Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fool me—you can't get fooled again

By Libby

Bush loyalists are fond of pointing out that the Democrats voted for the war and often follow that up by alleging the Democrats had access to the same intelligence as the White House. Frankly, I've always found that argument a little silly. In a White House that classifies even the most mundane records, it seems unlikely that they share everything. But what we haven't had until now is proof as to just how far over the line Bush was willing to go to "sell" his war to Congress. This is the first time I've seen a sitting politician come right out and call the president a liar.
In a town hall meeting in Bloomsburg, Pa., this week, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a 12-term congressman, said that shortly before Congress was scheduled to vote on authorizing military force against Iraq, top officials of the CIA showed select members of Congress three photographs it alleged were Iraqi Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones. Kanjorski said he was told that the drones were capable of carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical agents, and could strike 1,000 miles inland of east coast or west coast cities.

Kanjorski said he and four or five other congressmen in the room were told there were 1,000 drones on freighters headed to the U.S. Both secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and President Bush wandered into and out of the briefing room, Kanjorski said.

...Until he saw the pictures, Kanjorski said, “I hadn’t thought that Iraq was a threat.” That second meeting changed everything. After he left that meeting, said Kanjorski, he was willing to give the President the authorization he wanted since the drones “represented an imminent danger.”

Several years later, Kanjorski said he learned that the pictures were “a god-damned lie,” apparently taken by CIA photographers in the desert in the southwest of the U.S. The drone story itself had already been disproved, although not many major media carried that story.

Furthermore, Bush gave a speech referencing the drones that further swayed Congress members, "after intelligence analysts had already discounted that threat." Leaving aside the question of why the Democrats aren't using this to impeach Bush for lying to Congress, I have to ask why on earth anyone would believe what comes out of the White House on Iraq or Iran -- or anything. But don't listen to me, listen to Bush tell you himself.

[h/t Jules Siegel]

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