Deliberate or Absent-minded? Recycling Old News on Iraq
"A senior administration official confirmed for the first time on Sunday that President Bush had ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq in an effort to rebut critics who said the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein," reported David Sanger and David Johnston in the New York Times Monday.
For the first time? Here's the AP's Tom Raum on July 20, 2003: "The White House declassified portions of an October, 2002 intelligence report to demonstrate that President Bush had ample reason to believe Iraq was reconstituting a nuclear weapons program."....
Mr. Sanger and Mr. Johnston must have slept through that month. Why the recycling? In a court filing April 5, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald reported that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, told the grand jury that Mr. Cheney had authorized him to disclose portions of the National Intelligence Estimate to Judith Miller of the New York Times a couple of weeks before its general release.
The NIE was declassified to rebut charges by Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that President Bush lied when he said in his 2003 State of the Union address that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa."...
Dafna Linzer and Barton Gellman of the Washington Post should be grateful no legal jeopardy is attached to lying to their readers. In their story Sunday they said: "the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before."
The opposite is true. In July of 2004, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded unanimously that it was Mr. Wilson who was lying. He had been sent to Niger by his wife, and he told the CIA officers who debriefed him that Iraqi officials had approached Nigerien officials about buying "yellowcake."