Yesterday on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes, co-host Alan Colmes interrogated former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer about a new study by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism that found the Bush administration issued 935 false statements about the threat from Iraq in the two years following 9/11.
“Were Saddam Hussein able to transfer any of the weapons of mass destruction — the chemical, the biological weapons, or the nuclear weapons that he seeks — to these organizations, it would be too late for the United States to do anything.” [9/4/02]
“Unless Iraq proves that they destroyed them, where are they?” [1/21/03]
“We know that there are operatives of Al Qaeda operating inside Baghdad.” [2/12/03]
When confronted about his false statements, Fleischer responded that the study is “making the attack against everybody who said what the CIA had legitimately reported to two administrations. But they’re only attacking Republicans for it. … We were wrong. We’ve always said that. But the Democrats were wrong.”
Sean Hannity refused to accept Fleischer’s concession. “Ari, I don’t think you were wrong. I’m sure those weapons were moved.” Watch it:
Fleischer’s attempts to fault the Democrats for Bush’s war of choice appear to be a reprise of Karl Rove’s efforts to shift blame.
In fact, the CPI study was not partisan in nature. It focused on the statements of the key administration officials who “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”