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Democrats spin intel factor
By Carol Devine-Molin
The Democrats, working in tandem with their liberal media cohorts, are in a full-fledged feeding frenzy in efforts to demonize President Bush as a twister of truth. They are disseminating the "Big Lie" that Bush knowingly incorporated faulty intelligence into his 2003 State of the Union message in order to justify the Iraq War. What unadulterated hogwash!
When Bush referenced Iraqi attempts to procure uranium from Niger that originated with British intelligence, he was under the belief that the information had been properly vetted by the CIA. There was no subterfuge on President Bush's part, despite the subsequent yipping and yapping that we now hear from his political opponents.
As reported in the Associated Press, CIA Director George Tenet accepts full responsibility for the faux pas under discussion, stating, "Let me be clear about several things right up front…First, the CIA approved the President's State of the Union address before it was delivered. Second, I am responsible for the approval process in my agency. And third, the President had every reason to believe that the text presented to him was sound". President Bush has voiced confidence in Tenet, and apparently has no plans to replace him as head of the CIA. But where is the notion of accountability, especially now that Tenet has admitted problems with a particular piece of British intel once deemed authentic by the CIA?
But it gets even more complicated. True, a forged instrument raises some doubts about Iraq's Niger connection. But British Prime Minister Tony Blair continues to vouch for the accuracy of the intel in question, claiming that multiple sources and electronic intercepts were utilized independent of the forged documents. The BBC recently quoted Blair in his testimony to the House of Commons Liaison Committee as follows: "The evidence that we had that the Iraqi Government had gone back to try to purchase further amounts of uranium from Niger did not come from these so-called ‘forged' documents; they came from separate intelligence." It's salient to note that generating accurate analysis from raw intelligence is both art and science, especially when operating within the scope of human intelligence. The apparent difference of opinion between the British and American intelligence communities represents an intriguing situation, for which there is no easy answer.
Well what are we to make of all this? Moreover, does anyone really think that Blair would have risked his political career on intelligence that he knew to be faulty? No, clearly Blair believed it to be correct at the time – and, seemingly, he still accepts this bit of controversial intel to be reliable. As for Bush, that's another story -- He relies upon a CIA that is now dodgy about an Iraq/Niger uranium link that may, or may not, have existed. Wouldn't it be wise to avoid conclusions until the entire matter is thoroughly examined and sorted out?
Well, that's not the way it works among the political enemies of George W. Bush. The Democrats will smear Bush to the hilt, no matter how tenuous the charge. You see, the spinmeisters never let the facts get in the way of their agenda. And the Democrats are determined to damage George Bush's presidency in any manner they can muster. The smear du jour is that Bush "lied" about intel to bolster his case for war. This is just the opening salvo of the 2004 presidential campaign. Therefore, expect all of the Democratic presidential wannabees to join in the fray, especially if they smell blood in the water. Make no mistake; there are many Democratic politicos and activists who harbor fantasies of a Bush impeachment, a sort of payback for the GOP-driven efforts to bring down the Clinton presidency only five short years ago.
The hoopla surrounding the intelligence community, both here and in Britain, is occurring for one primary reason – the WMD's have yet to surface in post-war Iraq. WMD's were among the well-touted reasons for war, and understandably the Americans and Brits want that "smoking gun". The unearthed mobile bio-labs didn't sufficiently assuage simply because biological or chemical substances couldn't be detected. Naturally, political opportunists, in tandem with the media, are going to make hay until WMD's are incontrovertibly identified.
But what will these naysayers do when evidence of WMD's inevitably emerges? They'll simper and slink away, as they always do. Importantly, the current controversy will only generate limited traction because people are cognizant that Saddam systematically brutalized his populace, including the torture and imprisonment of children, and harbored and funded terrorists. These circumstances alone merited Saddam's overthrow, and it's now ubiquitously acknowledged that the world is a safer place since his ouster.
Remember, the US was beating the drums for war for more than a year before we actually invaded Iraq. And it makes perfect sense that during the run-up to the war, Saddam hid, moved or destroyed his WMD's – that was surmised even before the Iraq War took place. Some WMD's might be intermingled among the arsenals of Syria, some might be secreted in underground bunkers or buried in Iraq, and some might have been disposed of in any number of ways. Call me cynical if you must, but Saddam's Ba'athist buddies in Syria were not on the receiving end of all that free Iraqi oil for nothing.
Furthermore, a bit of revisionist history is now taking place, specifically among the Left-leaning crowd. Ludicrous allegations are being promulgated that WMD's never existed in Iraq or were thoroughly destroyed years ago in compliance with the Gulf War ceasefire – assertions that fly in the face of all we know. If Bush and Blair were "lying" about Iraq's weapons, then so were members of the Clinton administration and the United Nations for that matter. In truth, intelligence agencies from various nations had drawn similar conclusions about Saddam's weapons programs during the past dozen years.
Let's put this in proper perspective -- we've only been searching for Iraq's WMD's for the past three months, hardly an eternity as the media and some politicos would have us believe. On a more hopeful note, ostensible "chemical weapons materials" located about two weeks ago in Iraq are now undergoing extensive testing and might pan out to be the evidence we've been seeking.
In this wartime atmosphere, the pivotal issue should be whether our leaders have reliable intelligence at their fingertips in order to successfully combat terrorism and ensure our survival. Personally, I'm of the opinion that George Tenet should be replaced since he was at the CIA's helm when the September 11th intelligence failures occurred. I think it would be fair to say that incompetent bureaucrats rarely improve. Moreover, maybe I understand the limits of government all too well since I still lack sufficient faith in the intelligence bureaucracy despite the highly lauded "reforms" currently underway. In his updated 2003 edition of Breakdown: The Failure of American Intelligence to Defeat Global Terror, author Bill Gertz maintains that our intelligence agencies are ill prepared to tackle terrorism due to poor leadership, such as that provided by George Tenet, and failure to implement necessary restructuring. For the sake of America, Gertz continues his clarion call for radical transformation of the intelligence community.
Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.
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