Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Shut-R-Down

Until the Bush administration comes clean – which is to say, is forced to come clean – on its manipulation of prewar intelligence, Congressional Democrats are not only entitled, but obligated to impede all other business. In the nation’s interest they should neutralize the powers that be with every parliamentary trick in the book until we have answers and accountability. No legislation, no spending bills, no court confirmations, no nothing until the governed know how deep the governing malfeasance went.

The latest bombshell pointing to criminal duplicity is that the White House continued disseminating discredited intelligence well after it knew better, a fact that belies apologists’ mantra that the Bush administration only believed what everyone else believed. When it came to intelligence on Iraq’s nefariousness, so the tiresome party line goes, the poor dears at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue were as duped as the world and the Clinton administration before.

Now, however, there is direct evidence that the party line on flawed intelligence findings has been as deliberately contrived as the war’s rationalizations, just as so many suspected from the get-go.

According to a Defense Intelligence Agency document released by the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin, the administration continued citing – as “credible” – information provided by a Qaeda captive quickly deemed quite in-credible by the defense agency itself.

It seems a certain Mr. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi had at first spun tales to U.S. interrogators about WMD-terrorist-training links between his organization and Saddam Hussein’s government. Yet “newly declassified portions of [the] document … showed that the administration was alerted” by the DIA in February 2002 that the captive “probably was lying.” In fact, “he could not name any Iraqis involved in the effort or identify any chemical or biological materials or cite where the training was taking place….

“The DIA concluded that al-Libi probably was deliberately misleading the interrogators, and he recanted the statements in January 2004,” according to an Associated Press story this week.

Al-Libi’s on-the-record unreliability was of no bother to the White House, though. Notwithstanding classified, contrary evidence the administration continued suggesting a Qaeda-Iraq link, and got its war. I’m not a lawyer, but when, in the act of preliminarily justifying a war, an administration spreads as “credible” a report disputed as untrustworthy by its own intelligence experts, do not high-crimes-and-misdemeanor terms like “criminal negligence” come into play?

Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, protested over the weekend that “work by his committee and other commissions did not point to any evidence that made him believe that intelligence had been distorted.” And White House spokesman Scott McClellan remained on right top of things, saying “he had not seen a report about the documents”; and, well, shucks, “issues about postwar intelligence have been explored in the past.” Besides, McClellan noted with his customary dismissive air, “steps have been taken to ensure the administration has the best intelligence possible.” No doubt he’s on target there, just as he was when denying Karl Rove and Lewis Libby’s involvement in the CIA leak.

Cont: We agree! This administration (not to mention certain House and Senate Members) have shown themselves to be nothing less than criminal. Why should any of them be allowed to govern?

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