Oh Yes, They Lied
Next time you’re arguing with a conservative whether the Bush administration lied about the intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war, or whether it innocently had the same faulty intelligence from the prior administration and every other allied country, after the new Senate Intelligence Committee report you can say: they lied.
From MSNBC’s Countdown interview with former Bush & Clinton counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke:
OLBERMANN: I use the word lie. The [Senate] report does not use the word lie. Are there lies?
CLARKE: There certainly are and this is a big report. What it says is statements by the president were not substantiated by intelligence. And then it stays statements by the president were contradicted by available intelligence. In other words, they made things up. And they made them up and gave them to Colin Powell and others who believed them.
I think Colin Powell did not know he was lying, but he was. He was given intelligence that people in the intelligence community at the time knew were not true. This is not a case of 20/20 hindsight. This is a case of what was available then.
The National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction was read by seven senators before they voted to go to war. And one was the chairman of the intelligence committee, Bob Graham, who read it and went to the floor of the Senate and said, I read it. I’m chairman of the Intelligence Committee. It’s not persuasive. There’s not a good case here for this war.
So people had the opportunity at the time, if they were reading the intelligence that was available to them. And to say that this is only something that we could have known years later, it’s just not true.
OLBERMANN: We knew about Senator Graham’s doubts. We already knew about the dissident intel agencies, the doubts about the aluminum tubes were instantaneous, the doubts about the clandestine meetings in Germany that never happened. What are we to make now, in the light of the political realities of today, of Senator McCain’s undiminished enthusiasm for and defense of war, and specifically this remarkable claim that every intel assessment of the time was screaming WMD?
CLARKE: Senator McCain’s statements are contradicted by the facts too, the facts in a Senate report, the facts that Republican senators voted for. He is a big proponent of the war but he is also now justifying the intelligence claims of the president, which now we have the evidence, we have the proof, four years too late, that those statements were flat-out wrong. And these weren’t close calls. They made things up.