The newly leaked “Downing Street memo” reveals that on July 2002, the chief of British intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove, returned from meetings in Washington with shocking news for his colleagues; the White House had already made up its mind to take military action against Iraq and was prepared to fix the intelligence to back up the plan.
Asked about the memo yesterday, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters:
“In terms of the intelligence, the — if anyone wants to know how the intelligence was used by the adminsitration, all they have to do is go back and look at all the public comments over the course of the lead-up to the war in Iraq, and that’s all very public information. Everybody who was there could see how we used that intelligence.”
Interesting. We decided to take him up on his challenge:
INTEL: In 1997, the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report saying there was no indication Iraq ever achieved nuclear capability or had any physical capacity for producing weapons-grade nuclear material in the near future. In February 2001, the CIA delivered a report to the White House that said: “We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
HOW IT WAS USED: In March 2003, Cheney definitively claimed on Meet the Press that Iraq “has reconstituted nuclear weapons.”
INTEL: In April 2001, the the Energy Department told the White House the aluminum tubes Iraq bought couldn’t be used for nuclear weapons production. In late 2001, the State Department also sent word they were ill-suited for that use.
HOW IT WAS USED: On Sept. 8, 2002, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told CNN the tubes were “only really suited for nuclear weapons programs.” Bush in his 1/03 State of the Union said the tubes which were “suitable for nuclear weapons production.”
INTEL: A September 2002 DOD intel report found “”no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or where Iraq has — or will — establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities.”
HOW IT WAS USED: In October 2002, Bush claimed, without doubt, that Iraq “possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons.”