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Impeach Bush

Two CIA Meno's From Tenet: Remove Uranium Claim
By Dan Balz and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, July 24, 2003; Page A10

If President Bush's White House is known for anything, it is competence at delivering a disciplined message and deftness in dealing with bad news. That reputation has been badly damaged by the administration's clumsy efforts to explain how a statement based on disputed intelligence ended up in the president's State of the Union address.

How did the White House stumble so badly? There are a host of explanations, from White House officials, their allies outside the government and their opponents in the broader debate about whether the administration sought to manipulate evidence while building its case to go to war against Iraq.

But the dominant forces appear to have been the determination by White House officials to protect the president for using 16 questionable words about Iraq's attempts to buy uranium in Africa and a fierce effort by the Central Intelligence Agency to protect its reputation through bureaucratic infighting that has forced the president's advisers to repeatedly alter their initial version of events.

At several turns, when Bush might have taken responsibility for the language in his Jan. 28 address to the country, he and his top advisers resisted, claiming others -- particularly those in the intelligence community -- were responsible.

Asked again yesterday whether Bush should ultimately be held accountable for what he says, White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters, "Let's talk about what's most important. That's the war on terrorism, winning the war on terrorism. And the best way you do that is to go after the threats where they gather, not to let them come to our shore before it's too late."

White House finger-pointing in turn prompted the CIA's allies to fire back by offering evidence that ran counter to official White House explanations of events and by helping to reveal a chronology of events that forced the White House to change its story.

The latest turn came Tuesday, when deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley and White House communications director Dan Bartlett revealed the existence of two previously unknown memos showing that Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet had repeatedly urged the administration last October to remove a similar claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.

White House officials and their Republican allies in Congress hope the Hadley-Bartlett briefing will help the administration turn a corner on the controversy, and they plan a counteroffensive to try to put Bush's critics on the defensive. But the administration faces new risks as Congress begins its own investigations, which could bring the bureaucratic infighting into open conflict.

The White House and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence are trying to work out ground rules for the collection of information from National Security Council personnel involved in preparing the president's State of the Union address, according to administration and congressional sources.

"A list has gone to the White House and documents have been requested," according to one congressional aide. On that document list are the two memos cited by Hadley and Bartlett from the CIA, dated Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, which contained comments on specific sections of drafts of the president's Oct. 7 speech on the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

Tenet testified yesterday in closed session of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and today the CIA inspector general, John L. Helgerson, is scheduled to appear before the Senate intelligence panel to discuss the findings of his ongoing investigation of how the speech was vetted. Tenet was questioned about the State of the Union speech and about the intelligence developed around Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Beyond the memos, one area of potential risk for the administration is an October telephone call from Tenet to Hadley to make certain the offending language had been removed from Bush's Oct. 7 speech. Hadley said he cannot recall whether that issue was discussed with Tenet on Oct. 5, Oct. 6 or Oct. 7, but a senior administration official familiar with the events said it was "most likely" on Oct. 7, the day of Bush's speech. Going to Hadley directly indicated Tenet's fear that his underlings had not been successful.

Another potential problem for the White House is the sharp disagreement between testimony given the committee last Thursday by CIA senior analyst Alan Foley about his conversation with Robert Joseph, a National Security Council staff member, about what was to go into the State of the Union address and how Bartlett described it to reporters Tuesday.

For all the purported discipline and unity within the Bush administration, disputes among members of the national security team have been common, particularly in the run-up to the war with Iraq. Those disputes, however, generally pitted the State and Defense departments against one another, but once Bush made a decision, the combatants generally accepted that and moved on.

What is unusual about this episode is that the combatants are officials at the White House and the CIA -- and that the White House has tried without success to resolve the controversy. The biggest lesson learned so far, said one administration official, is that "you don't pick a bureaucratic fight with the CIA." To which a White House official replied, "That wasn't our intention, but that certainly has been the perception."

White House allies outside the government have expressed surprise at the administration's repeated missteps over the past two weeks, using phrases such as "stumbled," "caught flat-footed" and "can't get their story straight." Said one senior administration official, "These stories get legs when they're mishandled and this story has been badly mishandled."

Joe Lockhart, who was press secretary to President Bill Clinton, said he has been equally surprised by the way this White House has dealt with the controversy. "Their every move has resulted in people being more interested in the story rather than less interested," he said.

Mary Matalin, a former Bush White House adviser, said, "It's impossible to have a consistent message when the facts keep changing. We forsook consistency for honesty, in an effort to be as forthcoming as possible in putting out new facts as they became available."

A senior White House official said there are mitigating circumstances, beginning with the fact that the president was traveling in Africa when the controversy took root, while Tenet was also traveling. The unstable environment in postwar Iraq and the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found provided a foundation for more questions over Bush's State of the Union claims. "And you learn it's difficult to control unnamed sources on both sides, including in the White House," he added.

There are plenty of what-ifs about this dispute, the biggest being, what if Bush, while traveling in Africa, had simply taken responsibility for using a disputed claim in his speech, called it a mistake and argued that there was plenty of other evidence to support his determination to remove Hussein from power. Administration officials say that would not have changed things. "[The press] would have asked, how did it get in there," said a White House official involved in the dispute. "This was a process story and [having Bush take responsibility] didn't answer the process questions."

The first crack in the administration came on July 7, the morning Bush was leaving for Africa, when then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters it was wrong to have used the statement in the speech because the administration had learned after the speech was delivered that the claim was based on forged intelligence documents.

Fleischer's statement triggered a barrage of questions that followed the presidential entourage through Africa, and his explanation of what had happened was quickly overtaken by new statements coming from the administration.

While in Africa, Bush and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice publicly pinned the blame on the CIA, a decision that in retrospect was clearly a mistake. Tenet, who had spoken to Rice that morning, issued a planned statement in which he took responsibility.

His statement was wrongly interpreted as his acceptance of sole responsibility. But a careful reading of the three-page statement showed that he only took responsibility for his agency's failure to be more diligent in making sure the language was kept out of the president's speech, and he pointed to National Security Council officials who wanted to keep the language despite the agency's protests.

By the time Bush returned from Africa, a new controversy had erupted after revelations that the White House and the CIA had battled last fall over removing similar language from the Oct. 7 speech.

When the White House attempted last Friday to portray Tenet's intervention in that episode as solely a technical matter involving intelligence sourcing, the CIA responded by letting it be known that Tenet had objected to exactly the same language that was in the State of the Union address.

The fact that it was backed up by memos forced the White House to go through the embarrassment of having Hadley publicly acknowledge he was at fault for not remembering in January that the White House had removed the same language just three months earlier.

Staff writer Mike Allen contributed

to this report.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
I don't get what all the huff is about. Bush lied about a threat to our national security and uranium is such a small part of that lie. Let's move on to the other war lies, then on to his record deficits and debt.


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Bush is not a fact checker
Sunday Morning Herald (Au)
By Bob Deans in Washington
July 21, 2003

The US State Department cast doubts on British claims that Iraq was seeking nuclear weapons material in Africa four months before President George Bush included the charge in a speech in January, excerpts from a top secret document made public by the White House show.

"The claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR's [the department's in-house intelligence arm] assessment, highly dubious," the State Department wrote in a 90-page report prepared by the CIA in October.

The report was released by the White House on Friday in an attempt to dampen controversy over the way Mr Bush used intelligence information to muster public support for war against Iraq.

It largely substantiates Mr Bush's claim that it was believed Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons and said there was "compelling evidence" that Baghdad was also pursuing nuclear weapons.

A White House official said it was unclear whether Mr Bush was aware of the State Department's reservations before he delivered his State of the Union address on January 28.

"I don't think he sat down over a long weekend and read every word of it," the official said, referring to the classified October document.

"He relies upon his Administration, the CIA, themselves, as well, to give their best judgments." The President was "not a fact checker", the official said.

At issue is the comment Mr Bush made in the address, which he attributed to British intelligence reports, claiming that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger.

An Italian journalist, Elisabetta Burba, said in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Saturday that she gave documents on Iraq seeking uranium from Niger to the US embassy in Rome last year to try to find out if the information was credible.

"The story seemed fake to me," she said, and she published nothing on it. "I realised that this could be a worldwide scoop, but . . . if it turned out to be a hoax and I published it I would have ended my career."

While critics of Mr Bush's policy have been saying the State Department disagreed with the CIA, Friday marked the first time a document outlining the department's views was made public.

The State Department's dissent said Saddam Hussein "continues to want nuclear weapons" and is making "at least a limited effort to maintain and acquire nuclear weapon-related capabilities". Those activities "do not, however, add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing an . . . integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons".

A US official repeated on Friday what the White House has said since last week, that it was a mistake for the Niger claims to be included in Mr Bush's speech.

. Two US soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were killed and another was injured when their convoy came under rocket propelled grenade and small arms fire in northern Iraq yesterday.

Cox News Service, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe

Commentary:
"Not a fact-checker?" Good grief, the President of the United States takes us to war based on unverified words someone told him. We can safely be reassured Bush is nothing more than a puppet. Real presidents know all the facts before they tell the American people. Why exactly do we have a president if he's clueless about what he's talking about?


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Australian WMD Whistleblower
The Sydney Morning Herald
By Caroline Overington
July 21 2003

Now the war is over and the weapons of mass destruction that Iraq supposedly possessed have yet to be found, Andrew Wilkie should be looking - and feeling - like a champion whistleblower.

But he does not feel like a winner - far from it. "I think I'm holding up pretty well, no more than that," he says.

Mr Wilkie, 41, thrust himself into this situation when he resigned from Australia's Office of National Assessments (ONA) on March 11, saying he could not work there while the Howard Government was using ONA's intelligence to argue that Saddam Hussein was armed and so dangerous that he needed to be removed by force.

"I certainly didn't expect that four months later I would be standing here in Washington," he said. "Some people have criticised me for somehow enjoying this. The bottom line is, I'm exhausted. I haven't had a chance to get a job. I don't know what the prospects there are. I want to get on with my life, but I don't have that opportunity."

Mr Wilkie's campaign has so far taken him from Canberra to London and now Washington. He is always on edge because there are cameras wherever he goes, and also because he thinks the Australian Government is trying to destabilise him, by questioning his credibility and his mental stability.

"The day after I resigned somebody in the PM's office leaked to the media that I am having family problems, and that I was mentally unstable. "Events were moving pretty quickly, but I clearly remember that a guy called me, around midday, and said he was from the Prime Minister's office. . . . He said that Howard was personally very sorry that this story had been leaked by a junior person on his staff.

"They told me that they would retract the story, and to its credit, the press did not follow the story or ask me about it. My wife and I are separated, but I don't think that means I'm crazy, and the only reason I'm explaining it now is because I don't want people to think that any of it is true, but that's the kind of thing that has been happening to me.

"There's been an ongoing campaign, with the PM and the Foreign Minister saying I have no credibility, because I never worked on Iraq when I was with ONA."

His former boss, the ONA director-general, Kim Jones, has also said that Mr Wilkie's work did not involve Iraq.

Mr Wilkie admits that he was mostly involved with "terrorism and migration issues" but, he said: "I also worked on weapons of mass destruction, and I was on call to work on any war that came along, and I was on call to work on Iraq, and that means I had access to the Iraq database."

Copyright  © 2003. The Sydney Morning Herald.

Commentary:
Australia is quickly moving away from the US and Britain. In a future article, Australia takes on the Bush lie-machine and demands they stop saying Australia is a target of terrorism. Bush is expected to retract that lie or exaggeration soon too according to news sources.


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CIA Didn't OK Bush's 45 Minute Claim
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 20, 2003; Page A01

The White House, in the run-up to war in Iraq, did not seek CIA approval before charging that Saddam Hussein could launch a biological or chemical attack within 45 minutes, administration officials now say.

The claim, which has since been discredited, was made twice by President Bush, in a September Rose Garden appearance after meeting with lawmakers and in a Saturday radio address the same week. Bush attributed the claim to the British government, but in a "Global Message" issued Sept. 26 and still on the White House Web site, the White House claimed, without attribution, that Iraq "could launch a biological or chemical attack 45 minutes after the order is given."

The 45-minute claim is at the center of a scandal in Britain that led to the apparent suicide on Friday of a British weapons scientist who had questioned the government's use of the allegation. The scientist, David Kelly, was being investigated by the British parliament as the suspected source of a BBC report that the 45-minute claim was added to Britain's public "dossier" on Iraq in September at the insistence of an aide to Prime Minister Tony Blair -- and against the wishes of British intelligence, which said the charge was from a single source and was considered unreliable.

The White House embraced the claim, from a British dossier on Iraq, at the same time it began to promote the dossier's disputed claim that Iraq sought uranium in Africa.

Bush administration officials last week said the CIA was not consulted about the claim. A senior White House official did not dispute that account, saying presidential remarks such as radio addresses are typically "circulated at the staff level" within the White House only.

Virtually all of the focus on whether Bush exaggerated intelligence about Iraq's weapons ambitions has been on the credibility of a claim he made in the Jan. 28 State of the Union address about efforts to buy uranium in Africa. But an examination of other presidential remarks, which received little if any scrutiny by intelligence agencies, indicates Bush made more broad accusations on other intelligence matters related to Iraq.

For example, the same Rose Garden speech and Sept. 28 radio address that mentioned the 45-minute accusation also included blunt assertions by Bush that "there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq." This claim was highly disputed among intelligence experts; a group called Ansar al-Islam in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq and Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, who could have been in Iraq, were both believed to have al Qaeda contacts but were not themselves part of al Qaeda.

Bush was more qualified in his major Oct. 7 speech in Cincinnati, mentioning al Qaeda members who got training and medical treatment from Iraq. The State of the Union address was also more hedged about whether al Qaeda members were in Iraq, saying "Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda."

Bush did not mention Iraq in his radio address yesterday. Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), delivering the Democratic radio address, suggested that the dispute over the uranium claim in the State of the Union "is about whether administration officials made a conscious and very troubling decision to create a false impression about the gravity and imminence of the threat that Iraq posed to America." Levin said there is evidence the uranium claim "was just one of many questionable statements and exaggerations by the intelligence community and administration officials in the buildup to the war."

The 45-minute accusation is particularly noteworthy because of the furor it has caused in Britain, where the charge originated. A parliamentary inquiry determined earlier this month that the claim "did not warrant the prominence given to it in the dossier, because it was based on intelligence from a single, uncorroborated source." The inquiry also concluded that "allegations of politically inspired meddling cannot credibly be established."

As it turns out, the 45-minute charge was not true; though forbidden weapons may yet be found in Iraq, an adviser to the Bush administration on arms issues said last week that such weapons were not ready to be used on short notice.

The 45-minute allegation did not appear in the major speeches Bush made about Iraq in Cincinnati in October or in his State of the Union address, both of which were made after consultation with the CIA. But the White House considered the 45-minute claim significant and drew attention to it the day the British dossier was released. Asked if there was a "smoking gun" in the British report, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer on Sept. 24 highlighted that charge and the charge that Iraq sought uranium in Africa.

"I think there was new information in there, particularly about the 45-minute threshold by which Saddam Hussein has got his biological and chemical weapons triggered to be launched," Fleischer said. "There was new information in there about Saddam Hussein's efforts to obtain uranium from African nations. That was new information."

The White House use of the 45-minute charge is another indication of its determination to build a case against Hussein even without the participation of U.S. intelligence services. The controversy over the administration's use of intelligence has largely focused on claims made about the Iraqi nuclear program, particularly attempts to buy uranium in Africa. But the accusation that Iraq could launch a chemical or biological attack on a moment's notice was significant because it added urgency to the administration's argument that Hussein had to be dealt with quickly.

Using the single-source British accusation appears to have violated the administration's own standard. In a briefing for reporters on Friday, a senior administration official, discussing the decision to remove from the Cincinnati speech an allegation that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Niger, said CIA Director George J. Tenet told the White House that "for a presidential speech, the standard ought to be higher than just relying upon one source. Oftentimes, a lot of these things that are embodied in this document are based on multiple sources. And in this case, that was a single source being cited, and he felt that that was not appropriate."

The British parliamentary inquiry reported this month that the claim came from one source, and "it appears that no evidence was found which corroborated the information supplied by the source, although it was consistent with a pattern of evidence of Iraq's military capability over time. Neither are we aware that there was any corroborating evidence from allies through the intelligence-sharing machinery. It is also significant that the US did not refer to the claim publicly." The report said the investigators "have not seen a satisfactory answer" to why the government gave the claim such visibility.

Staff writer Walter Pincus contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Good, another lie bites the dust. Now we should spend months talking about the 45 minute lie so every American understands the job of presidency is beyond this man's abilities.


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Why A Special Prosecutor's Investigation Is Needed
FindLaw
John Dean
Friday, Jul. 18, 2003

The heart of President Bush's January 28 State of the Union address was his case for going to war against Saddam Hussein. In making his case, the President laid out fact after fact about Saddam's alleged unconventional weapons. Indeed, the claim that these WMDs posed an imminent threat was his primary argument in favor of war.

Now, as more and more time passes with WMDs still not found, it seems that some of those facts may not have been true. In particular, recent controversy has focused on the President's citations to British intelligence purportedly showing that Saddam was seeking "significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

In this column, I will examine the publicly available evidence relating to this and other statements in the State of the Union concerning Saddam's WMDs. Obviously, I do not have access to the classified information the President doubtless relied upon. But much of the relevant information he drew from appears to have been declassified, and made available for inquiring minds.

What I found, in critically examining Bush's evidence, is not pretty. The African uranium matter is merely indicative of larger problems, and troubling questions of potential and widespread criminality when taking the nation to war. It appears that not only the Niger uranium hoax, but most everything else that Bush said about Saddam Hussein's weapons was false, fabricated, exaggerated, or phony.

Bush repeatedly, in his State of the Union, presented beliefs, estimates, and educated guesses as established fact. Genuine facts are truths that can be known or are observable, and the distance between fact and belief is uncertainty, which can be infinite. Authentic facts are not based on hopes or wishes or even probabilities. Now it is little wonder that none of these purported WMDs has been discovered in Iraq.

So egregious and serious are Bush's misrepresentations that they appear to be a deliberate effort to mislead Congress and the public. So arrogant and secretive is the Bush White House that only a special prosecutor can effectively answer and address these troubling matters. Since the Independent Counsel statute has expired, the burden is on President Bush to appoint a special prosecutor - and if he fails to do so, he should be held accountable by Congress and the public.

In making this observation, I realize that some Republicans will pound the patriotism drum, claiming that anyone who questions Bush's call to arms is politicizing the Iraqi war. But I have no interest in partisan politics, only good government - which is in serious trouble when we stop debating these issues, or absurdly accuse those who do of treason.

As Ohio's Republican Senator Robert A. Taft, a man whose patriotism cannot be questioned, remarked less than two weeks after Pearl Harbor, "[C]riticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government.... [T]he maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country ... more good than it will do the enemy [who might draw comfort from it], and it will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur." (Emphasis added.)

It is in that sprit that I address Bush's troubling assertions.

A Closer Look At Bush's Facts in the State of the Union

Bush offered eight purported facts as the gist of his case for war. It appears he presented what was believed to be the strongest evidence first:

Purported Bush Fact 1: "The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons materials sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax - enough doses to kill several million people. He hasn't accounted for that material. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed it. "

Source: Bush cites the United Nations Special Commission [UNSCOM] 1999 Report to the UN Security Council. But most all the Report's numbers are estimates, in which UNSCOM had varying degrees of confidence.

In addition, UNSCOM did not specifically make the claim that Bush attributes to it. Instead, the Report only mentions precursor materials ("growth media") that might be used to develop anthrax. One must make a number of additional assumptions to produce the "over 25,000 liters of anthrax" the President claimed.

Earlier the same month, in a January 23 document, the State Department, similarly cited the UNSCOM report, although noticeably more accurately than the President: "The UN Special Commission concluded that Iraq did not verifiably account for, at a minimum, 2160kg of growth media. This is enough to produce 26,000 liters of anthrax.." (Emphasis added.) State does not explain how it projected a thousand liters more than the president.

And two days after the State of the Union, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage addressed the UNSCOM estimates in a more truthful light: as a reference to the" biological agent that U.N. inspectors believe Iraq produced." (Emphasis added.)

It short, in the State of the Union, the president transformed UNSCOM estimates, guesses, and approximations into a declaration of an exact amounts, which is a deception. He did the same with his statement about Botulinum toxin.

Purported Bush Fact 2: "The Union Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin - enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure. He hasn't accounted for that material. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed it."

Source: Bush cited the same UNSCOM Report. Again, he transformed estimates, or best guesses - based on the work of the UNSCOM inspectors and informants of uncertain reliability - into solid fact.

His own State Department more accurately referred to the same information as "belief," not fact: "Iraq declared 19,000 liters (of Botulinum toxin) [but the] UN believes it could have produced more than double that amount." (Emphasis added.)

Purported Bush Fact 3: "Our intelligence sources estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard, and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents also could kill untold thousands. He has not accounted for these materials."

Source: Here, at least Bush admits that he is drawing upon estimates - but this time, he leaves out other qualifiers that would have signaled the uncertainty his own "intelligence sources" felt about these purported facts. (Emphasis added.)

In October 2002, a CIA report claimed that Iraq "has begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard, sarin, cyclosarin, and VX." Bush omitted the "probably." The CIA also added still more caveats: "More than 10 years after the Gulf war, gaps in Iraqi accounting and current production capabilities strongly suggest that Iraq maintains a stockpile of chemical agents, probably VX, sarin, cyclosarin, and mustard." (Emphases added.)

Bush, his speechwriters, and his advisers left all these caveats out. How could they have? Did they not think anyone would notice the deceptions?

Purported Bush Fact 4: "U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them, despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them."

Source: Bush cites "U.S. intelligence" for this information, but it appears to have first come from UNSCOM. If so, he seems to have double the number of existing munitions that might be, as he argued "capable of delivering chemical agents."

UNSCOM's report, in its declassified portions, suggests that UNSCOM "supervised the destruction of nearly 40,000 Chemical munitions (including rockets, artillery, and Aerial bombs 28,000 of which were filled)." And UNSCOM's best estimate was that there were15,000 - not 30,000 - artillery shells unaccounted for.

The CIA's October 2002 report also acknowledges that "UNSCOM supervised the destruction of more than 40,000 chemical munitions." Yet none of its declassified documents support Bush's contention in the State of the Union that 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical weapons remain unaccounted for.

Where did Bush's number come from? Was it real - or invented?

Purported Bush Fact 5: "From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them."

Source: The three informants have still not been identified - even though the Administration now has the opportunity to offer asylum to them and their families, and then to disclose their identities, or at least enough identifying information for the public to know that they actually exist, and see why the government was prone to believe them.

Moreover, there is serious controversy as to whether the mobile weapons labs have been found. After the war, the CIA vigorously claimed two such labs had been located. But Iraqi scientists say the labs' purpose were to produce hydrogen for weather balloons. And many months later, no other Iraqi scientists - or others with reason to know - have been found to contradict their claims. Meanwhile, the State Department has publicly disputed the CIA (and DIA) claim that such weapons labs have been found.

All informant intelligence is questionable. Based on this intelligence, the President should have said that "we believe" that such labs existed - not that "we know" that they do. "Belief" opens up the possibility we could be wrong; claimed "knowledge" does not.

As with his other State of the Union statements, the President presented belief as fact, and projected a certainty that seems to have been entirely unjustified - a certainty on the basis of which many Americans, trusting their President, supported the war.

Purported Bush Fact 6: "The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb."

Source: The IAEA did provide some information to this effect, but the IAEA's own source was Iraq itself. According to Garry B. Dillon, the 1997-99 head of IAEA's Iraq inspection team, Iraq was begrudgingly cooperating with UNSCOM and IAEA inspections until August 1998.

Moreover, a crucial qualifier was left out: Whatever the program looked like in the early or mid-1990s, by 1998, the IAEA was confident it was utterly ineffective.

As the IAEA's Dillon further reports, as of 1998, "there were no indications of Iraq having achieved its program goals of producing a nuclear weapon; nor were there any indications that there remained in Iraq any physical capability for production of amounts of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance." (Emphases added)

Later, IAEA's own January 20, 2003 Update Report to the UN's Security Council reiterated the very same information Dillon had reported.

It is deceptive to report Iraq's 1990's effort at a nuclear program without also reporting that - according to a highly reliable source, the IAEA - that attempt had come to nothing as of 1998. It is even more deceptive to leave this information out and then to go on - as Bush did - to suggest that Iraq's purportedly successful nuclear program was now searching for uranium, implying it was operational when it was not.

In making this claim, Bush included his now discredited sixteen word claim.

Purported Bush Fact 7: "The British government has learned Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Source: Media accounts have shown that the uranium story was untrue - and that at least some in the Bush Administration knew it. I will not reiterate all of the relevant news reports here, but I will highlight a few.

The vice president's office had questions about the Niger uranium story. Ambassador Wilson was dispatched to learn the truth and found it was counterfeit information. Wilson advised the CIA and State Department that the Niger documents were forgeries, and presumably the vice president learned these facts.

The Niger uranium story was reportedly removed from Bush's prior, October 7, 2002 speech because it was believed unreliable - and it certainly became no more reliable thereafter. Indeed, only days after Bush's State of the Union, Colin Powell refused to use the information in his United Nation's speech because he did not believe it reliable.

Either Bush's senior advisers were aware of this hoax, or there was a frightening breakdown at the National Security Council - which is designed to avoid such breakdowns. Neither should be the case.

In fact, it is unconscionable, under the circumstances, that the uranium fabrication was included in the State of the Union. And equally weak, if not also fake, was Bush's final point about Saddam's unconventional weapons.

Purported Bush Fact 8: "Our intelligence sources tell us that [Saddam Hussein] has attempted to purchase high strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

Source: Bush is apparently referring to the CIA's October 2002 report - but again, qualifiers were left out, to transform a statement of belief into one of purported fact.

The CIA report stated that "Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain proscribed high-strength aluminum tubes are of significant concern.All intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program.Most intelligence specialists assess this to be the intended use, but some believe that these tubes are probably intended for conventional weapons programs." (Emphases added).

By January 20, 2003 the IAEA - which has more expertise than the CIA in the matter - had completed its investigation in Iraq of the aluminum tubes. It concluded that, as the Iraqi government claimed, the tubes had nothing to do with nuclear weapons, rather they were part of their rocket program.

Thus, eight days before Bush's State of the Union, the IAEA stated in its report to the Security Council, "The IAEA's analysis to date indicates that the specifications of the aluminum tubes recently sought by Iraq appear to be consistent with reverse engineering of rockets. While it would be possible to modify such tubes for the manufacture of centrifuges, they are not directly suitable for such use."

In short, Bush claimed the tubes were "suitable for nuclear weapons production" when only a week earlier, the IAEA - which had reason to know - plainly said that they were not. Today, of course, with no nuclear facilities found, it is clear that the evidence that the IAEA provided was correct.

Bush's Stonewalling And The Polk Precedent

Bush closed his WMD argument with these words: "Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide." The he added, "The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary, he is deceiving."

Unfortunately, it seems that Bush may have been deceiving, too. Urgent and unanswered questions surround each of the eight statements I have set forth. Questions surrounding the uranium story are only indicative, for similar questions must be asked about the other statements as well.

But so far, only the uranium claim has been acknowledged as a statement the president should not have made. Nonetheless, the White House had been stonewalling countless obvious, and pressing, questions, such as: When did Bush learn the uranium story was false, or questionable? Why did he not advise Congress until forced to do so? Who in the Bush White House continued to insist on the story's inclusion in the State of the Union address? Was Vice President Cheney involved? Who got the CIA to accept the British intelligence report, when they had doubts about it?

Bush is not the first president to make false statements to Congress when taking the nation to war. President Polk lied the nation into war with Mexico so he could acquire California as part of his Manifest Destiny. It was young Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln who called for a Congressional investigation of Polk's warmongering.

Lincoln accused Polk of "employing every artifice to work round, befog, and cover up" the reasons for war with Mexico. Lincoln said he was "fully convinced, of what I more than suspect already, that [Polk] is deeply conscious of being wrong." In the end, after taking the president to task, the House of Representatives passed a resolution stating that the war with Mexico had been "unnecessary and unconstitutionally commenced by the President."

Not unlike Polk, Bush is currently hanging onto a very weak legal thread - claiming his statement about the Niger uranium was technically correct because he said he was relying on the British report. But that makes little difference: if Bush knew the British statement was likely wrong, then he knowingly made a false statement to Congress. One can't hide behind a source one invokes knowing it doesn't hold water.

Because Bush has more problems than his deceptive statement about Niger uranium, Congressman Lincoln's statement to Polk echoes through history with particular relevance for Bush: "Let him answer fully, fairly and candidly. Let him answer with facts and not with arguments. . . . Let him attempt no evasion, no equivocation."

It Is A Crime To Make False Statements To Congress

Could Bush, and his aides, be stonewalling because it is a crime to give false information to Congress? It wasn't a crime in President Polk's day. Today, it is a felony under the false statements statute.

This 1934 provision makes it a serious offense to give a false information to Congress. It is little used, but has been actively available since 1955. That year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Bramblet that the statute could be used to prosecute a Congressman who made a false statement to the Clerk of the Disbursing Office of the House of Representatives, for Congress comes under the term "department" as used in the statutes.

Two members of the Bush administration, Admiral John Poindexter and Elliot Abrams, learned about this false statements law the hard way, during the Iran Contra investigation. Abrams pled guilty to two misdemeanors for false statements to Congress, as did Robert McFarlane. (Both were subsequently pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.) Poindexter and Oliver North fought the charges, and won on an unrelated legal technicality.

Later, one of McFarlane's lawyers, Peter W. Morgan, wrote a law journal article about using the false statements statute to prosecute executive officials appearing before Congress. Morgan was troubled by the breadth of the law. It does not require a specific intent to deceive the Congress. It does not require that statements be written, or that they be sworn. Congress is aware of the law's breadth and has chosen not to change it.

Maybe presciently, Morgan noted that the false statements statute even reaches "misrepresentations in a president's state of the union address." To which I would add, a criminal conspiracy to mislead Congress, which involved others at the Bush White House, could also be prosecuted under a separate statute, which makes it a felony to conspire to defraud the government.

Need for A Special Prosecutor To Investigate the WMD Claims

There is an unsavory stench about Bush's claims to the Congress, and nation, about Saddam Hussein's WMD threat. The deceptions are too apparent. There are simply too many unanswered questions, which have been growing daily. If the Independent Counsel law were still in existence, this situation would justify the appointment of an Independent Counsel.

Because that law has expired, if President Bush truly has nothing to hide, he should appoint a special prosecutor. After all, Presidents Nixon and Clinton, when not subject to the Independent Counsel law, appointed special prosecutors to investigate matters much less serious. If President Bush is truly the square shooter he portrays himself to be, he should appoint a special prosecutor to undertake an investigation.

Ideally, the investigation ought to be concluded - and the issue cleared up - well before the 2004 election, so voters know the character of the men (and women) they may or may not be re-electing.

Family, loved ones, and friends of those who have died, and continue to die, in Iraq deserve no less.

John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the President. The author thanks Richard Leone for the quote from Senator Taft, which is drawn from his newly-released work The War On Our Freedoms. He also thanks Professor Stanley I. Kutler for the quote of Congressman Lincoln demanding that President Polk answer without evasion or equivocation.

Commentary:
Very good. A nice start but many missing lies. One wonders how anyone in the military or in intelligence or in a foreign country could believe Bush again. There's no doubt in my mind that Bush has committed numerous impeachable offenses and the republican congress is trying to protect him, as the media has tried for far too long. When election time comes, vote them all out of office.


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Why This Bush Lie? Part 2
Slate
By Timothy Noah
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2003, at 4:34 PM PT

During the past week, the press has swarmed over the Bush White House demanding to be told the circumstances that led the president to say, in this year's State of the Union address, that Saddam Hussein had "recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." This information was based almost entirely on documents that the CIA and the White House knew were false. That makes Bush's statement a lie. But, as Chatterbox observed yesterday, we can count at least six other lies told by or on behalf of President Bush in this calendar year alone. That doesn't include two addled lies Bush uttered while trying to extricate himself from Yellowcakegate—that the CIA didn't doubt the uranium story until after he gave the speech, and that the United States went to war because Saddam wouldn't let inspectors into Iraq. Why was the yellowcake lie treated like a major news event, when the earlier lies were not?

Some might be tempted to answer, "Because this was a bigger moral outrage. It led us to war." But that overlooks a much bigger lie that led us to war—Bush's March 17 statement, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." Bush wasn't the only one who believed this; most political commentators, Chatterbox included, believed it, too, based on snippets of information made public by Secretary of State Colin Powell. These snippets remain difficult to square with the allied forces' continuing inability to find biological and chemical weapons in Iraq. That's one reason the press hasn't jumped down Bush's throat over this particular lie. The other reason is profound anxiety that we let ourselves get conned into believing the only legitimate rationale Bush offered to wage war against Iraq. Raging over Bush's yellowcake lie is one way to exact revenge.

"You won't con us again" sentiment explains the intensity of the media frenzy over Yellowcakegate. But it doesn't explain why the yellowcake lie became the focus of that frenzy. As Chatterbox noted yesterday, Bush and his minions lied about the cost of the Iraq war—a cost that Larry Lindsey, then-chairman of the National Economic Council, reportedly lost his job for getting about right. Gerald Seib, Washington bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, where Lindsey quoted the figure of $100 billion to $200 billion, notes this irony in his column today. But don't expect a big to-do over the cost issue, any more than there was a big to-do over Bush's outrageous claim this past May that "We've found the weapons of mass destruction."

The yellowcake lie landed on Page One solely because it occasioned a brief and fatal departure from the Bush White House's press strategy of stonewalling. "Bush Claim on Iraq Had Flawed Origin, White House Says" read a New York Times headline on July 8. Glancing through the story, Chatterbox initially puzzled over its Page One placement. Didn't we know already that Bush's yellowcake line was a lie? Then Chatterbox realized that the novelty component wasn't the lie, but the Bush administration's admission that it had told a lie. In the Bush White House, this simply isn't done. Observe, for instance, how the new Bush press secretary, Scott McClellan, handled a question yesterday about Bush's weird statement that we went to war because Saddam refused to admit weapons inspectors into Iraq:

A: What he was referring to was the fact that Saddam Hussein was not complying with 1441, that he continued his past pattern and refused to comply with Resolution 1441 of the United Nations Security Council, which was his final opportunity to comply. And the fact that he was trying to thwart the inspectors every step of the way, and keep them from doing their job. So that's what he's referring to in that statement.

Q: But that isn't what he said.

Ignoring this, McClellan moved on to another reporter's question, about North Korea.

But on Yellowcakegate, short-timer Ari Fleischer—after an obviously wearying exchange with reporters in which he conceded that the State of the Union line was based on the erroneous premise that we knew Saddam had sought yellowcake from Niger—let down his guard further and conceded that yes, it had been a mistake to put the story about the yellowcake safari into the State of the Union speech. "Knowing all that we know now," read a prepared statement he put out, "the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech." (Weirdly, Fleischer was identified only as a "senior Bush administration official," even though this was the White House's official pronouncement on the matter.) Joshua Micah Marshall has noted in his Talking Points Memo blog that Fleischer's mea culpa would have been more honest had it begun, "Knowing what we knew then." Still, it was honest enough to electrify the press.

Fleischer subsequently tried to put out the fire by stating, at his very last press briefing, that it "very well may be true" that Iraq had tried recently to purchase yellowcake in Africa. The administration line later hardened into (in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's words), "[I]t's technically correct what the president said," because Bush had attributed the information to British intelligence. But by then the damage had been done.

The ugly reality about stonewalling and lying is that, if pursued with the proper discipline, it can be an effective public-relations tool. Mainstream reporters may contrast what a White House press spokesman says with what somebody else says, but they usually hesitate to state bluntly that Person A is lying and Person B is telling the truth. (An admirable exception is Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, who has devoted considerable energy to documenting Bush's falsehoods.) If a press secretary states consistently that up is down, most reporters will present this as a matter of opinion. But if he states repeatedly that up is down, then says that up is up, and then resumes saying that up is down, reporters will seize on the inconsistency and cry foul. Unlike disagreement between one person and another (or even disagreement between one person and the rest of humanity), a single person's saying one thing and then saying another is usually taken (sometimes unfairly) as prime facie evidence that a lie has been told.

Is it wrong to lie? Reporters tend to shy away even from that moral judgment. But at least in Washington, reporters take a very dim view of incompetent lying. The rules of engagement dictate that you may not have an opinion about a president and his policies—too divisive!—but that you may opine all you like on that president's effectiveness at getting things done. That's what happened in Yellowcakegate. Even Jim Hoagland, who writes an opinion column for the Washington Post's op-ed page, hews to this standard today in lambasting the Bush White House for "the sudden tone-deafness of a Bush team that had been pretty good at not giving its enemies ammunition to use against it." That "tone-deafness" was demonstrated when the White House conceded that Bush had no reliable factual basis for his yellowcake claim. The more professional thing to do, Hoagland suggests, would have been to wait it out and hope that evidence would eventually prove Bush's unfounded assertion to be correct. Hoagland's headline says it all: "A Classic Case of Incompetence." Never mind that, in pretending to know that Saddam tried to buy yellowcake from Niger, Bush told a lie. His real sin was not being a pro.

©2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
Incompetent or liars? I think both, but does it matter. We don't want either leading us into war or presiding over the peace.


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Democrat Eyes Potential Grounds for Bush Impeachment
Reuters-Asia
By John Milne
Thu July 17, 2003 07:07 PM ET

CONCORD, N.H. (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bob Graham said on Thursday there were grounds to impeach President Bush if he was found to have led America to war under false pretenses.

While Graham did not call for Bush's impeachment, he said if the president lied about the reasons for going to war with Iraq it would be "more serious" than former President Bill Clinton's lie under oath about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

"If in fact we went to war under false pretenses that is a very serious charge," Graham, the senior U.S. senator from Florida, told reporters in New Hampshire.

"If the standard of impeachment is the one the House Republicans used against Bill Clinton, this clearly comes within that standard," he said.

Democrats and some Republicans have raised questions about the unsubstantiated claim Bush made in his January State of the Union speech that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa in its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

Graham's comments came as reporters followed up on his remarks earlier this week that any deception by Bush over Iraq might rise to the standard of an impeachable offense -- as defined by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives when it voted to impeach Clinton.

Clinton was ultimately cleared by the U.S. Senate after being impeached by the House.

After his appearance in New Hampshire, Graham issued a statement saying he was not calling for Bush's impeachment and saw the issue as a largely academic one, adding that if Bush had misled the American public he would pay the price for it in the 2004 presidential election.

In Washington on Thursday, Bush told a news conference that the speech reference was based on "sound intelligence" and he was certain that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was trying to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program.

"We won't be proven wrong," he said with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at his side.

The flap over Iraq upstaged Graham's economic proposals. He said his plan would balance the federal budget within five years while providing middle-class tax relief and creating 3 million new jobs.

His plan would repeal most of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. It would reinstate a 38.6 percent tax bracket for wealthy individuals and create a new "millionaires tax bracket" at 40 percent. Graham also proposed cracking down on individuals and companies who transfer assets offshore or renounce U.S. citizenship to escape taxation.

© Reuters 2003

Commentary:
Wow, one of the few articles about a democrat candidate. During the last election cycle, the press was pounding Gore for lying and making Bush look like god-reborn. Today, the press keeps the lid on stories about the candidates, allowing very few stories to be printed. Truly amazing. With a little over a year before the next election over 60% of Americans have no clue who's running. Blame the corporate press.


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GOP's double standard on presidential lies
Boston Globe
By Derrick Z. Jackson
7/18/2003

AMERICAN SOLDIERS continue to die in Iraq, and the Republicans do not want us to know why. In a 51-45 vote, the Republican-led Senate this week rejected a proposal for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the claims Bush used to justify his invasion of Iraq. The senator who made the proposal, Democrat Jon Corzine of New Jersey, said, "Each day, we have failed to have an accounting ... of what really happened."

In the latest Pentagon count, 224 US soldiers have died in combat or accidents in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Soldiers are dying at a rate of one a day 77 days after President Bush declared an end to major combat operations. The number of soldiers who died in noncombat accidents after the invasion has surpassed the number prior to it.

As the dying goes on, Bush has yet to prove the existence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. He now admits to using bad intelligence in his State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein was trying to purchase uranium in Africa for nuclear weapons.

Yet Ted Stevens of Alaska, the Republican chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said: "I'm tired of making a mountain out of a molehill. This is not Watergate. It's not even truthgate.... This is an attempt to smear the president of the United States."

His complaint was but another in a round of Republican efforts to resist a full inquiry and keep the stench rising from Bush's empty claims behind the closed doors of congressional intelligence and armed services committees. Pat Roberts of Kansas, the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in June, "I found, at least in the information that I have as chairman, no evidence of manipulation." He blasted a formal investigation as being "a pejorative that there's something dreadfully wrong."

Five years ago the Republicans found President Clinton's lying about sex to be so dreadfully wrong that they voted to impeach him in the House. Clinton survived, but not before the Republicans hurled all kinds of pejoratives at Clinton's perjuries.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida said: "Lying under oath is an ancient crime of great weight because it shields other offenses, because it blocks the light of truth in human affairs. It is a dagger in the heart of our legal system and indeed in our democracy. It cannot, it should not, it must not be tolerated.... All that stands between any of us and tyranny is law."

Representative Sam Johnson of Texas said Clinton's actions "have made a mockery of the people who fought for this country and are fighting for this nation today." Henry Hyde, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said: "If the president calculatedly and repeatedly violates his oath, if the president breaks the covenant of trust he has made with the American people, he can no longer be trusted. And because the executive plays so large a role in representing the country to the world, America can no longer be trusted."

Now it is a Republican president who increasingly appears to have lied to the American people to justify a war. There is hardly a peep out of Republicans over whether Bush has broken the covenant of trust he made with Americans and made a mockery out of the men and women who are dying in Iraq. Troops and even some officers in the field are openly grumbling that they no longer know why they are there.

Meanwhile Bush's claims continue to crumble. A Washington Post story this week reported that United Nations weapons inspectors found nothing to back up Bush's claims last October that Saddam Hussein had a revamped nuclear arms program. Yet on March 16, just three days before the war, Vice President Dick Cheney declared about Saddam, "We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."

To be clear, Clinton indeed did a lot of bad things in his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. I wrote before the impeachment that he should resign. The Democrats were wrong to downplay Clinton's sins in the Lewinsky scandal. Any other CEO in the country would have been canned had he or she been found to have used their office to have sex with a decisively powerless intern.

But it is a far more grave matter if we discover that a president's claims in effect claimed the lives of 224 American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi civilians. Five years ago Henry Hyde said, "The president is the trustee of the nation's conscience." It is time to lay bare the conscience of the White House with full public hearings. The way his claims are crumbling, hearings may be the only thing that will stop Bush from plunging his dagger of deceit right through the heart of our democracy and the hearts of our soldiers.

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

This story ran on page A13 of the Boston Globe on 7/18/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company

Commentary:
Don't forget that every word Bush said about Iraq in his State of the Union was a lie and don't forget the SOTU is a legal document required by the Constitution. Lying to the Congress is an impeachable offense and there's no excuse left for republicans not to impeach him. Where are the WMD's?


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Dead U.K. Weapons Adviser Was BBC Source
Austin American-Stateman
By BETH GARDINER
Associated Press Writer

LONDON (AP)--The British Broadcasting Corp. said Sunday that David Kelly, a Ministry of Defense scientist whose suicide intensified a fierce debate over whether the government inflated claims about Iraqi weapons, was its main source for the story that enflamed the dispute.

"Having now informed Dr. Kelly's family, we can confirm that Dr. Kelly was the principal source" for a radio piece in which reporter Andrew Gilligan quoted an anonymous official as saying the government had exaggerated claims of Iraqi weapons, the network said in a statement.

"The BBC believes we accurately interpreted and reported the factual information obtained by us during interviews with Dr. Kelly," the statement continued.

The statement said Kelly, an internationally respected weapons expert, had also been the source for a piece by reporter Susan Watts on the BBC's "Newsnight" analysis program.

Kelly had told a Parliamentary committee he spoke privately to Gilligan but did not recognize his claims in the reporter's piece and believed he was not its main source.

The soft-spoken, bearded microbiologist took his own life Thursday, slitting his left wrist in the woods near his Oxfordshire home. The BBC and the government had been engaged for weeks in an angry public battle about Gilligan's story--with Kelly at the center of the political firestorm.

The reporter quoted his source as saying the government had "sexed up" its evidence on Iraqi weapons in order to justify war and insisted on publishing a claim that Saddam Hussein could deploy some chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes, despite intelligence experts' doubts.

Gilligan later said the source had accused Alastair Campbell, Prime Minister Tony Blair's communications adviser, of insisting the 45 minutes claim be included in a government dossier on Iraqi weapons. The House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee cleared Campbell of that charge.

"I believe I am not the main source," Kelly told the committee Tuesday. "From the conversation I had, I don't see how (Gilligan) could make the authoritative statement he was making."

He said the same to his Ministry of Defense bosses when he came forward voluntarily to tell them he'd met with Gilligan.

The BBC report helped prompt two Parliamentary probes into government weapons claims, and Blair aides have angrily demanded a retraction and an apology from the broadcaster.

Blair, who is on a whirlwind trip through east Asia, said through a spokesman that he was "pleased that the BBC has made this announcement."

"Whatever the differences, no one wanted this tragedy to happen," the spokesman quoted him as saying. "I know that everyone, including the BBC, has been shocked by it."

He urged all those involved in the debate to demonstrate "respect and restraint, and no recrimination."

The BBC statement said the network would cooperate fully with a judge appointed to head an inquiry into the events leading to Kelly's death. It said it would provide full details of its two reporters' contacts with Kelly, including their notes.

"We continue to believe we were right to place Dr. Kellys views in the public domain," the statement said. "However, the BBC is profoundly sorry that his involvement as our source has ended so tragically."

Traveling in Asia, Blair also said he would testify in the inquiry.

Days after his name was leaked--reportedly by the Ministry of Defense--as the suspected source for Gilligan's May 29 report, Kelly was grilled last week by the Parliamentary committee. Two days later, on Thursday, his family reported him missing, adding a dark twist to a bitter political debate.

Police found Kelly's body Friday in a wooded area a few miles from his home in the rural village of Southmoor, 20 miles southwest of Oxford, his left wrist slashed and a partly empty package of painkillers nearby.

Throughout the bitter row, the BBC had refused to say whether Kelly, who was a top United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq in the 1990s, had been its source.

"Over the past few weeks we have been at pains to protect Dr. Kelly being identified as the source of these reports," the BBC statement said. "We clearly owed him a duty of confidentiality. Following his death, we now believe, in order to end the continuing speculation, it is important to release this information as swiftly as possible."

The statement said the BBC had waited until Sunday to make the announcement at the Kelly family's request.

Kelly's family said in a statement issued Saturday that "events over recent weeks have made David's life intolerable, and all of those involved should reflect long and hard on this fact."

"A loving, private and dignified man has been taken from us all," they added.

AP-NY-07-20-03 0831EDT

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP Online news report may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Commentary:
We'll never know who told the complete truth but we know one thing for sure. Blair lied about his 45-minute claim. The BBC exposed that lie and those defending Blair's lies are not fit to lead or present fair and honest news. Blair said he also had absolute proof that Saddam has nuclear weapons. What was that evidence, what is it? We still don't have a clue, but by gosh we're supposed to believe.

For propaganda to work all it requires if for us to believe. It doesn't requite proof, facts or evidence. Also, facts can be proven right or wrong (they can even change) but beliefs can't. That's why we go to war based on facts, not beliefs.


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US Started Iraq Attack in 2002
An Impeachable Offense
New York Times
By MICHAEL R. GORDON
July 20, 2003

LAS VEGAS, July 19 — American air war commanders carried out a comprehensive plan to disrupt Iraq's military command and control system before the Iraq war, according to an internal briefing on the conflict by the senior allied air war commander.

Known as Southern Focus, the plan called for attacks on the network of fiber-optic cable that Saddam Hussein's government used to transmit military communications, as well as airstrikes on key command centers, radars and other important military assets.

The strikes, which were conducted from mid-2002 into the first few months of 2003, were justified publicly at the time as a reaction to Iraqi violations of a no-flight zone that the United States and Britain established in southern Iraq. But Lt. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the chief allied war commander, said the attacks also laid the foundations for the military campaign against the Baghdad government.

Indeed, one reason it was possible for the allies to begin the ground campaign to topple Mr. Hussein without preceding it with an extensive array of airstrikes was that 606 bombs had been dropped on 391 carefully selected targets under the plan, General Moseley said.

"It provided a set of opportunities and options for General Franks," General Moseley said in an interview, referring to Gen. Tommy R. Franks, then head of the United States Central Command. While there were indications at the time that the United States was trying to weaken Iraqi air defenses in anticipation of a possible war, the scope and detailed planning that lay behind the effort were not generally known.

The disclosure of the plan is part of an assessment prepared by General Moseley on the lessons of the war with Iraq. General Moseley and a senior aide presented their assessments at an internal briefing for American and allied military officers at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada on Thursday.

Among the disclosures provided in the internal briefings and in a later interview the General Moseley:

¶New information has shown that there was not a bunker in the Dora Farms area near Baghdad, where American intelligence initially believed Mr. Hussein was meeting with his aides. The site was attacked by F-117 stealth fighters and cruise missiles as the Bush administration sought to kill Mr. Hussein at the very onset of the war. Still, Iraqi leaders were believed to be in the Dora Farm area, General Moseley said.

¶Air war commanders were required to obtain the approval of Defense Secretary Donald L. Rumsfeld if any planned airstrike was thought likely to result in deaths of more than 30 civilians. More than 50 such strikes were proposed, and all of them were approved.

¶During the war, about 1,800 allied aircraft conducted about 20,000 strikes. Of those, 15,800 were directed against Iraqi ground forces while some 1,400 struck the Iraqi Air Force, air bases or air defenses. About 1,800 airstrikes were directed against the Iraqi government and 800 at suspected hiding places and installations for illicit weapons, including surface-to-surface missiles.

¶Allied commanders say precision-guided weapons made up a greater percentage of the strikes than in any previous conflict. But the military experienced great difficulty in obtaining reliable battle damage assessment about attacks against Iraqi ground forces. There were also differences between Army and Air Force commanders about the best procedures for carrying out the strikes. As a result, airstrikes against Iraqi forces that fought the Army were not as effective as commanders would have liked.

The air campaign began as a response to the Iraqis, who deployed additional surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft artillery south of Baghdad beginning in the late 1990's. Their maneuvers thickened the defense of the Iraqi capital. The air defense systems had the range to hit allied planes that were patrolling some portions of the southern no-flight zone.

AS VEGAS, July 19 — American air war commanders carried out a comprehensive plan to disrupt Iraq's military command and control system before the Iraq war, according to an internal briefing on the conflict by the senior allied air war commander.

Known as Southern Focus, the plan called for attacks on the network of fiber-optic cable that Saddam Hussein's government used to transmit military communications, as well as airstrikes on key command centers, radars and other important military assets.

The strikes, which were conducted from mid-2002 into the first few months of 2003, were justified publicly at the time as a reaction to Iraqi violations of a no-flight zone that the United States and Britain established in southern Iraq. But Lt. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the chief allied war commander, said the attacks also laid the foundations for the military campaign against the Baghdad government.

Indeed, one reason it was possible for the allies to begin the ground campaign to topple Mr. Hussein without preceding it with an extensive array of airstrikes was that 606 bombs had been dropped on 391 carefully selected targets under the plan, General Moseley said.

"It provided a set of opportunities and options for General Franks," General Moseley said in an interview, referring to Gen. Tommy R. Franks, then head of the United States Central Command. While there were indications at the time that the United States was trying to weaken Iraqi air defenses in anticipation of a possible war, the scope and detailed planning that lay behind the effort were not generally known.

The disclosure of the plan is part of an assessment prepared by General Moseley on the lessons of the war with Iraq. General Moseley and a senior aide presented their assessments at an internal briefing for American and allied military officers at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada on Thursday.

Among the disclosures provided in the internal briefings and in a later interview the General Moseley:

¶New information has shown that there was not a bunker in the Dora Farms area near Baghdad, where American intelligence initially believed Mr. Hussein was meeting with his aides. The site was attacked by F-117 stealth fighters and cruise missiles as the Bush administration sought to kill Mr. Hussein at the very onset of the war. Still, Iraqi leaders were believed to be in the Dora Farm area, General Moseley said.

¶Air war commanders were required to obtain the approval of Defense Secretary Donald L. Rumsfeld if any planned airstrike was thought likely to result in deaths of more than 30 civilians. More than 50 such strikes were proposed, and all of them were approved.

¶During the war, about 1,800 allied aircraft conducted about 20,000 strikes. Of those, 15,800 were directed against Iraqi ground forces while some 1,400 struck the Iraqi Air Force, air bases or air defenses. About 1,800 airstrikes were directed against the Iraqi government and 800 at suspected hiding places and installations for illicit weapons, including surface-to-surface missiles.

¶Allied commanders say precision-guided weapons made up a greater percentage of the strikes than in any previous conflict. But the military experienced great difficulty in obtaining reliable battle damage assessment about attacks against Iraqi ground forces. There were also differences between Army and Air Force commanders about the best procedures for carrying out the strikes. As a result, airstrikes against Iraqi forces that fought the Army were not as effective as commanders would have liked.

The air campaign began as a response to the Iraqis, who deployed additional surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft artillery south of Baghdad beginning in the late 1990's. Their maneuvers thickened the defense of the Iraqi capital. The air defense systems had the range to hit allied planes that were patrolling some portions of the southern no-flight zone.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Commentary:
Clearly there was no element of surprise when we were planning war for over a year, but what we learn here is the US went to war before it notified the warring party--a Pearl Harbor. We also used the UN inspection regime to help us gain militarily. Utterly appalling. Why would any country ever allow UN inspectors in to their countries again, knowing the US is simply using them to gain a military advantage?


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