Some of what we're working on for tonight...
Former CIA Director George J. Tenet has a new book out, so apparently he's in the clear now to begin telling us some of the truth about how the administration got us into the Iraq war. In the book, titled "At the Center of the Storm," Tenet says "There was never a serious debate that I know of within the
administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat," nor, "was there ever a significant discussion" about
the possibility of containing Iraq without an invasion.
Tenet complains in the book, and in an upcoming 60 Minutes interview, that the administration misused and twisted his "slam dunk" comment about the evidence of WMD in Iraq to justify the invasion, then later to deflect blame to Tenet and the CIA when the weapons were not found.
It didn't stop him from later accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom (above), though he says in the book, he was "not at all sure he wanted to accept" it.
But he did.
On the TODAY show, White House lawyer Dan Bartlett was the designated hatchet man sent out to discredit yet another adminstration official with a dangerous book. Bartlett said, "I am a bit confused by that because we have never indicated the
president made the sole decision based on that 'slam dunk' comment."
But in fact, they did "indicate that." Vice President Dick Cheney on Meet The Press September 10, 2006, told Tim Russert"
"when George Tenet sat in the Oval Office and the
president of the United States asked him directly, he said, 'George,
how good is the case against Saddam on weapons of mass destruction?'
the director of the CIA said, 'It's a slam dunk, Mr. President, it's a
slam dunk.' That was the intelligence that was provided to us at the
time, and based upon which we made a choice."
Much more on this tonight, along with the amazing statement of Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, who said this week that he knew the American people were being lied to in the run-up to the Iraq war, but kept quiet about it, because due to his position on the Senate Intelligence Committee, he was sworn to secrecy.
The White House has always said that the Congress voted to go to war based on the same intelligence the president had, but Durbin says that is simply not true.
information we had in the Intelligence Committee was not the same
information being given to the American people. I couldn't believe it,"
Durbin said Wednesday.
"I was angry about it. (But) frankly, I couldn't do
much about it because, in the Intelligence Committee, we are sworn to
secrecy. We can't walk outside the door and say the statement made
yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress."
Something could have been done. Something should have been done. And while the failures of these two men pale in comarison to those of the administration that used them, we find it difficult to celebrate the forthrightness of Tenet and Durbin, who both suddenly found candor four and a half years too late.
Adding... this is the rest of the membersip of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, each of whom - according to Durbin - would have known that the American people were being lied to (includes how they voted on the Iraq war resolution)
|Bob Graham, Florida
|Richard C. Shelby, Alabama
Vice Chairman (Yea)
|Carl Levin, Michigan (Nay)||Jon Kyl, Arizona (Yea)|
|John D. Rockefeller IV , West Virginia (Yea)||James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma (Yea)|
|Dianne Feinstein, California (Yea)||Orrin G. Hatch, Utah (Yea)|
|Ron Wyden, Oregon (Nay)||Pat Roberts , Kansas (Yea)|
|Richard Durbin, Illinois (Nay)||Mike DeWine, Ohio (Yea)|
|Evan Bayh, Indiana (Yea)||Fred Thompson, Tennessee (Yea)|
|John Edwards, North Carolina (Yea)||Richard G. Lugar, Indiana (Yea)|
|Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland (Nay)|