Friday, March 23, 2007

VP and National Security Office Blotter Blunders . . . .

More from Ron Suskind's "The One Percent Doctrine": (Emphasis mine)

On Friday afternoon, January 10 (2003), Jami Miscik, the head of the DI walked down the hall on the seventh floor shaking with rage.

John Moseman, Tenet's chief of staff, saw her as she passed his office.

"You okay?"

"No. I'm not okay. I'm definitely not okay!"

A moment later, she'd made it to Tenet's suite.

She barely could get out the words. Stephen Hadley, Condi's second, had called from the office of "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

They wanted her down at Libby's office in the White House by 5 p.m. At issue was the last in an endless series of draft reports about the connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. How many drafts? Miscik couldn't remember. The pressure from the White House - and from the various intelligence divisions under the Vice President and The Secretary of Defense - had started a week after 9/11.

Cheney's office claimed to have sources. And Rumsfeld's, too. They kept throwing them at Miscik and CIA. The same information, five different ways. They'd omit that a key piece had been discounted, the the source had recanted.
Sorry, our mistake. Then it would reappear, again, in a memo the next week. The CIA held firm: the meeting in Prague between Atta and the Iraqi agent didn't occur.

Miscik was no fool. She understood what was going on. It wasn't about what was true, or verifiable. It was about a defensible position, or at least one that would hold up until the troops were marching through Baghdad, welcomed as liberators.

A few days before, when she had sent the final draft over to Libby and Hadley, she told them, emphatically,
This is it. There would be no more drafts, no more meetings where her analysts sat across from Hadley, or Feith, or the guys in Feith's office, while the opposing team tried to slip something by them. The report was not what they wanted. She knew that. No evidence meant no evidence.

"I'm not going back there, again, George," Miscik said. "If I have to go back to hear their crap and rewrite this goddamn report . . . . I'm resigning, right now."

She fought back tears of rage.

Tenet picked up the phone to call Hadley.

"She is not coming over," he shouted into the phone. "We are not rewriting this fucking report one more time. It is fucking over. Do you hear me! And don't you ever fucking treat my people this way again. Ever!"

They did not rewrite the report.

And that's why, three weeks later, in making the case for war in his State of the Union address, George W. Bush was not able to say what he'd long hoped to say at such a moment: that there was a pre-9/11 connection between al Qaeda and Saddam.

One down. But two salient points - wobbly, but still standing - on the heart-stopping issue of nuclear weapons remained in the text: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

Both statements were crafted to carry the clarion ring of proof, and both were known, by people inside the CIA and the White House, to fall far short of that standard.

And so, with the vp's office and condescending's office basically telling george what to do, is it any wonder we're in this mess?

I'd say no . . . .

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