On “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Tenet argued that his version “seems to be corroborated” by a comment I made to columnist Robert D. Novak on Sept. 17 and a letter to President Bush that I signed, with 40 others, on Sept. 20. But my 10-word comment to Novak made no claim that Iraq was responsible for Sept. 11. Neither did the letter to the president, which said that “any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power.”
Tenet insists on equating two statements that are not at all the same: that Iraq was responsible for Sept. 11 — which I never said — and that removing Saddam Hussein before he could share chemical, biological or nuclear weapons with terrorists had become an urgent matter, which I did say.
While Perle does acknowledge the obvious — that he was advocating regime change in Iraq in the immediate days after 9/11 — he attempts to deceive the reader into believing that he never tried to link the two. He did. Here’s a piece of evidence he chose not to address in his op-ed: On 9/16/01, he said this on CNN:
Even if we cannot prove to the standard that we enjoy in our own civil society they are involved, we do know, for example, that Saddam Hussein has ties to Osama bin Laden.
So Mr. Perle “made no claim that Iraq was responsible for Sept. 11?” It’s just yet another attempt by Perle and Washington Post editorial board to deceive us.