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Investigation On Iraq Prewar Intelligence

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Guest -jesselee-

Senators yesterday forced the chamber into a rare closed session to demand further investigation into the intelligence that led the nation into the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq.


After the two-hour session, lawmakers emerged to announce that the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee would resume work on its investigation of the prewar intelligence and are to report back to Senate leaders by November 14.


Democrats accused Roberts of stalling the probe into how administration officials handled the intelligence used to sell Congress and the public on invading Iraq.


At issue was the promise of the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence to finish their investigation of alleged Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction and what brought America into war with Iraq.


''The troops have a right to expect answers and accountability worthy of [their] sacrifice," Senate minority leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, told his colleagues on the floor before calling for the closed-door session. ''I demand on behalf of the American people that we understand why these investigations aren't being conducted."


On February 12, 2004, the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence agreed to postpone the following investigation:


Whether public statements, reports, and testimony regarding Iraq by U.S. Government officials made between the Gulf period and the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom were substantiated by intelligence information.


The postwar findings about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and weapons programs and links to terrorism and how they compare with prewar assessments.


Prewar intelligence assessments about postwar Iraq.


Any intelligence activities relating to Iraq conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.


The use by the Intelligence Community of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress (INC).


The Committee's request to review Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs) relevant only to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities and links to terrorists was denied by the White House.


The committee's Republican majority has refused to request documents from the White House about how the Bush administration crafted arguments for the invasion.


"What disturbs me the most is the majority has been willing, in this senator's judgment, to take orders from this administration when it comes to limiting the scope of appropriate, authorized and necessary oversight investigations," Rockefeller said.


Without examining these documents, the Committee is unable to determine fully whether Intelligence Community judgements were properly disseminated to policymakers in the executive branch.


On October 4, 2005, Senator Frist canceled an intelligence briefing on Iraq. Here is a statement by Senator Harry Ried's office.


Today, all Senators were invited to attend a classified briefing organized by the Director of National Intelligence that would have included the latest intelligence assessments on Iraq by the National Intelligence Council.  The request for the briefing was made in a letter last week to the DNI from Minority Leader Harry Reid, as well as the top Democrats on the Intelligence, Foreign Relations, and Armed Services Committees.


“Senator Frist’s action today to unilaterally cancel a briefing that would have provided all Senators, Republicans and Democrats, with a better understanding of the problems we face in Iraq is indefensible,” Rockefeller said.


“The National Intelligence Council was fully prepared to brief Senators on the latest Intelligence Community assessments on the insurgency, the reconstruction efforts, the status of Iraqi security forces, and the affects of destabilization on neighboring countries.


“My colleagues and I requested this briefing from the intelligence community because, to date, administration policy makers have not been completely forthcoming about the situation in Iraq.  They have been unwilling or unable to articulate what the strategy is for success in Iraq.  And, I’m concerned that this administration continues to paint an overly optimistic picture of events on the ground. 


“Democrats and Republicans alike want unvarnished information and we want answers.  The American people deserve answers.


“To suggest that this briefing cannot and should not happen because it was initiated by Democrats is politicizing our national security.”


On November 1, 2005 U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released the following statement on the movement of the Senate to closed session to consider unanswered intelligence questions:


“Last year, the Senate Intelligence Committee, on which I serve, promised to find the answers the American people have a right to know about this nation’s march to an ill-advised war – a war I voted against. More than a year and a half after that promise was made, phase II of the Committee’s report on pre-war intelligence still has not been delivered – only a parade of excuses. This is a serious failure to meet the oversight duties of the Senate Intelligence Committee.


“The American people have a right to know what sort of planning was done or not done for a post-invasion occupation in Iraq. They have a right to know how heavily our intelligence agencies relied on tips from shady characters like Ahmed Chalabi. People have a right to know whether their government officials exaggerated facts in order to lead this nation to war.


“The work of the Intelligence Committee to produce these answers for the American people has essentially ground to a halt. I agree that it is time for the rest of the Senate to stop, step in, and insist that the Committee do its duty.”

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Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid delivered the following statement on the floor of the U.S. Senate calling for a secret session of the Senate.


Remarks as prepared:




“This past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, the Vice President’s Chief of Staff and a senior Advisor to President Bush. Libby is the first sitting White House staffer to be indicted in 135 years.


“This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and are morally repugnant.


“The decision to place U.S. soldiers in harm’s way is the most significant responsibility the Constitution invests in the Congress.



“The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really about: how the Administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions.



“As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this Administration. This cloud is further darkened by the Administration’s mistakes in prisoner abuse scandal, Hurricane Katrina, and the cronyism and corruption in numerous agencies.



“And, unfortunately, it must be said that a cloud also hangs over this Republican-controlled Congress for its unwillingness to hold this Republican Administration accountable for its misdeeds on all of these issues.



“Let’s take a look back at how we got here with respect to Iraq Mr. President. The record will show that within hours of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, senior officials in this Administration recognized these attacks could be used as a pretext to invade Iraq.



“The record will also show that in the months and years after 9/11, the Administration engaged in a pattern of manipulation of the facts and retribution against anyone who got in its way as it made the case for attacking Iraq.



“There are numerous examples of how the Administration misstated and manipulated the facts as it made the case for war. Administration statements on Saddam’s alleged nuclear weapons capabilities and ties with Al Qaeda represent the best examples of how it consistently and repeatedly manipulated the facts.



“The American people were warned time and again by the President, the Vice President, and the current Secretary of State about Saddam’s nuclear weapons capabilities. The Vice President said Iraq “has reconstituted its nuclear weapons.” Playing upon the fears of Americans after September 11, these officials and others raised the specter that, left unchecked, Saddam could soon attack America with nuclear weapons.



“Obviously we know now their nuclear claims were wholly inaccurate. But more troubling is the fact that a lot of intelligence experts were telling the Administration then that its claims about Saddam’s nuclear capabilities were false.



“The situation was very similar with respect to Saddam’s links to Al Qaeda. The Vice President told the American people, “We know he’s out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know he has a longstanding relationship with various terrorist groups including the Al Qaeda organization.”



“The Administration’s assertions on this score have been totally discredited. But again, the Administration went ahead with these assertions in spite of the fact that the government’s top experts did not agree with these claims.



“What has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress to the Administration’s manipulation of intelligence that led to this protracted war in Iraq? Basically nothing. Did the Republican-controlled Congress carry out its constitutional obligations to conduct oversight? No. Did it support our troops and their families by providing them the answers to many important questions? No. Did it even attempt to force this Administration to answer the most basic questions about its behavior? No.



“Unfortunately the unwillingness of the Republican-controlled Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities is not limited to just Iraq. We see it with respect to the prisoner abuse scandal. We see it with respect to Katrina. And we see it with respect to the cronyism and corruption that permeates this Administration.



“Time and time again, this Republican-controlled Congress has consistently chosen to put its political interests ahead of our national security. They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican Administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why.



“There is also another disturbing pattern here, namely about how the Administration responded to those who challenged its assertions. Time and again this Administration has actively sought to attack and undercut those who dared to raise questions about its preferred course.



“For example, when General Shinseki indicated several hundred thousand troops would be needed in Iraq, his military career came to an end. When then OMB Director Larry Lindsay suggested the cost of this war would approach $200 billion, his career in the Administration came to an end. When U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix challenged conclusions about Saddam’s WMD capabilities, the Administration pulled out his inspectors. When Nobel Prize winner and IAEA head Mohammed el-Baridei raised questions about the Administration’s claims of Saddam’s nuclear capabilities, the Administration attempted to remove him from his post. When Joe Wilson stated that there was no attempt by Saddam to acquire uranium from Niger, the Administration launched a vicious and coordinated campaign to demean and discredit him, going so far as to expose the fact that his wife worked as a CIA agent.



“Given this Administration’s pattern of squashing those who challenge its misstatements, what has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress? Again, absolutely nothing. And with their inactions, they provide political cover for this Administration at the same time they keep the truth from our troops who continue to make large sacrifices in Iraq.



“This behavior is unacceptable. The toll in Iraq is as staggering as it is solemn. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives. Over 90 Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice this month alone – the fourth deadliest month since the war began. More than 15,000 have been wounded. More than 150,000 remain in harm’s way. Enormous sacrifices have been and continue to be made.



“The troops and the American people have a right to expect answers and accountability worthy of that sacrifice. For example, 40 Senate Democrats wrote a substantive and detailed letter to the President asking four basic questions about the Administration’s Iraq policy and received a four sentence answer in response. These Senators and the American people deserve better.



“They also deserve a searching and comprehensive investigation about how the Bush Administration brought this country to war. Key questions that need to be answered include:



How did the Bush Administration assemble its case for war against Iraq?

Who did Bush Administration officials listen to and who did they ignore?

How did senior Administration officials manipulate or manufacture intelligence presented to the Congress and the American people?

What was the role of the White House Iraq Group or WHIG, a group of senior White House officials tasked with marketing the war and taking down its critics?

How did the Administration coordinate its efforts to attack individuals who dared to challenge the Administration’s assertions?

Why has the Administration failed to provide Congress with the documents that will shed light on their misconduct and misstatements?

“Unfortunately the Senate committee that should be taking the lead in providing these answers is not. Despite the fact that the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly committed to examine many of these questions more than 1 and ½ years ago, he has chosen not to keep this commitment. Despite the fact that he restated that commitment earlier this year on national television, he has still done nothing.


“At this point, we can only conclude he will continue to put politics ahead of our national security. If he does anything at this point, I suspect he will play political games by producing an analysis that fails to answer any of these important questions. Instead, if history is any guide, this analysis will attempt to disperse and deflect blame away from the Administration.


“We demand that the Intelligence Committee and other committees in this body with jurisdiction over these matters carry out a full and complete investigation immediately as called for by Democrats in the committee’s annual intelligence authorization report. Our troops and the American people have sacrificed too much. It is time this Republican-controlled Congress put the interests of the American people ahead of their own political interests.”

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Guest Freetospeak

I thought what former President Jimmy Carter stated on the 'Today Show' was quite to the point.


The Bush Administration's prewar claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction were "manipulated, at least" to mislead the American people.


The decision to go to war was the culmination of a long-term plan to attack Iraq that resulted from the first President Bush not taking out Saddam - Former President Jimmy Carter, November 2

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Guest Reid Cherlin

Congressman Jerrold Nadler today demanded the House Judiciary Committee investigate whether White House officials deliberately deceived Congress in order to obtain its authorization of the war in Iraq.


In a letter to Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. calling for hearings, Congressman Nadler cited new evidence from the investigation led by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, as well as evidence compiled from media reports, that the Bush Administration knowingly marketed the war with fictitious evidence. It was originally expected that Fitzgerald would issue a final report, detailing all of his findings.


“Now that he has declined to do so,” Congressman Nadler wrote, “there is even greater need for hearings that will air the facts in a public forum.


“The American people deserve to know what really happened in the months preceding the war in Iraq,” Nadler continued. “If, in fact, criminal activity occurred, those responsible must be held accountable.”


Congressman Nadler’s letter draws on the following evidence:


The formation of the “White House Iraq Group” at a time when the Administration told the public it had not made a decision to go to war.


The allegation in the “Downing Street Memo” that intelligence was “being fixed around the policy.”


The Fitzgerald investigation’s finding that Administration officials engaged in an active effort to discredit claims that the stated justification for war – Saddam Hussein’s imminent acquisition of WMDs – was false.


Efforts by I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to misrepresent to the media the scope and nature of what the U.S. intelligence community knew and didn’t know about Iraq’s weapons programs.


President Bush’s infamous reference to African uranium in the 2003 State of the Union address.


The full text of Congressman Nadler’s letter to Chairman Sensenbrenner follows.



October 31, 2005



The Honorable James Sensenbrenner




House Judiciary Committee


US House of Representatives


Washington, DC 20515



Dear Mr. Chairman:


The recent indictment handed down by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, and other significant evidence that has recently come to light, indicate that the President, Vice President, or other members of the Bush Administration may have deliberately and illegally misled Congress in order to make a case for war.  I am urging you to schedule hearings to investigate this evidence and determine whether the President or other persons in his administration may have committed crimes in connection with the campaign to lead the nation into war.


We originally expected that Special Counsel Fitzgerald would issue a final report detailing all of the findings from his two-year investigation.  Now that he has declined to do so, there is even greater need for hearings that will air the facts in a public forum. 


Mounting evidence indicates that the Bush administration may have distorted, or intentionally misrepresented, key intelligence, specifically that Saddam Hussein was actively, and imminently, preparing to acquire weapons of mass destruction.  It was this purported evidence that was used to persuade Congress and the American people that preemptive war was necessary, and that our nation could not afford to wait.


There is mounting evidence, including evidence collected by Special Counsel Fitzgerald, that members of the Bush Administration may have deliberately and, therefore, illegally misled Congress.  The question now before the Committee is whether the CIA leak itself was part of an effort to cover up a broader conspiracy to mislead Congress into authorizing a war.


The Judiciary Committee has thus far refused to investigate these important questions. I believe we can no longer neglect our duty to do so.  True or false, the American people have a right to know what really happened in the months preceding the war in Iraq.  If, in fact, criminal activity occurred, those responsible must be held accountable.


As a member of the Judiciary Committee who opposed the extension of the independent counsel law, I have long recognized the danger of unaccountable, open-ended investigations.  Accusations of presidential wrongdoing must not be made carelessly.  Investigations of this sort must be reserved for only the most serious allegations. Lying to Congress in order to obtain its support for a war certainly meets that test. If the most serious charges prove true, they would almost certainly rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.


Although the Senate Intelligence Committee began an investigation of some of these questions several months ago, it has yet to indicate what, if any, progress it has made.  It has yet to fulfill its promise to hold hearings after the 2004 elections on whether the administration deliberately misrepresented the intelligence used to justify the war.  It is up to the House Judiciary Committee to launch an investigation of our own.  The alleged wrongdoing is plainly within our jurisdiction.


Our hearings should focus on the evidence that members of the Bush Administration may have deliberately and, therefore, illegally misled Congress.  Some of this evidence is as follows:


1)        We now know that during the summer of 2002, at a time when the White House maintains that no decision had been made to go to war, the Bush Administration created the “White House Iraq Group” whose sole purpose appears to have been to market and sell a decision to go to war to Congress.  It appears that this group specifically sought to deceive Congress about the intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction.  (New York Daily News, Oct. 19, 2005.)  The Judiciary Committee should seek testimony from members of the White House Iraq Group.


2)        We now know from the so-called “Downing Street Memo,” that senior members of the British Government who had conferred with senior Administration officials had concluded that “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.” (Emphasis added.)  The Judiciary Committee should seek testimony from the author of the Downing Street Memo and from the members of the Bush Administration who participated in these meetings.


3)        We now know that the December 2001 National Intelligence Estimate said Iraq had no program to obtain nuclear weapons.  In spite of this report, the President and other Administration spokesman continuously warned about the perils of the Iraqis’ nuclear programs that our own intelligence services reported did not exist.  The Judiciary Committee should seek testimony on this apparent campaign to mislead Congress and the American people.


4)        We now know that President Bush included in his January 2003, State of the Union Address a reference to previously discredited reports that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger.  In fact, references to the purported Niger connection had been deleted from earlier speeches precisely because the C.I.A. did not think the reports credible.  The reference was only included after the intelligence was attributed to British, rather than American, reports.  The Judiciary Committee should seek testimony directly from the President and from anyone else who helped prepare his State of the Union Address.


5)        We now know from Special Counsel Fitzgerald’s investigation that there was an orchestrated campaign to smear and discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who attempted to tell the truth about some of the faulty “evidence” used by the White House to make its case for war.  Although Mr. Fitzgerald’s investigation has yet to determine whether a crime can be proven to have been committed by any Administration official in leaking the identity of Wilson's wife as a covert CIA operative, it is abundantly clear that the White House Iraq Group was engaged in an effort to discredit Ambassador Wilson’s revelations, and to intimidate others tempted to reveal the truth.  According to sources quoted by The New York Daily News, this group of White House officials was “so determined . . .  to win its argument that it morphed into a virtual hit squad that took aim at critics who questioned its claims.”  (New York Daily News, October 19, 2005.)  Again, the Judiciary Committee should seek testimony from the White House Iraq Group and from Ambassador Wilson himself.


6)        We now know that one of the alleged lies Mr. Libby told in the Plame investigation was that the source from which he obtained Ms. Plame’s identity was not a journalist, but the Vice President.  If true, this would appear to have been a deliberate attempt to conceal the Vice President’s role in the Plame matter.


7)        We now know that top Administration officials, including Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Lewis Libby, misrepresented to the media the scope and nature of what the U.S. intelligence community knew and didn’t know about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs before the war.  (Newsweek.com, Oct. 19, 2005.)  Manufacturing of media complicity, if achieved through a deliberate plan to provide false information, would have played a key role in misleading Congress and the American people. We need to know more about the relationship between Administration officials and certain media outlets in view of details emerging from this investigation regarding the special access to Administration officials.  We ought to examine whether or not the Bush Administration provided potentially classified information to Judith Miller of The New York Times, which led to clearly erroneous stories supporting the Administration’s false claims regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  The Judiciary Committee ought to hear sworn testimony from I. Lewis Libby, Karl Rove, and Judith Miller.


With this growing body of evidence that the White House may have deliberately misled Congress into authorizing war, a broader independent investigation is clearly necessary and the House Judiciary Committee has proven itself capable of investigating the White House in minute detail in the not so distant past over matters of much less national significance than the matters discussed above.


Special Counsel Fitzgerald has done a great service to the nation thus far by investigating the CIA leak, but real questions remain.  Specifically, was the CIA leak incident an effort to enforce discipline as part of a much broader criminal conspiracy by members of the Bush Administration to deceive Congress about a matter of war and peace?  Who was involved?  Were any of their actions criminal? 


These questions go to the core of the functioning of democratic self-government in the United States.  Honest, if mistaken, reliance on faulty intelligence to convince Congress to authorize a war is bad enough.  If, as mounting evidence now seems to indicate, Administration officials deliberately deceived Congress and the American people, this would constitute a criminal conspiracy against the entire country.


It is self-evident that the Administration cannot investigate itself in this matter.  I therefore urge you to begin a formal investigation by the House Judiciary Committee into these matters crucial to our national security and national integrity.


Thank you for your attention to this matter.  I look forward to your response.




Jerrold Nadler

Member of Congress

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Guest Old Glory Rises

Believe me when I say this information will come drip by drip and paralyse the the Bush administration.


I say that either you are for the American people Mr. President

Or you are against U.S.

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Guest David Brock

While it is unfortunate that Senator Roberts continues to downplay the promise he made to provide answers on whether the Bush administration misused CIA intelligence in the buildup to the Iraq War, it's perhaps more unfortunate that the media would allow him to spin so wildly without holding him to account for the blatant contradictions he's made over the past 16 months


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President Commemorates Veterans Day, Discusses War on Terror


Our debate at home must be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war. When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq. And that is their right, and I respect it. As President and Commander-in-Chief, I accept the responsibilities, and the criticisms, and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision.


While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.


They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.


The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory.


President George W. Bush greets the audience after delivering remarks on the war on terror, Friday, Nov. 11, 2005 at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Tobyhanna, Pa. White House photo by Eric Draper


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Guest Martin Halpern

Bush is acting like a drunk who stumbles into the wrong house in the subdivision and then pulls out his gun and starts shooting when the homeowners try to drive him out. Why not just leave and let everyone live a little longer?


It is time for the Senate and the House of Representatives to follow the example of the Senate against McCarthy and to censure George Bush for lying to the Congress and the American people to launch a war on false pretenses, for continuing a war on false premises, and for undermining the rule of law and democracy at home by authorizing torture and seeking to silence his critics.

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Guest Friends of John Kerry

Senator Kerry’s Veterans Day Message


Veterans Day means different things to different people. This Veterans Day, my mind returns again and again to a flight I took home from Baghdad in August -- and an unforgettable reminder of the obligation we have to all who serve the country we love. As we boarded the C-130, I looked into the cargo hold and saw a simple, aluminum coffin with a small American flag draped over it. We were bringing another American soldier home to his family and final resting place.

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Guest A Loyal Republican

Why is this conspiracy theory blowing out of proportion? The President relied on the same intelligence that his predecessor Bill Clinton saw and that 77 of 100 senators used in 2002 to back Bush on the use of force in Iraq.

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If that is the case why can't the American People see the intelligence. America is country for the People, By the People?


The translation got lost somewhere. What Congress wants you to think is that America is for the corporation, by the corporation.


People are going to have to start thinking...

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At the July 2004 press conference occasioned by the release of the Phase I report, Rockefeller asserted that certain activities of members of the office of then–Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, including a secret Rome meeting with the Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, might have been “unlawful.” At that point, Feith’s office simply stopped cooperating with the investigation, and Roberts hasn’t compelled Feith or his staff to comply.

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Guest Freetospeak

There are many people in the intelligence community that believe the war with Iraq was planned at Israel's behest, or at the instigation of policymakers whose main motivation is trying to create a secure environment for Israel, is strong.


There is immense Jewish influence in the current Bush administration of people from two major neocon research organizations, JINSA and CSP. Until the beginning of the current Bush administration, JINSA's board of advisors included such heavy hitters as Cheney, John Bolton (now Under Secretary of State for Arms Control) and Douglas J. Feith, the third-highest-ranking executive in the Pentagon. Both Perle and former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey, two of the loudest voices in the attack-Iraq chorus, are still on the board, as are such Reagan-era relics as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eugene Rostow, and [Michael] Ledeen — Oliver North's Iran/contra liaison with the Israelis.

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Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Steve Hadley

November 10, 2005


Q: The statement you volunteered about prewar intelligence assessments speaks fine to those Democrats who supported the war. But what do you say to the Democrats who opposed the war, who said if we had not rushed into it, we would have had the benefit of better intelligence and perhaps a broader international coalition, a more substantial international coalition than the one we have now?


MR. HADLEY: That's a different issue. The issue I was addressing was an issue of the notion that somehow this administration manipulated the intelligence. And those people who have looked at that issue, some committees on the Hill in Congress, and also the Silberman-Robb Commission have concluded it did not happen. So what we are left with is a body of intelligence that was developed over a long period of time, was looked at by the prior administration. They reached the conclusions that they reached.


Congress, in 1998, authorized, in fact, the use of force based on that intelligence. And as you know, the Clinton administration took some action. It was the basis by which, as I said, over 70 senators from both parties voted in 2002, noting specifically in their resolution the presence of programs for chemical weapons, biological weapons, and an effort to reconstitute a nuclear program.


So the point I was trying to make is, we all looked at the same intelligence, and most people, on the intelligence, reached the same conclusion. And it was the basis for actions by our Congress, action by two administrations, and was concluded by intelligence services and leaders around the globe.


The issues you raised are a different issue, and we can go back to the history. I guess the point I would make is, if you recall the arrangements under which the inspectors were operating, they were very much constrained by Saddam Hussein, and they were not getting a whole lot of intelligence.


And finally, on the issue of diplomacy, this is something that was a charge raised at Tony Blair, and he answered I think very clearly, and he basically said, the diplomacy was active in Iraq over a period of over 12 years; 17 U.N. Security Council resolutions, and we were going for yet another when it became clear -- based on statements from another -- leaders who had seats on the U.N. Security Council that there would be no consequences for non-compliance with these resolutions. And the President at that point, as he said, very clearly, words of the United Nations have to have consequence.


And I would also remind people that when we talked about the rationale for going to war, it was more than just weapons of mass destruction. If you look at those 17 Security Council resolutions which reflected the judgments of the international community, they talked about weapons of mass destruction, they talked about support for terror, they talked about threats to his neighbors, they talked about his oppression of his own people, and the nature of the regime he ran, and finally, the issue of defiance of the international community over a period of 17 resolutions in 12 years. So it's a broad case, a broad case.


Q It was, however, the weapons of mass destruction that was used to justify the urgency, and that, of course, is what my question dealt with.


MR. HADLEY: The intelligence was clear in terms of the weapons of mass destruction, and after 9/11, what we learned was that the coincidence between a rogue regime that was -- supported terror and pursued weapons of mass destruction was a serious risk that the United States needed to deal with. Having tried for 12 years and 17 resolutions to address it through diplomacy, and continuing to try to address it through diplomacy, trying to maintain the international consensus, once it was clear that that international consensus had broken down, the President had no alternative.




Q Do you believe now even if the intelligence was not manipulated that perhaps in the White House it was assessed with pre-conceived ideas or not enough skepticism? In hindsight looking back at that, what lessons do you draw from that? What mistakes were made?


MR. HADLEY: Well, there have been a lot of lessons from that. And you can look at the Silberman-Robb Commission. You can look at what the DNI is doing -- you can look at what the DNI is doing. And some of the things that the DNI is doing is reflecting that.


One of the reasons you have a DNI is so that when he comes into the White House, he is bringing intelligence not just from the CIA, but from other elements of the intelligence community. And the President now gets that. And he will have pieces that come from CIA, come from FBI, come from DIA, come from INR over at State. That is a good thing, and it shows a broader range.


Obviously, what comes into the Oval Office, again, is an effort to provide a consensus judgment. But I think one of the things we've all learned from that is that it is important, also, to be clear about dissenting opinions and make sure that dissenting opinions also are given visibility; that we need more competitive analysis and to have products that come to the President. This is one view; this is another view.


And we're starting to see those products as part of what we've learned from this -- these events, as part of what we've learned under the Silberman-Robb Commission, 9/11 Commission, and others. And you're beginning to see that happen in terms of how intelligence is coming to the President.


Q But Silberman-Robb didn't address how the White House used the intelligence, specifically tried to address what the intelligence community did in providing it. Do you think now, as you -- as a participant at the time, do you think now that you, for instance, looked at this, and other people looked at this, and say -- brought in your own preconceived notions?


MR. HADLEY: Preconceived notions -- you try and test intelligence. But in the end of the day, the President looks to his senior intelligence officials for their judgments on the intelligence. That's how it should be. You test it, and you probe it. The President tests it, and the President probes it.


But as you know, the case that was brought to him, in terms of the NIE, and parts of which have been made public, was a very strong case.




Q Steve, A, is the President going to talk about this tomorrow, the whole question of the criticism he's been taking in recent weeks on Iraq? And, B, you said -- you used the word "hollow" before. Are you suggesting politics is at play here?


MR. HADLEY: I think people have to look at the record, look at how we got the intelligence, and look the judgments of the -- the statements that people made at the time on that intelligence. And that's to -- needs to inform the judgment we make about some of the things we're hearing said now.

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From the White House


Setting the Record Straight: The Washington Post On Pre-War Intelligence


The Washington Post Implies That The Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) Was Superior To The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Given To Congress. "But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country." (Dana Milbank And Walter Pincus, "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument," The Washington Post, 11/12/05)


But The PDB Was The Focus Of Intelligence Reform And Was More "Problematic" Than The NIE Given To Congress.



The Robb-Silberman Commission Found The PDB To Contain Similar Intelligence In "More Alarmist" And "Less Nuanced" Language. "As problematic as the October 2002 NIE was, it was not the Community's biggest analytic failure on Iraq. Even more misleading was the river of intelligence that flowed from the CIA to top policymakers over long periods of time--in the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and in its more widely distributed companion, the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB). These daily reports were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, Pg. 14)



The Robb-Silberman Commission Reported That The Intelligence In The PDB Was Not "Markedly Different" Than The Intelligence Given To Congress In The NIE. "It was not that the intelligence was markedly different. Rather, it was that the PDBs and SEIBs, with their attention-grabbing headlines and drumbeat of repetition, left an impression of many corroborating reports where in fact there were very few sources. And in other instances, intelligence suggesting the existence of weapons programs was conveyed to senior policymakers, but later information casting doubt upon the validity of that intelligence was not." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, Pg. 14)


The Washington Post Implies That There Have Been No Findings On The Use Of Intelligence. "But the only committee investigating the matter in Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has not yet done its inquiry into whether officials mischaracterized intelligence by omitting caveats and dissenting opinions. And Judge Laurence H. Silberman, chairman of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said in releasing his report on March 31, 2005: 'Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry.'" (Dana Milbank And Walter Pincus, "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument," The Washington Post, 11/12/05)


But Congressional And Independent Committees Have Repeatedly Reported No Distortion Of Intelligence



The Bipartisan Senate Select Committee On Intelligence Report "Did Not Find Any Evidence" Of Attempts To Influence Analysts To Change Intelligence. "Conclusion 83. The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities. Conclusion 84. The Committee found no evidence that the Vice President's visits to the Central Intelligence Agency were attempts to pressure analysts, were perceived as intended to pressure analysts by those who participated in the briefings on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, or did pressure analysts to change their assessments." ("Report On The U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq," U.S. Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 7/7/04, Pg. 284-285)



The Robb-Silberman Commission Finds "No Evidence Of Political Pressure." "These are errors serious errors. But these errors stem from poor tradecraft and poor management. The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. As we discuss in detail in the body of our report, analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, Pg. 50-51)



The British Butler Report Finds "No Evidence" Of Intelligence Distortion. "In general, we found that the original intelligence material was correctly reported in [Joint Intelligence Committee] assessments. An exception was the '45 minute' report. But this sort of example was rare in the several hundred JIC assessments we read on Iraq. In general, we also found that the reliability of the original intelligence reports was fairly represented by the use of accompanying quali cations. We should record in particular that we have found no evidence of deliberate distortion or of culpable negligence. We examined JIC assessments to see whether there was evidence that the judgements inside them were systematically distorted by non-intelligence factors, in particular the in uence of the policy positions of departments. We found no evidence of JIC assessments and the judgements inside them being pulled in any particular direction to meet the policy concerns of senior of cials on the JIC." ("Review Of Intelligence On Weapons Of Mass Destruction," Report Of A Committee Of Privy Counsellors, 7/14/04, Pg. 110)

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Guest Dave's finished eating

Hillary Clinton even claims that she consulted "national security officials from the Clinton administration whom she trusts. ’To a person, they all agreed with the consensus of the intelligence’ that Saddam had WMD.

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Guest Dave is throwing up his burgers

It is funny how a scam artist cannot stop scamming after he is caught.


"What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war," Cheney said. "The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out.


"The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone. But we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history. We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them."

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Check out what the Nation reported


This week, Bob Woodward didn't break a story. He entered the story. On Wednesday, The Washington Post, Woodward's home base, disclosed that two days earlier the nation's most prominent reporter had given a sworn deposition to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. According to a statement issued by Woodward, the week after Fitzgerald indicted Scooter Libby, Fitzgerald asked Woodward to come in for a chat--under oath. What had happened was that a senior administration official had recently revealed to Fitzgerald that in mid-June 2003--a month before conservative columnist Bob Novak published the administration leak that outed Valerie Wilson as an undercover    CIA official--this Bush official had told Woodward that Valerie Wilson worked for the CIA as a WMD analyst. (The official apparently has not permitted Woodward to disclose his or her name publicly.)



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Guest John P. Murtha

For 2 ½ years I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. A few days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait – the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction – but the US forces said they were prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.


We spend more money on Intelligence than all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused.

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When the The Honorable John Patrick "Jack" Murtha, Jr. (born June 17, 1932) speaks American Veterans listen. Congressman Murtha has written an insightful and powerful account of his life of public service and of the significant events in our nation's recent history that he has witnessed. He has been a troubleshooter for presidents, a critic of the brass, but always a friend to the men and women of America's armed forces. Jack Murtha has earned his reputation — a straight-talking, hard-charging, independent leader who goes straight to the front lines.


The young Jack volunteered to serve in Vietnam, where he was twice wounded; he received the Bronze Star with Combat "V," two Purple Hearts, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. In 1966, he was a major in the Marine Corps Reserve. He volunteered to return to active duty and go to Vietnam, where he was made the intelligence officer of the 1st Marine Regiment; he held that job for a year.


He has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1974, representing the Twelth Congressional District of Pennsylvania (map), encompassing most of Southwestern Pennsylvania, including Johnstown. He was the first Vietnam War veteran elected to Congress.


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Press Briefing by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

November 20, 2005


SECRETARY RICE: I think we sometimes forget what Saddam Hussein was like. We went to war in 1991 because he tried to annex his neighbor, Kuwait -- or, actually, annexed his neighbor, Kuwait. We used force against him in 1998 because he threw out inspectors and the concerns of weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein's regime was a force of instability in the world's most volatile region. When we look at today's difficult course, I hope we remember what it was -- what it was like before the liberation of Iraq.

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Following text is of remarks by Vice President Cheney on the war on terror and the statement Democrats insistance Iraq Prewar Intelligence failure.




THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning, and thank you all very much. And thank you, Chris. It's great to be back at AEI. Both Lynne and I have a long history with the American Enterprise Institute, and we value the association, and even more, we value the friendships that have come from our time here. And I want to thank all of you for coming this morning and for your welcome.


My remarks today concern national security, in particular the war on terror and the Iraq front in that war. Several days ago, I commented briefly on some recent statements that have been made by some members of Congress about Iraq. Within hours of my speech, a report went out on the wires under the headline, “Cheney says war critics ‘dishonest,’ ‘reprehensible.’”


One thing I’ve learned in the last five years is that when you’re Vice President, you’re lucky if your speeches get any attention at all. But I do have a quarrel with that headline, and it’s important to make this point at the outset. I do not believe it is wrong to criticize the war on terror or any aspect thereof. Disagreement, argument, and debate are the essence of democracy, and none of us should want it any other way. For my part, I’ve spent a career in public service, run for office eight times -- six statewide offices and twice nationally. I served in the House of Representatives for better than a decade, most of that time as a member of the leadership of the minority party. To me, energetic debate on issues facing our country is more than just a sign of a healthy political system -- it’s also something I enjoy. It’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed in this business. And I believe the feeling is probably the same for most of us in public life.


For those of us who don’t mind debating, there’s plenty to keep us busy these days, and it's not likely to change any time soon. On the question of national security, feelings run especially strong, and there are deeply held differences of opinion on how best to protect the United States and our friends against the dangers of our time. Recently my friend and former colleague Jack Murtha called for a complete withdrawal of American forces now serving in Iraq, with a drawdown to begin at once. I disagree with Jack and believe his proposal would not serve the best interests of this nation. But he's a good man, a Marine, a patriot -- and he's taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion.


Nor is there any problem with debating whether the United States and our allies should have liberated Iraq in the first place. Here, as well, the differing views are very passionately and forcefully stated. But nobody is saying we should not be having this discussion, or that you cannot reexamine a decision made by the President and the Congress some years ago. To the contrary, I believe it is critical that we continue to remind ourselves why this nation took action, and why Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, and why we have a duty to persevere.


What is not legitimate -- and what I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible -- is the suggestion by some U. S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of his administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence.


Some of the most irresponsible comments have come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence materials. They are known to have a high opinion of their own analytical capabilities. (Laughter.) And they were free to reach their own judgments based upon the evidence. They concluded, as the President and I had concluded, and as the previous administration had concluded, that Saddam Hussein was a threat. Available intelligence indicated that the dictator of Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and this judgment was shared by the intelligence agencies of many other nations, according to the bipartisan Silberman-Robb Commission. All of us understood, as well, that for more than a decade, the U.N. Security Council had demanded that Saddam Hussein make a full accounting of his weapons programs. The burden of proof was entirely on the dictator of Iraq -- not on the U.N. or the United States or anyone else. And he repeatedly refused to comply throughout the course of the decade.



Permit me to burden you with a bit more history: In August of 1998, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution urging President Clinton take "appropriate action" to compel Saddam to come into compliance with his obligations to the Security Council. Not a single senator voted no. Two months later, in October of '98 -- again, without a single dissenting vote in the United States Senate -- the Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act. It explicitly adopted as American policy supporting efforts to remove Saddam Hussein's regime from power and promoting an Iraqi democracy in its place. And just two months after signing the Iraq Liberation law, President Clinton ordered that Iraq be bombed in an effort to destroy facilities that he believed were connected to Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programs.


By the time Congress voted to authorize force in late 2002, there was broad-based, bipartisan agreement that the time had come to enforce the legitimate demands of the international community. And our thinking was informed by what had happened to our country on the morning of September 11th, 2001. As the prime target of terrorists who have shown an ability to hit America and who wish to do so in spectacular fashion, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to keep terrible weapons out of the hands of these enemies. And we must hold to account regimes that could supply those weapons to terrorists in defiance of the civilized world. As the President has said, “Terrorists and terror states do not reveal … threats with fair notice, in formal declarations -- and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide.”


In a post-9/11 world, the President and Congress of the United States declined to trust the word of a dictator who had a history of weapons of mass destruction programs, who actually used weapons of mass destruction against innocent civilians in his own country, who tried to assassinate a former President of the United States, who was routinely shooting at allied pilots trying to enforce no fly zones, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, whose regime had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder. Those are the facts.


Although our coalition has not found WMD stockpiles in Iraq, I repeat that we never had the burden of proof; Saddam Hussein did. We operated on the best available intelligence, gathered over a period of years from within a totalitarian society ruled by fear and secret police. We also had the experience of the first Gulf War -- when the intelligence community had seriously underestimated the extent and progress Saddam had made toward developing nuclear weapons.


Finally, according to the Duelfer report, Saddam Hussein wanted to preserve the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when sanctions were lifted. And we now know that the sanctions regime had lost its effectiveness and been totally undermined by Saddam Hussein’s successful effort to corrupt the Oil for Food program.


The flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight, but any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped, or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false. Senator John McCain put it best: “It is a lie to say that the President lied to the American people.”


American soldiers and Marines serving in Iraq go out every day into some of the most dangerous and unpredictable conditions. Meanwhile, back in the United States, a few politicians are suggesting these brave Americans were sent into battle for a deliberate falsehood. This is revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety. It has no place anywhere in American politics, much less in the United States Senate.


One might also argue that untruthful charges against the Commander-in-Chief have an insidious effect on the war effort itself. I’m unwilling to say that, only because I know the character of the United States Armed Forces -- men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts. They haven’t wavered in the slightest, and their conduct should make all Americans proud. They are absolutely relentless in their duties, and they are carrying out their missions with all the skill and the honor we expect of them. I think of the ones who put on heavy gear and work 12-hour shifts in the desert heat. Every day they are striking the enemy -- conducting raids, training up Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers. Americans appreciate our fellow citizens who go out on long deployments and endure the hardship of separation from home and family. We care about those who have returned with injuries, and who face the long, hard road of recovery. And our nation grieves for the men and women whose lives have ended in freedom’s cause.


The people who serve in uniform, and their families, can be certain: that their cause is right and just and necessary, and we will stand behind them with pride and without wavering until the day of victory.


The men and women on duty in this war are serving the highest ideals of this nation -- our belief in freedom and justice, equality, and the dignity of the individual. And they are serving the vital security interests of the United States. There is no denying that the work is difficult and there is much yet to do. Yet we can harbor no illusions about the nature of this enemy, or the ambitions it seeks to achieve.


In the war on terror we face a loose network of committed fanatics, found in many countries, operating under different commanders. Yet the branches of this network share the same basic ideology and the same dark vision for the world. The terrorists want to end American and Western influence in the Middle East. Their goal in that region is to gain control of the country, so they have a base from which to launch attacks and to wage war against governments that do not meet their demands. For a time, the terrorists had such a base in Afghanistan, under the backward and violent rule of the Taliban. And the terrorists hope to overturn Iraq’s democratic government and return that country to the rule of tyrants. The terrorists believe that by controlling an entire country, they will be able to target and overthrow other governments in the region, and to establish a radical Islamic empire that encompasses a region from Spain, across North Africa, through the Middle East and South Asia, all the way to Indonesia. They have made clear, as well, their ultimate ambitions: to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate all Western countries, and to cause mass death in the United States.


Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we simply stirred up a hornet’s nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: We were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001 -- and the terrorists hit us anyway. The reality is that terrorists were at war with our country long before the liberation of Iraq, and long before the attacks of 9/11. And for many years, they were the ones on the offensive. They grew bolder in the belief that if they killed Americans, they could change American policy. In Beirut in 1983, terrorists killed 241 of our service men. Thereafter, the United States withdrew from Beirut. In Mogadishu in 1993, terrorists killed 19 American soldiers. Thereafter, the U.S. withdrew its forces from Somalia. Over time, the terrorists concluded that they could strike America without paying a price, because they did, repeatedly: the bombing at the World Trade Center in 1993, the murders at the Saudi National Guard Training Center in Riyadh in 1995, the Khobar Towers in 1996, the simultaneous bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and, of course, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000.


Believing they could strike us with impunity and that they could change U.S. policy, they attacked us on 9/11 here in the homeland, killing 3,000 people. Now they are making a stand in Iraq -- testing our resolve, trying to intimidate the United States into abandoning our friends and permitting the overthrow of this new Middle Eastern democracy. Recently we obtained a message from the number-two man in al Qaeda, Mr. Zawahiri, that he sent to his chief deputy in Iraq, the terrorist Zarqawi. The letter makes clear that Iraq is part of a larger plan of imposing Islamic radicalism across the broader Middle East -- making Iraq a terrorist haven and a staging ground for attacks against other nations. Zawahiri also expresses the view that America can be made to run again.


In light of the commitments our country has made, and given the stated intentions of the enemy, those who advocate a sudden withdrawal from Iraq should answer a few simple questions: Would the United States and other free nations be better off, or worse off, with Zarqawi, bin Laden, and Zawahiri in control of Iraq? Would we be safer, or less safe, with Iraq ruled by men intent on the destruction of our country?


It is a dangerous illusion to suppose that another retreat by the civilized world would satisfy the appetite of the terrorists and get them to leave us alone. In fact such a retreat would convince the terrorists that free nations will change our policies, forsake our friends, abandon our interests whenever we are confronted with murder and blackmail. A precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would be a victory for the terrorists, an invitation to further violence against free nations, and a terrible blow to the future security of the United States of America.


So much self-defeating pessimism about Iraq comes at a time of real progress in that country. Coalition forces are making decisive strikes against terrorist strongholds, and more and more they are doing so with Iraqi forces at their side. There are more than 90 Iraqi army battalions fighting the terrorists, along with our forces. On the political side, every benchmark has been met successfully -- starting with the turnover of sovereignty more than a year ago, the national elections last January, the drafting of the constitution and its ratification by voters just last month, and, a few weeks from now, the election of a new government under that new constitution.


The political leaders of Iraq are steady and courageous, and the citizens, police and soldiers of that country have proudly stepped forward as active participants and guardians in a new democracy -- running for office, speaking out, voting and sacrificing for their country. Iraqi citizens are doing all of this despite threats from terrorists who offer no political agenda for Iraq’s future, and wage a campaign of mass slaughter against the Iraqi people themselves -- the vast majority of whom are fellow Arabs and fellow Muslims.


Day after day, Iraqis are proving their determination to live in freedom, to chart their own destiny, and to defend their own country. And they can know that the United States will keep our commitment to them. We will continue the work of reconstruction. Our forces will keep going after the terrorists, and continue training the Iraqi military, so that Iraqis can eventually take the lead in their country’s security and our men and women can come home. We will succeed in this mission, and when it is concluded, we will be a safer nation.


Wartime conditions are, in every case, a test of military skill and national resolve. But this is especially true in the war on terror. Four years ago, President Bush told Congress and the country that the path ahead would be difficult, that we were heading into a long struggle, unlike any we have known. All this has come to pass. We have faced, and are facing today, enemies who hate us, hate our country, and hate the liberties for which we stand. They dwell in the shadows, wear no uniform, have no regard for the laws of warfare, and feel unconstrained by any standard of morality. We’ve never had a fight like this, and the Americans who go into the fight are among the bravest citizens this nation has ever produced. All who have labored in this cause can be proud of their service for the rest of their lives.


The terrorists lack any capacity to inspire the hearts of good men and women. And their only chance for victory is for us to walk away from the fight. They have contempt for our values, they doubt our strength, and they believe that America will lose our nerve and let down our guard. But this nation has made a decision: We will not retreat in the face of brutality, and we will never live at the mercy of tyrants or terrorists.


None of us can know every turn that lies ahead for America in the fight against terror. And because we are Americans, we are going to keep discussing the conduct and the progress of this war and having debates about strategy. Yet the direction of events is plain to see, and this period of struggle and testing should also be seen as a time of promise. The United States of America is a good country, a decent country, and we are making the world a better place by defending the innocent, confronting the violent, and bringing freedom to the oppressed. We understand the continuing dangers to civilization, and we have the resources, the strength, and the moral courage to overcome those dangers and lay the foundations for a better world.


Thank you very much.

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Permit me to burden you with a bit more history: In August of 1998, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution urging President Clinton take "appropriate action" to compel Saddam to come into compliance with his obligations to the Security Council. Not a single senator voted no. Two months later, in October of '98 -- again, without a single dissenting vote in the United States Senate -- the Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act. - Vice President Cheney



The Iraq Liberation Act

October 31, 1998






Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release


October 31, 1998




Today I am signing into law H.R. 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998." This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress that the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi opposition that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the bitter reality of internal repression and external aggression that the current regime in Baghdad now offers.


Let me be clear on what the U.S. objectives are: The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and law-abiding member. This is in our interest and that of our allies within the region.


The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.


My Administration has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these objectives through active application of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The evidence is overwhelming that such changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership.


In the meantime, while the United States continues to look to the Security Council's efforts to keep the current regime's behavior in check, we look forward to new leadership in Iraq that has the support of the Iraqi people. The United States is providing support to opposition groups from all sectors of the Iraqi community that could lead to a popularly supported government.


On October 21, 1998, I signed into law the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, which made $8 million available for assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition. This assistance is intended to help the democratic opposition unify, work together more effectively, and articulate the aspirations of the Iraqi people for a pluralistic, participa--tory political system that will include all of Iraq's diverse ethnic and religious groups. As required by the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for FY 1998 (Public Law 105-174), the Department of State submitted a report to the Congress on plans to establish a program to support the democratic opposition. My Administration, as required by that statute, has also begun to implement a program to compile information regarding allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes by Iraq's current leaders as a step towards bringing to justice those directly responsible for such acts.


The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 provides additional, discretionary authorities under which my Administration can act to further the objectives I outlined above. There are, of course, other important elements of U.S. policy. These include the maintenance of U.N. Security Council support efforts to eliminate Iraq's weapons and missile programs and economic sanctions that continue to deny the regime the means to reconstitute those threats to international peace and security. United States support for the Iraqi opposition will be carried out consistent with those policy objectives as well. Similarly, U.S. support must be attuned to what the opposition can effectively make use of as it develops over time. With those observations, I sign H.R. 4655 into law.






October 31, 1998.

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According to the Duelfer report, Saddam Hussein wanted to preserve the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when sanctions were lifted. And we now know that the sanctions regime had lost its effectiveness and been totally undermined by Saddam Hussein’s successful effort to corrupt the Oil for Food program. - Vice President Cheney


On September 30, 2004, the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) released the Duelfer Report, its final report on Iraq's WMD programs.


Evidence. The problem of discerning WMD in Iraq is highlighted by the prewar misapprehensions of weapons, which were not there. Distant technical analysts mistakenly identified evidence and drew incorrect conclusions. There is also the potential of the obverse problem. Observers may have evidence before them and not recognize it because of unfamiliarity with the subject. Often ISG found no evidence of one thing or another. It may be that a more accurate formulation might be we recognized no evidence. This is a fundamental conundrum in assessing alien circumstances.


2000—The End is in Sight. By 2000, the erosion of sanctions accelerated. The semi-annual debates over the renewal of sanctions in the Security Council became the forum for Iraqi proponents to argue the case for relaxing sanctions further. Out of concern that this pillar of containment policy was about to collapse, the United States (under a new administration) proposed “Smart Sanctions” in early 2001. This was an attempt to bolster support for sanctions within the Security Council by narrowing the targeted items subject to scrutiny. There was a reversal of a presumption of denial to a presumption of approval of items to be acquired under the Oil-For-Food program.


Syria had recently signed an oil export protocol that provided for reopening of the Iraq-Syria pipeline. Initially, the United States tried to curtail this program, but failed. Baghdad could read this turn of events only as growing momentum of its strategy to undermine sanctions with the goal of an ultimate collapse.


The new administration in Washington gave no evidence of changing the approach toward Iraq. The sanctions debate in the Security Council in June 2001 was indicative with the Russians demanding further relaxation and a concrete signal from the Council that sanctions would be lifted if Iraq satisfied the elements of UNSCR 1284. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and the new Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, were making progress internationally. France, Russia, and Syria (then a member of the Security Council) were all quite vocally supporting Iraq in sanctions debates in the Security Council.


Prohibited goods and weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem. The only notable items stopped in this flow were some aluminum tubes, which became the center of debate over the existence of a nuclear enrichment effort in Iraq. Major items had no trouble getting across the border, including 380 liquid-fuel rocket engines. Indeed, Iraq was designing missile systems with the assumption that sanctioned material would be readily available.


11 September 2001 The progress Baghdad had made toward escaping sanctions changed following 11 September 2001. Saddam did not immediately understand this.


Reflecting Saddam’s ill-formed understanding of the United States, Baghdad fully grasped neither the effect of the attacks on the United States nor their implications for Iraq’s position in the United Nations. The seriousness of the change in the international atmosphere and Iraq’s diplomatic position became clear to Saddam only after President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union speech. He saw a seriousness he had not earlier recognized. Still, he tried to bargain with the Security Council rather than outright accept new inspections. The dithering cost him.


Washington was building a huge and expensive military force around Iraq. Efforts to secure access and support for potential military action were pursued. In the Security Council a new, tougher resolution was passed (UNSCR 1441). Momentum was building that would be increasingly hard to deflect. Belatedly, following the speech by President Bush at the UN General Assembly in September 2002, Saddam finally agreed to unconditional acceptance of the UNMOVIC weapons inspectors.


The work of UNMOVIC inspectors on the ground was pursued energetically and in a charged political environment. Iraq was surrounded by a large and expensive, military force. Sustaining such a force for any length of time would be impossible. It was not a stable situation, and Saddam realized his position far too late.


Regime Strategy and WMD Timeline Events


May 2000 Syria-Iraq Trade/Oil sale protocol established; Syrian pipeline opens

June 2000 Saddam speech: Iraq cannot give up its weapons if neighbors do not

June 2000 Saddam orders the design of long range missile

June 2000 French contracts under OFF total $1.78B--second only to Russia

10-Jun-00 President Hafez al-Assad of Syria dies: opens diplomatic opportunities for Iraq

July 2000 Iraq negotiates deals with Russia worth $20B

2000 Al Tahadi Company signs magnet production line contract with Romanian company

2000 Regime procurement with Belarus, FRY, India, Jordan, North Korea, PRC, South Korea, Syria, Russia and Ukraine leads to further sanctions erosion

23-Aug-00 Engineering drawings for 2 and 5 clustered SA-2 engine missiles created

Sept 2000 10% contract value kickbacks on OFF imports officially begin; may have been occurring since 1998

Mid-Late 2000 Iraq initiates contacts with a Chinese firm NORINCO, and first of several contacts over the next two years

01-Nov-00 Baghdad International Fair: 46 countries participate, a ten-year record

07-Nov-00 Saudis open border for OFF exports

Dec 2000 Leadership starts $.20-$.35 per barrel OFF oil surcharge; by 2002 drops to $.15 per barrel

March 2001 IAEC President asks Saddam to gather former IAEC scientists and researchers at Tuwaitha - Saddam says no

April 2001 Major Iranian missile attack on Mujaheddin el-Khalq (MEK) facilities in Iraq

Early 2001 L-29 RPV crash on final attempted unmanned flight

20-May-01 Iraqi embassy in Nairobi reports rejecting an opportunity to buy uranium

June 2001 Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) begins to get cash/gold from OFF kickbacks via courier

June 2001 Huwaysh approves the Al Samud II program

300 POL 2001 MIC Director orders reconstruction of items destroyed by UNSCOM

2001 Saddam asks Huwaysh if he had developed BW and is told no

2001 Intensified Iraqi intel focus on Iranian nuclear program

2001 Al Tahadi Company signs magnet production line contract with Belarusian company

2001 Regime procurement with Belarus, Bulgaria, France, FRY, India, Jordan, North Korea, PRC, South Korea, Syria, Russia and Ukraine leads to further sanctions erosion

2001 NMD deputy requests scientists to turn in any documents they may have at home

OTHER/NUC 2001 IAEC establishes Technical Research Branch under Physics Department to support rail gun research

mid 2001 Aluminum tubes destined for Iraq captured in Jordan

24-Aug-01 First successful launch of Al Samud II

01-Sep-01 MIC founds a 3rd front company: Al Mufakhir Export Co

11-Sep-01 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington

12-Sep-01 Iraq misinterprets US reaction to events of 9/11; adopts ill-conceived diplomatic position

312 OTHER/NUC Late 2001 IAEC Modernization Project begins and initiates purchase of CNC machines

313 POL Oct-Nov 2001 Enduring Freedom defeats the Taliban in Afghanistan

314 DS Dec 2001 Iraq begins serial production of the Al Samud II

315 POL Late 2001 Around this time, Iraqi scientists tell Regime leaders they cannot produce WMD

316 OTHER/NUC January 2002 Saddam issues order for IAEC and MIC to implement cooperative projects in physics, machining, electronics

317 PROC January 2002 Saddam directs the MIC to assist the IAEC with foreign procurement

318 PROC 26-28 January 2002 Tariq ‘Aziz visits Moscow and Beijing to bolster international support for lifting UNSC sanctions

319 POL 29-Jan-02 Bush refers to ‘Axis of Evil’ in State of the Union address

320 NUC 12-Feb-02 Saddam declares “We will not return to it” with reference to nuclear weapons

321 POL 13-Feb-02 Iraq says inspectors will not be allowed to return

322 PROC March 2002 MIC front company ARMOS authorized to trade outside of Russia

323 POL 21-Mar-02 Russia blocks UNSC attempt to tighten-up OFF, reduce violations

324 POL March/April 2002 Iraq & UN hold new inspection talks in NY

325 DS 01-Jun-02 Jinin cruise missile project initiated (1000km range; 500kg payload)

326 DS 2002 Ibn Firnas recommends MIC cancel L-29 RPV program

327 POL July 2002 Iraq & UN hold more inspection talks in Vienna

328 OTHER/NUC Mid 2002 MIC Rotating Machinery Department (RMD) formed; machine tools ordered, including a balancing machine

329 OTHER/NUC 05-Jul-02 Copper vapor laser demonstrated to Huwaysh; put into storage

330 PROC 2002 Regime procurement with Belarus, France, FRY, India, Jordan, PRC, Russia, Syria and Ukraine leads to further sanctions erosion

331 POL/PROC 2002 Iraq and Russia negotiate $40B oil development deal to be undertaken once sanctions are lifted

332 OTHER/NUC 2002 MIC sponsors 3200 research projects in Iraqi universities (up from 40 in 1997)

333 OTHER/NUC 2002 MIC builds explosive test facility capable of researching shaped charges

334 POL Mid 2002 Iraq begins production of 81mm aluminum tubes for rockets

335 DS Sept 2002 CAD designs for a launcher accommodating missiles up to 1m in diameter; 9m in length

336 POL Sept 2002 Higher Committee, once controlled by Tariq ‘Aziz, is reconstituted to deal with inspections, headed by Taha Ramadan

337 CW Sep 02 Over 900,000 nerve agent antidote autoinjectors had been purchased

338 POL 12-Sep-02 Bush calls Iraq ‘Grave and gathering danger’ in UN General Assembly (UNGA) speech

339 POL 16-Sep-02 Iraq agrees to readmit inspectors

340 POL 18-Sep-02 Publication of UK Iraq WMD dossier

341 POL Nov 2002 MIC scientists meet and are told that Iraq has no WMD, and they must not hide anything from inspectors

342 DS Nov 2002 Jinin and other covert delivery system programs suspended due to return of inspectors

343 POL 08-Nov-02 UNSCR 1441 finds Iraq in material breach, calls for disarmament and FFCD

344 POL 08-Nov-02 Russia refuses to veto UNSCR 1441

345 POL 27-Nov-02 UNMOVIC inspections begin

346 POL Dec 2002 Saddam tells his Generals he does not have WMD

347 POL Dec 2002 Saddam tells military leaders/senior leaders to “cooperate completely” with inspectors

348 POL/DS Dec 2002 UNMOVIC freezes the Al Samud II and Al Fat’h flight tests upon further analysis of system’s range capbility

349 OTHER/NUC Dec 2002 Details of IAEC dual-use CNC machine purchases provided to UN/IAEA

350 POL End of 2002 Iraq successfully flight tests 81mm rockets with indigenously produced aluminum tubes

351 POL Late 2002 Iraq again attempts foreign purchase of 81mm tubes

352 POL Dec 2002 NMD publishes the Currently Accurate Full, and Complete Declaration

353 CW Jan 2003 Two teams from IAEC and Al Majid Company develop multipurpose controllers for process plant

354 PROC Jan 2003 MIC annual budget at $500M

355 POL Jan-2003 UNMOVIC finds 12 empty 122mm CW rocket warheads

356 POL Jan 2003 Iraqi MoD conference on Iranian WMD

357 POL 20-Jan-03 Husam Amin tells military leaders to cooperate with inspectors, repeating Saddam’s earlier directives

358 POL 20-Jan-03 The MIC directs all Directors General of state companies to relinquish any WMD to the NMD

359 POL 25-Jan-03 The NMD director meets with Republican Guard (RG) leaders and advises they sign documents stating no WMD in RG units

360 CW Feb 2003 Inspection of Al Nu’man factory reveals cluster bomb that management claimed from Al Muthanna

361 POL Feb 2003 According to senior Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saddam has decided to use CW against US troops in the event of war

362 CW Feb-2003 Iraq recommends excavating R-400 bomb fragments at Al ‘Aziziyah

363 NUC February 2003 DG of NMD still trying to satisfy IAEA concern over missing explosive lens mold drawings

364 POL 05-Feb-03 US SecState Powell presents evidence of Iraqi WMD programs to UNSC

365 POL 14-Feb-03 Saddam issues directive banning private companies and individuals from importing WMD materials or producing WMD

366 POL 28-Feb-03 Russia threatens veto of UNSCR authorizing war on Iraq

367 CW March 2003 New construction scheduled for MIM plant to provide indigenous multi-purpose production facility, halted due to OIF

368 PROC Mar 2003 MIC has $186M in contracts with Syria (SES Company)

369 DS 1-17 Mar 2003 UNMOVIC bans Samud II and supervises destruction of missiles

370 PROC Early 2003 Regime procurement with Belarus, Bulgaria, France, India, Jordan, PRC, Russia, Syria, and Ukraine leads to further sanctions erosion

371 PROC 01-Mar-03 MIC has accumulated $300M+ in reserves

372 PROC Early March Saddam forms a funds distribution committee consisting of Minister of Finance, President of the Diwan, Presidential Secretary, and Qusay Husayn

373 POL 06-Mar-03 UNMOVIC publishes report - Unresolved Disarmament Issues (Clusters)

374 POL 10-Mar-03 France threatens veto of UN resolution authorizing war; later opposes OIF

375 POL 18-Mar-03 UNMOVIC and IAEA depart Iraq

376 POL 19-Mar-03 Initiation of hostilities

377 POL Late March 2003 Saddam implies to military leaders that he has secret weapon




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