, please understand. My point is as a congressman who trusted what I was being told – I’m was not on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Dorgan, but I am on the Armed Services Committee – and I was being told this information. And I wish I’d the wisdom then that I might have now. I would have known what to ask. But I think many of my colleagues – they did not have the experience on the Intelligence Committee – we just pretty much accepted.
So where along the way – how did these people so early on get so much power that they had more influence in those in the administration to make decisions than you the professionals.
WILKERSON: Let me try to answer you first. Let me say right off the bat I’m glad to see you here.
JONES: Thank you sir.
WILKERSON: As a Republican, I’m somewhat embarrassed by the fact that you’re the only member of my party here.
JONES: I agree.
WILKERSON: But I understand it. I’d answer you with two words. Let me put the article in there and make it three. The Vice President.