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Guest BROWNer


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Guest BROWNer

things are heating up for team bush!



16 Words, and Counting



After I wrote a month ago about the Niger uranium hoax in the State of the Union address, a senior White House official chided me gently and explained that there was more to the story that I didn't know.


Yup. And now it's coming out.


Based on conversations with people in the intelligence community, this picture is emerging: the White House, eager to spice up the State of the Union address, recklessly resurrected the discredited Niger tidbit. The Central Intelligence Agency objected, and then it and the National Security Council negotiated a new wording, attributing it all to the Brits. It felt less dishonest pinning the falsehood on the cousins.


What troubles me is not that single episode, but the broader pattern of dishonesty and delusion that helped get us into the Iraq mess — and that created the false expectations undermining our occupation today. Some in the administration are trying to make George Tenet the scapegoat for the affair. But Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of retired spooks, issued an open letter to President Bush(READ BELOW) yesterday reflecting the view of many in the intel community that the central culprit is Vice President Dick Cheney. The open letter called for Mr. Cheney's resignation.


Condi Rice says she first learned of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's fact-finding trip to Niger during a TV interview, presumably when George Stephanopoulos asked her on "This Week" on June 8 about a column by me describing the trip. (Condi, you're breaking my heart — you didn't read that column itself? How about if I fax you copies of everything I write, so you don't miss any, and you fax me everything you write?)


Actually, I have to agree with Ms. Rice that the focus on that single sentence in the State of the Union address is a bit obsessive. It was only 16 words, attributed in a weaselly way that made it almost accurate, and as any journalist knows well, mistakes do get into print.


So the problem is not those 16 words, by themselves, but the larger pattern of abuse of intelligence. The silver lining is that the spooks are so upset that they're speaking out.


The Defense Intelligence Agency has had town hall meetings in which everyone was told not to talk to journalists (thanks, guys, for naming me in particular). One insider complains: "In the most recent meeting, we also were told that, as much as possible, we should avoid `caveat-ing' our intelligence assessments. . . . Forget nuance, forget fine distinctions; they only confuse these guys. If that isn't a downright scary dumbing-down of our intelligence product, I don't know what is."


Intelligence isn't just being dumbed down, but is also being manipulated — and it's continuing. Experts say the recent firefight on the Syrian-Iraq border involved not Saddam Hussein or a family member, as we were led to believe, but just some Iraqi petroleum smugglers. Moreover, Patrick Lang, a former senior D.I.A. official, says that many in the government believe that incursion was an effort by ideologues to disrupt cooperation between the U.S. and Syria.


While the scandal has so far focused on Iraq, the manipulations appear to be global. For example, one person from the intelligence community recalls an administration hard-liner's urging the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research to state that Cuba has a biological weapons program. The spooks refused, and Colin Powell backed them.


Then there's North Korea. The C.I.A.'s assessments on North Korea's nuclear weaponry were suddenly juiced up beginning in December 2001. The alarmist assessments (based on no new evidence) continued until January of this year, when the White House wanted to play down the Korean crisis. Then assessments abruptly restored the less ominous language of the 1990's.


The latest issue of the Naval War College Review describes the ambiguities of the North Korean uranium program and argues that U.S. officials "opted to exploit the intelligence for political purposes."


"Is there a parallel with what is now going on, after the fact, in estimates about Iraq?" asked the article's author, Jonathan Pollack, chairman of the Strategic Research Department of the Naval War College, in an interview. "I think there may be."


So that chiding White House official was right: there was more to the picture. But I'm afraid the bigger the picture gets, the more it looks like a pattern of dishonesty. __





Intelligence Unglued

Raymond McGovern, _July 14, 2003





FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity


SUBJECT: Intelligence Unglued


The glue that holds the Intelligence Community together is melting under the hot lights of an awakened press. If you do not act quickly, your intelligence capability will fall apart-with grave consequences for the nation.


The Forgery Flap


By now you are all too familiar with the play-by-play. The Iraq-seeking-uranium-in-Niger forgery is a microcosm of a mischievous nexus of overarching problems. Instead of addressing these problems, your senior staff are alternately covering up for one another and gently stabbing one another in the back. CIA Director George Tenet's extracted, unapologetic apology on July 11 was classic-I confess; she did it.


It is now dawning on our until-now somnolent press that your national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, shepherds the foreign affairs sections of your state-of-the-union address and that she, not Tenet, is responsible for the forged information getting into the speech. But the disingenuousness persists. Surely Dr. Rice cannot persist in her insistence that she learned only on June 8, 2003 about former ambassador Joseph Wilson's mission to Niger in February 2002, when he determined that the Iraq-Niger report was a con-job. Wilson's findings were duly reported to all concerned in early March 2002. And, if she somehow missed that report, the New York Times' Nicholas Kristoff on May 6 recounted chapter and verse on Wilson's mission, and the story remained the talk of the town in the weeks that followed.


Rice's denials are reminiscent of her claim in spring 2002 that there was no reporting suggesting that terrorists were planning to hijack planes and slam them into buildings. In September, the joint congressional committee on 9/11 came up with a dozen such reports.


Secretary of State Colin Powell's credibility, too, has taken serious hits as continued non-discoveries of weapons in Iraq heap doubt on his confident assertions to the UN. Although he was undoubtedly trying to be helpful in trying to contain the Iraq-Niger forgery affair, his recent description of your state-of-the-union words as "not totally outrageous" was faint praise indeed. And his explanations as to why he made a point to avoid using the forgery in the way you did was equally unhelpful.


Whatever Rice's or Powell's credibility, it is yours that matters. And, in our view, the credibility of the intelligence community is an inseparably close second. Attempts to dismiss or cover up the cynical use to which the known forgery was put have been-well, incredible. The British have a word for it: "dodgy." You need to put a quick end to the dodginess, if the country is to have a functioning intelligence community.


The Vice President's Role


Attempts at cover up could easily be seen as comical, were the issue not so serious. Highly revealing were Ari Fleisher's remarks early last week, which set the tone for what followed. When asked about the forgery, he noted tellingly-as if drawing on well memorized talking points-that the Vice President was not guilty of anything. The disingenuousness was capped on Friday, when George Tenet did his awkward best to absolve the Vice President from responsibility.


To those of us who experienced Watergate these comments had an eerie ring. That affair and others since have proven that cover-up can assume proportions overshadowing the crime itself. All the more reason to take early action to get the truth up and out.


There is just too much evidence that Ambassador Wilson was sent to Niger at the behest of Vice President Cheney's office, and that Wilson's findings were duly reported not only to that office but to others as well.


Equally important, it was Cheney who launched (in a major speech on August 26, 2002) the concerted campaign to persuade Congress and the American people that Saddam Hussein was about to get his hands on nuclear weapons-a campaign that mushroomed, literally, in early October with you and your senior advisers raising the specter of a "mushroom cloud" being the first "smoking gun" we might observe.


That this campaign was based largely on information known to be forged and that the campaign was used successfully to frighten our elected representatives in Congress into voting for war is clear from the bitter protestations of Rep. Henry Waxman and others. The politically aware recognize that the same information was used, also successfully, in the campaign leading up to the mid-term elections-a reality that breeds a cynicism highly corrosive to our political process.


The fact that the forgery also crept into your state-of-the-union address pales in significance in comparison with how it was used to deceive Congress into voting on October 11 to authorize you to make war on Iraq.


It was a deep insult to the integrity of the intelligence process that, after the Vice President declared on August 26, 2002 that "we know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons," the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) produced during the critical month of September featured a fraudulent conclusion that "most analysts" agreed with Cheney's assertion. This may help explain the anomaly of Cheney's unprecedented "multiple visits" to CIA headquarters at the time, as well as the many reports that CIA and other intelligence analysts were feeling extraordinarily great pressure, accompanied by all manner of intimidation tactics, to concur in that conclusion. As a coda to his nuclear argument, Cheney told NBC's Meet the Press three days before U.S./U.K. forces invaded Iraq: "we believe he (Saddam Hussein) has reconstituted nuclear weapons."


Mr. Russert: …the International Atomic Energy Agency said he dose not have a nuclear program; we disagree?


Vice President Cheney: I disagree, yes. And you'll find the CIA, for example, and other key parts of the intelligence community disagree…we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei (Director of the IAEA) frankly is wrong.


Contrary to what Cheney and the NIE said, the most knowledgeable analysts-those who know Iraq and nuclear weapons-judged that the evidence did not support that conclusion. They now have been proven right.


Adding insult to injury, those chairing the NIE succumbed to the pressure to adduce the known forgery as evidence to support the Cheney line, and relegated the strong dissent of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (and the nuclear engineers in the Department of Energy) to an inconspicuous footnote.


It is a curious turn of events. The drafters of the offending sentence on the forgery in president's state-of-the-union speech say they were working from the NIE. In ordinary circumstances an NIE would be the preeminently authoritative source to rely upon; but in this case the NIE itself had already been cooked to the recipe of high policy.


Joseph Wilson, the former U.S. ambassador who visited Niger at Cheney's request, enjoys wide respect (including, like several VIPS members, warm encomia from your father). He is the consummate diplomat. So highly disturbed is he, however, at the chicanery he has witnessed that he allowed himself a very undiplomatic comment to a reporter last week, wondering aloud "what else they are lying about." Clearly, Wilson has concluded that the time for diplomatic language has passed. It is clear that lies were told. Sad to say, it is equally clear that your vice president led this campaign of deceit.


This was no case of petty corruption of the kind that forced Vice President Spiro Agnew's resignation. This was a matter of war and peace. Thousands have died. There is no end in sight.


Recommendation #1


We recommend that you call an abrupt halt to attempts to prove Vice President Cheney "not guilty." His role has been so transparent that such attempts will only erode further your own credibility. Equally pernicious, from our perspective, is the likelihood that intelligence analysts will conclude that the way to success is to acquiesce in the cooking of their judgments, since those above them will not be held accountable. We strongly recommend that you ask for Cheney's immediate resignation.


The Games Congress Plays


The unedifying dance by the various oversight committees of the Congress over recent weeks offers proof, if further proof were needed, that reliance on Congress to investigate in a non-partisan way is pie in the sky. One need only to recall that Sen. Pat Roberts, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has refused to agree to ask the FBI to investigate the known forgery. Despite repeated attempts by others on his committee to get him to bring in the FBI, Roberts has branded such a move "inappropriate," without spelling out why.


Rep. Porter Goss, head of the House Intelligence Committee, is a CIA alumnus and a passionate Republican and agency partisan. Goss was largely responsible for the failure of the joint congressional committee on 9/11, which he co-chaired last year. An unusually clear indication of where Goss' loyalties lie can be seen in his admission that after a leak to the press last spring he bowed to Cheney's insistence that the FBI be sent to the Hill to investigate members and staff of the joint committee-an unprecedented move reflecting blithe disregard for the separation of powers and a blatant attempt at intimidation. (Congress has its own capability to investigate such leaks.)


Henry Waxman's recent proposal to create yet another congressional investigatory committee, patterned on the latest commission looking into 9/11, likewise holds little promise. To state the obvious about Congress, politics is the nature of the beast. We have seen enough congressional inquiries into the performance of intelligence to conclude that they are usually as feckless as they are prolonged. And time cannot wait.


As you are aware, Gen. Brent Scowcroft performed yeoman's service as National Security Adviser to your father and enjoys very wide respect. There are few, if any, with his breadth of experience with the issues and the institutions involved. In addition, he has avoided blind parroting of the positions of your administration and thus would be seen as relatively nonpartisan, even though serving at your pleasure. It seems a stroke of good luck that he now chairs your President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board


Recommendation #2


We repeat, with an additional sense of urgency, the recommendation in our last memorandum to you (May 1) that you appoint Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Chair of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board to head up an independent investigation into the use/abuse of intelligence on Iraq.


UN Inspectors


Your refusal to allow UN inspectors back into Iraq has left the international community befuddled. Worse, it has fed suspicions that the U.S. does not want UN inspectors in country lest they impede efforts to "plant" some "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, should efforts to find them continue to fall short. The conventional wisdom is less conspiratorial but equally unsatisfying. The cognoscenti in Washington think tanks, for example, attribute your attitude to "pique."


We find neither the conspiracy nor the "pique" rationale persuasive. As we have admitted before, we are at a loss to explain the barring of UN inspectors. Barring the very people with the international mandate, the unique experience, and the credibility to undertake a serious search for such weapons defies logic. UN inspectors know Iraq, know the weaponry in question, know the Iraqi scientists/engineers who have been involved, know how the necessary materials are procured and processed; in short, have precisely the expertise required. The challenge is as daunting as it is immediate; and, clearly, the U.S. needs all the help it can get.


The lead Wall Street Journal article of April 8 had it right: "If the U.S. doesn't make any undisputed discoveries of forbidden weapons, the failure will feed already-widespread skepticism abroad about the motives for going to war." As the events of last week show, that skepticism has now mushroomed here at home as well.


Recommendation #3


We recommend that you immediately invite the UN inspectors back into Iraq. This would go a long way toward refurbishing your credibility. Equally important, it would help sort out the lessons learned for the intelligence community and be an invaluable help to an investigation of the kind we have suggested you direct Gen. Scowcroft to lead.


If Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity can be of any further help to you in the days ahead, you need only ask.



Ray Close, Princeton, NJ

David MacMichael, Linden, VA

Raymond McGovern, Arlington, VA


Steering Committee


Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity


Raymond McGovern is a member of the Steering Committee, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He can be contacted at: rmcgovern@slschool.org.


















shit is gettin' hectic boyeee!

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Originally posted by JimmieWalker

that is way too long to read. Does anyone want to give me the break down?


whats the matter,miss a dose of ritalin ?

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Guest BROWNer

and it gets worse:


Black Thursday For Bush

by David S. Broder


If President Bush is not reelected, we may look back on last Thursday, July 10, 2003, as the day the shadow of defeat first crossed his political horizon. To be sure, Bush looks strong. The CBS News poll released that evening had his approval rating at 60 percent, with solid support from his own party, a 26-point lead among independents and a near-even split among Democrats. Two-thirds of those surveyed could not name a single one of the nine Democrats vying for the right to oppose him.


But "The CBS Evening News" that night was like Karl Rove's worst nightmare, and the other network newscasts -- still the main source of information for a large number of Americans -- were not much better.


The headlines announced by John Roberts, substituting for Dan Rather on CBS, were: "President Bush's false claim about Iraqi weapons; he made it despite a CIA warning the intelligence was bad. More Americans say U.S. is losing control of Iraq. Also tonight, food lines in America; they're back and getting longer."


Brian Williams, filling in for Tom Brokaw on NBC, began: "War zone. Two more Americans dead in Iraq, and now the general who led the war says the troops could be there four more years."


Peter Jennings on ABC gave the administration a break, opening the broadcast with this: "The secretary of state says there was no attempt to deceive the American people about the case for war in Iraq." But then Jennings described Colin Powell's news conference as "damage control," an effort to explain "why the president used some false information in his State of the Union address to justify attacking Iraq."


All of them -- and cable news -- cited the dissonant voices from within the administration blaming one another for Bush's use of a report, which the CIA had long since discredited, claiming that Iraq tried to buy uranium for a nuclear weapons program from the African country of Niger.


Even after CIA Director George Tenet tried to take responsibility for the foul-up, the White House faces a credibility gap that reaches down into the non-discovery of the weapons of mass destruction Bush and his top associates said Saddam Hussein was amassing to threaten the United States.


And the doubts don't stop there. Two and a half months after Bush proclaimed victory in Iraq -- "mission accomplished" -- CBS reported that only 45 percent of the public now believes the United States is in control of events there. On the question of credibility regarding weapons of mass destruction, 56 percent say Bush administration officials were hiding important elements of what they knew or were outright lying.


The next day a Washington Post-ABC News poll reported that while Bush's approval score was still at a healthy 59 percent, there had been a 9-point drop in less than three weeks both in his overall rating and on the question of confidence in his handling of Iraq. Ominously, the poll found a dramatic reversal in public tolerance of continuing casualties, with a majority saying for the first time that the losses are unacceptable when weighed against the goals of the war.


Eight out of 10 in the Post-ABC poll said they were very or somewhat concerned that the United States "will get bogged down in a long and costly peacekeeping mission." And this was before the networks showed Gen. Tommy Franks telling Congress the troops would be in Iraq for years.


If Iraq looks increasingly worrisome on TV and in the polls, the economy is even worse. CBS found jobs and the economy dwarfing every other issue, cited by almost four times as many people as cited Iraq or the war on terrorism. On that black Thursday for the administration, first-time unemployment claims pushed the number of Americans on jobless relief to the highest level in 20 years.


And the most troubling pictures on any of the three broadcasts were those of a line of cars, stretching out of sight down a flat two-lane road in Logan, Ohio -- jobless and struggling families waiting for the twice-a-month distribution of free food by the local office of America's Second Harvest. The head of the agency said, "We are seeing a new phenomenon: Last year's food bank donors are now this year's food bank clients." Said CBS reporter Cynthia Bowers, "You could call it a line of the times, because in a growing number of American communities these days, making ends meet means waiting for a handout."


Some may say, "Well, it's one day's news," or dismiss it all as media bias. But that does not dissolve the shadow that now hangs over Bush's bright hopes for a second term.




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Guest BROWNer

condi creeps me out. george creeps my out. george senior really creeps me

out. cheney really really creeps me out. so does rumskull. they all creep

me out.

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For example, one person from the intelligence community recalls an administration hard-liner's urging the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research to state that Cuba has a biological weapons program.


oh my.


Cuba hardly has paint for the walls and oil for the cars let alone bio-chems.

If the old guard conservatives still think Cuba has any threat potential

then they are trully living a ColdWar flashback.

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Guest BROWNer

that's a good question...i remember reading about the history of

the base, but i couldn't remember the gist if my life depended on

it..and as far as al qaeda members being there...???i don't know..

maybe smart would know..seems like somethin' he'd have info on..

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the base in cuba is one of the best defended bases because it was under seige for so long.


There was a time when Cuban snipers would take pot shots at Americans

and because of that crossfire, no one else would try to get in between it.

One of the reasons is that the climate is similar to the temperature in the

middle east. The guards have been know to change the temperature and

decoration so that the prisioners think they are being moved all over the

world and interrogated by different armed forces.


I personally think that they picked their Cuban base because they can

limit access to American News Media.

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if there is an 'illuminati'-esque group out there you know that they are laughing at the US right now.

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Guest BROWNer

so..there's a part of you that's still unsure?

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Originally posted by ~KRYLON2~

im pretty sure this isn't the first time our government has lied to us


i dont know dood, thats pretty far out

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Hey BROWNer. I am drunk at this moment but i assure you that i will get through this tomorrow (i only got 1/2 way before i said "Oh-shit"). I have a question for you though. It's not really relevant or important but what age range are you and what type of shit do you do for a living?Just curious cuz you seem to always bring the insight.

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