Senate committee highlights "untrue" statements later proved correct

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a report accusing George Bush and Dick Cheney of knowingly using untrue statements to foster support for the war in Iraq. The chair of the committee, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) admitted that everyone operated from the same “flawed” intelligence, but accused the administration of outright deception. Oddly enough, at least one of the supposed deceptions have proven true, while another continues to get support from the intelligence agency that supplied it:

Among the reports conclusions:

  • Claims by President Bush that Iraq and al Qaida had a partnership “were not substantiated by the intelligence.”
  • The president and vice president misrepresented what was known about Iraq’s chemical weapons capabiliies [sic].
  • Rumsfeld misrepresented what the intelligence community knew when he said Iraq’s weapons productions facilities were buried deeply underground.
  • Cheney’s claim that the intelligence community had confirmed that lead Sept. 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 was not true.

The last claim comes from Czech intelligence, which they have repeatedly defended. The 9/11 Commission reported concluded that it was unlikely, given the pattern of use from Atta’s cell phone, but (a) no one can put Atta in the US outside of that data, and (b) it ignores the possibility that Atta loaned his phone to an associate while he traveled abroad. With the Czechs standing behind that intelligence before and during the war, it’s nothing more than a political cheap shot to call it a “deception”.

The first claim is even more laughable. Less than three months ago, the Pentagon released a report on the captured documents from the Saddam Hussein regime’s intelligence service, the IIS, which detailed support for two separate al-Qaeda terrorist partners. The Iraqis provided financial backing for the Army of Mohammed, a Bahraini terrorist organization that explicitly planned to target American assets in the region and around the world. The IIS and the Saddam regime in its own documents noted the necessity of keeping those arrangements quiet so as not to trigger another American invasion. The IIS also provided support for Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which incorporated itself into the AQ network when Osama bin Laden made its leader his right-hand man: Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Quite obviously, the Saddam regime saw opportunities to wage war against us and Israel by proxy using the network of radical Islamist terrorists for their own ends. The captured intelligence revealed this. How could the entire Senate Intelligence Committee miss those rather large data points?

If this is the kind of scholarship that went into this report, then we can guess how well the other conclusions of “deception” play out in it. Then again, it’s the kind of cheap shot one can expect from a man who says that military pilots know nothing of war and suffering.