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Thursday | August 21, 2003

Inslee Iraq Intel Inquiry: Incendiary!

by RonK

US Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) held a public forum on Iraq intelligence failures today (Thursday) in Shoreline (Seattle north end) and it was a knock-out!

Main auditorium crowd of 600 overflowed into three additional lecture rooms, and "the Royal Finger" of blame was in evidence!

Great panel, including Ambassador Joe Wilson, Rear Adm. (ret) Bill Center, and patriarch of the Evans School of Public Policy Brewster Denny ... all with high-level experience as intel producer/consumers in careers extending across eras and generations.

Webcast should be available here sometime Friday ... there are moments here not to be missed.

I'm running frantically today, will update with spicy details as sched permits.

Update: Great moments from the forum, not necessarily in order or perfectly rendered ...

Rep. Inslee set the focus, and led with the observation that the slightest NCAA rules violation can lead to a thorough investigation. "Was there a threat?" and "How do we restore the damage?".

Adm. Center:
Intel is NOT "special knowledge" ... it's opinions about opinions -- "dangerous evidence". In a newspaper analogy, intel would be the opinion page. Real intel tends to be very conservative, and primarily assesses capabilities rather than predicting actions.

Pre-war intel assertions were political speech, to be read skeptically as such. Center stood alone in suggesting the manipulated intel didn't have all that much influence on the Congressional War Powers vote.

"Personally, I didn't feel very threatened" by Iraq. Was this stuff "trotted out" to make us more concerned? If US had good intel, we could have told inspectors where to find the hot stuff. If we had good intel, it wouldn't take a war to destroy Saddam's key WMD assets.

Caution on focus: "This [intel manipulation] isn't the pinnacle issue". The super-issues: "What is America's role in the world" and "How should the process work?".

Dean Denny was full of zingers:
The problem is not a malfunction of "capital I" Intelligence ... it's a malfunction of "small i" intelligence. "I didn't know Karl Rove was going to be National Security Council member". "Congress has a special responsibility in this area because they're the ones that got spoofed".

Denny also decried the lack of systematic thinking about the world dynamics and America's role, as was done in post-WW II era. In his day (the age of atomic anxiety), Congress and the agencies worked together very well, and Congress was fully informed.

Did US take appropriate steps to secure cooperation of the international community? "NO -- it gave it the Royal Finger!". US badly betrayed the Brits, our best and most dependable intel partners in good times and bad.

Amb. Wilson:
"I wasn't brave" ... "I have lived in dictatorships from Franco's Spain to Saddam's Iraq" ... dissidents in those regimes are brave.

Yellowcake just broke the ice ... "only a matter of time before other chinks are put in [W's armor]". From a friend familiar with his African tenure: "You're the baboon that threw the turd that hit the target that finally stuck". Who faked it? Sy Hersh has an "interesting" article forthcoming, if he can get it past his editors.

Americans' personal judgments on the Iraq "threat" were ambivalent; they gave Bush -- and moreso Colin Powell -- the benefit of the doubt and an investment of trust. When manipulated intel sends boys into battle, government OWES the people a full accounting.

Still a dangerous world, and going forward it will be very difficult to convince the people, the Congress, the world community our word is good.

On the Plame affair, Wilson dropped some heavy hints ... and expressed trust the professionals in CIA, DOJ, FBI will understand the outing as a crime against professionals, and pursue it properly.

See the webcast for more ... POTUS is coming tomorrow, I gotta go clean my room.

Ed. note: I closed comments on this post due to incessant deliberate trolling and misguided troll-feeding. If your comment was rejected, it doesn't mean you are banned ... all comments are rejected on this thread.-- RonK, Seattle

Posted August 21, 2003 03:27 PM | Comments (57)


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