Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe mocked former Vice President Dick Cheney for his recent criticism of President Obama, and inaccurately claimed that "there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq" before Cheney "led the decision to invade Iraq."
After dismissing Cheney as being in his "last throes," Wolffe recalled: "Let's just revisit a little bit of history. Before Dick Cheney led the decision to invade Iraq, and led the disastrous occupation of Iraq, there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He allowed Al-Qaeda to get a foothold in Iraq."
But, as previously documented by NewsBusters , during several years dating back even before the Iraq invasion, there were media reports from various sources of former Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's connections to Osama bin Laden, and his use of Iraq as a base to plot terror attacks against other countries before the war.
In fact, on March 2, 2008, the NBC Nightly News claimed not only that there was an Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the invasion, busy plotting attacks against Europe, but that the Bush administration intentionally "passed up several opportunities" to attack terrorist bases in Iraq "long before the war" in 2002 because of fear it would "undercut its case" for overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, June 18, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell:
ARI MELBER: Richard, what are we to make of what I'm not calling the comeback of Dick Cheney?
RICHARD WOLFFE: Well, I think, to coin a phrase, this is the last throes, if you will, of Dick Cheney, and -- look, here is a man who purports to say that the President has allowed Al-Qaeda to take a foothold in Iraq.
Let's just revisit a little bit of history. Before Dick Cheney led the decision to invade Iraq, and led the disastrous occupation of Iraq, there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He allowed Al-Qaeda to get a foothold in Iraq.
He knows that full well. He allides through history, picks and chooses what he wants. As you point out, not only does he have no credibility, he doesn't have any throw weight, as they say in the military.