Friday | July 11, 2003
Let the fingerpointing begin
By Steve Gilliard
CIA 'cleared' Iraq uranium claim
US President George W Bush's national security adviser says the CIA approved a speech Mr Bush made in January that included the allegation that Iraq had been trying to buy uranium from Niger.
"The CIA cleared the speech in its entirety," Condoleezza Rice told reporters on Air Force One, en route from South Africa to Uganda.
But Ms Rice insisted the president "did not knowingly say anything that we knew to be false".
The Agency is on record as saying they had real doubts about this. This is just a bid to save her job. The fact that she is spectacularly bad at it is of no matter. She wants to blame Tenet and his folks are not going to take the blame for this. Not in any way, shape or form.
You couldn't find five CIA analysts who thought Saddam was an active threat, much less a clear and present danger to the US. While the Iraqi people caught hell, war was not sold on that basis and would have found cold comfort with GOP House members.
The White House treated the CIA analysts like they worked on Wall Street. They thought they could bully them into the analysis they wanted and there would be no price to pay for doing so. These folks are no Henry Blodgetts or Jack Grubmans, hopped up little clowns with fancy degrees and a lust for money. People go into the Agency to serve their country. They are thoughtful, intelligent people who take pride in their job. Unlike Wall Street, these are not people motivated by money and they don't go on CNBC to push their ideas.
Despite the image of the CIA as a nest of vipers, the Directorate of Intelligence takes great pride in their objectivity and honesty.
Bush and the PNAC Cabal broke the cardinal rule of that world, they wanted politics to affect the intelligence. When the intelligence officers sneer about "faith-based intelligence", those words drip with the contempt professionals have for their most clueless critics.
Rice can say what she wants. I'm sure the CIA will have a reply.Posted July 11, 2003 05:57 AM