Perino Dismisses Pre-War Downing Street Memo: ‘It’s Been Debunked By Me’

Earlier this week, Karl Rove said that President Bush would not have invaded Iraq if he knew there were no WMD. In today’s press briefing, Helen Thomas asked White House spokeswoman Dana Perino whether Rove is “in charge” of promoting Bush’s presidency. Perino responded, “No, I am. I have a team of people who’s helping talk about the president’s decisions that he’s made over the past eight years.”

Defending Bush’s pre-war intelligence failure, Perino claimed that “other leaders from all around the world” thought Saddam had WMD. When Thomas noted that British intelligence — referring to the the Downing Street Memo — disagreed with Bush, Perino simply said that the memo had been “debunked”:

Q: What about the chief of British intelligence saying you were going to fix the facts around the politics?

PERINO: I think that that’s been debunked.


Thomas quickly countered, “It’s never been been debunked.” Caught off guard, Perino admitted that she was the one who “debunked” it:

Q: It’s never been debunked.

PERINO: Well, it’s been debunked by me.

Q: Good for you.

PERINO: Good for me.

Watch it:

Recall, the Downing Street Memo — which was authored by former British foreign policy aide Matthew Rycroft before the Iraq war — reported: “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”