RUMSFELD DISHONESTY CAUGHT ON FILM: The most vivid display of the Administration’s widening credibility gap came when CBS’s Bob Schieffer asked Rumsfeld “If Iraq did not have WMD, why did they pose an immediate threat to this country?” Rumsfeld retorted, “You and a few other critics are the only people I’ve heard use the phrase ‘immediate threat.’ I didn’t…It’s become kind of folklore that that’s what happened.” Schieffer repeated his question but Rumsfeld challenged the reporter saying, “If you have any citations, I’d like to see ’em.” At that point, NYT columnist Tom Friedman read Rumsfeld his own words, pointing out that the Defense Secretary had told Congress on 9/19/02 that “No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people” than Iraq and that “some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent [but] I would not be so certain.” According to the transcript of the show, Rumsfeld replied “Mm-hmm. It–my view of–of the situation was that he–he had–we–we believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that–that we believed and we still do not know–we will know.” American Progress has posted a video clip of this exchange.
Other entries follow… I challenge anyone to read this simple summary page, with citations, supporting information, transcripts, and facts gathered together… and contine to have faith that the Bush Administration is worth the American people’s trust.
RICE NEGLECTS THE RECORD: National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was pressed by NBC’s Tim Russert about why the Administration painted Iraq as such a pressing threat to America before the war, and she replied that “What the president said in his State of the Union is that we cannot wait until it becomes imminent.” While that is technically true, Russert responded “the rhetoric of the administration was much different than Saddam could be a threat or he has weapons programs. The president said he was, ‘a unique and urgent threat.’ It was, ‘a unique urgency,’ ‘a grave threat.’ You and the president both talked about the mushroom cloud. Scott McClellan, deputy press secretary, said it’s ‘an imminent threat.’ Ari Fleischer, the press secretary, said, “absolutely,” it was an imminent threat.” Meanwhile, last week, “the head of the CIA, George Tenet, testified this week he never said it was an imminent threat and he said it three times he had to correct the vice president or president on comments they had made about intelligence.”
POWELL DEFENDS U.N. SPEECH: On Fox News Sunday, Powell said that the case he made to the United Nations before the war “reflected not some political spin – it reflected the best judgment of the intelligence community.” He said he presented “the same information that in a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) the intelligence community had presented to Congress” and the public. His statement ignores how the intelligence community had repeatedly warned the White House that its WMD case for war was weak. It also ignores a Knight Ridder report noting that “the public version of the [NIE’s] assessment of Iraq’s illicit arms programs was stripped of dissenting opinions, warnings of insufficient information and doubts about deposed dictator Saddam Hussein’s intentions,” meaning “the public was given a far more definitive assessment of Iraq’s plans and capabilities than President Bush and other U.S. decision-makers received from their intelligence agencies.” See American Progress’s backgrounder outlining how the Administration neglected intelligence and ignored warnings about their WMD case.