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Bush to pick panel for WMD (intelligence) inquiry

stir-fry

TRIBE Member
From the New York Times


Source

Bush to Establish Panel to Examine U.S. Intelligence
By DAVID E. SANGER

Published: February 2, 2004


W ASHINGTON, Feb. 1 — President Bush will establish a bipartisan commission in the next few days to examine American intelligence operations, including a study of possible misjudgments about Iraq's unconventional weapons, senior administration officials said Sunday. They said the panel would also investigate failures to penetrate secretive governments and stateless groups that could attempt new attacks on the United States.

The president's decision came after a week of rising pressure on the White House from both Democrats and many ranking Republicans to deal with what the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee has called "egregious" errors that overstated Iraq's stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and made the country appear far closer to developing nuclear weapons than it actually was.

Mr. Bush's agreement to set up a commission to study the Iraq intelligence failures was first reported Sunday by The Washington Post. The officials described the commission Mr. Bush will create as a broader examination of American intelligence shortcomings — from Iran to North Korea to Libya — of which the Iraqi experience was only a part.

The pressure to establish such a panel became irresistible after David A. Kay, the former chief weapons inspector, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that "it turns out we were all wrong, probably," about the perceived Iraqi threat, which was the administration's basic justification for the war.

The commission will not report back until after the November elections. Some former officials who have been approached about taking part say they believe it may take 18 months or more to reach its conclusions.

"It became clear to the president that he couldn't sit there and seem uninterested in the fact that the Iraq intel went off the rails," said one senior official involved in the discussions. "He had to do something, and he chose to enlarge the problem, beyond the Iraq experience."

White House officials said the president was still completing a list of who would serve on the commission, expected to have about nine members. Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, said Sunday that they were talking to "very distinguished statesmen and women, who have served their country and who have been users of intelligence, or served in a gathering capacity." Among those who have been consulted, officials say, is Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser under Mr. Bush's father. Mr. Scowcroft, who was a harsh critic of the process by which the current president decided to go to war, is currently the head of a foreign intelligence advisory board and it is unclear if he will play a role in the new commission.

Mr. Bush's effort is intended to put the study into a broader context — the retooling of American intelligence-gathering for a new era of terrorism and nuclear proliferation by rogue scientists and countries that may pass weapons into the hands of groups like Al Qaeda. But it is far from clear that those steps will insulate him from Democrats' charges that the White House tried to manipulate the Iraq intelligence to justify the March invasion.

Nor is it clear whether the commission's broader mandate will keep it from delving too deeply into the specific failures by the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies in the case of Iraq. Mr. Bush has been trying to avoid identifying individuals or agencies responsible for the Iraq failures. Senior administration officials concede they do not want to risk further alienating the C.I.A. or the director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet.

In interviews on Sunday, White House officials rejected direct comparisons to the commission that is examining the intelligence failures surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks, or the commission that issued a blistering critique of NASA after the Columbia disaster a year ago. Instead, a senior White House official said Sunday afternoon, Mr. Bush intends to order a look "at the global security challenges of the 21st century."


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stir-fry

TRIBE Member
It's so convenient that the study won't be completed until way after his re-election, good timing on his behalf.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
God I hope so. I've been waiting for my chance to apply at the Ministry of Truth for forever now. I'd love to meet O'Brian, and pick his brain a bit. ;)
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
I'm voting for Henry Kissinger as chair of the commission.

The poor guy's probably still feeling slighted from his removal as 9/11 investigation chair. You just know Bush has a spot yet for his pal, where he can still do all that truth-finding stuff that makes him such a model human being.
 
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Rocky

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by stir-fry
It's so convenient that the study won't be completed until way after his election, good timing on his behalf.
I had to qualify your statement for accuracy (election -re).

Is this a completely independant commision, or is this commision going to uncover the truth like the mass media report it?

I think I already know that the conclusions that will be drawn upon the completion of this inquiry will be bull shit, surrounded by horse shit, dog shit and manure. No?
 

Rocky

TRIBE Member
^ok...I just got my answer from cnn.com
Critics say they doubt President Bush's commission to look into Iraq's alleged WMDs will be independent and bipartisan. CNN's Dana Bash reports.
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
Haven't former CIA officials already come out and spoken on the record saying that they told Bush that there wasn't enough evidence to prove that saddam was hiding WMD?

I'm sure at least a couple of current or former intelligence agents have. Isn't that enough?

Or is the whole point of this just to side-track the issue until after the elections? It will be a lot easier for Bush to deflect any questions during the campaign while this is going on, no?

Reporter: "Mr. President, isn't it true that you lied to everyone in the world when you said that Saddam was going to fuck shit up in America with his fake bombs?"

Bush: "well... uh, this matter is under investigation right now so I can't comment, we'll wait until the committee, which I hand-picked myself, releases its findings *after* the election"

hmm... I think I just answered my own question.
 
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Adam

TRIBE Member
Either way, we know Bush won't be taking any flak for this. It will be blamed on shoddy intelligence, and Bush will be given a reprieve in the media.

Call me cynical.
 

stir-fry

TRIBE Member
Panel to decide focus of its intelligence probe
Democrats say Congress should pick members

New York Times
Tuesday, February 3, 2004


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Washington -- White House officials said Monday that the commission being created to investigate intelligence shortcomings will decide for itself if it will examine a highly charged political issue: whether President Bush and other senior administration officials exaggerated the evidence that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of illicit weapons.

A draft of the executive order Bush is preparing to sign this week to create the commission makes no explicit reference to a study of how the intelligence assessments were used. Instead, it only directs the panel to compare intelligence findings about Iraq produced before the war with the paucity of stockpiles and weapons found by American inspection teams on the ground in Iraq.

On Monday, Democratic leaders in Congress sent a letter to Bush urging that the scope of the inquiry include "the collection, analysis, dissemination and use by policymakers of intelligence on Iraq." The Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., also said that members of the commission should be appointed "on a bipartisan basis by the congressional leadership" rather than by the president himself.

Speaking to reporters, Bush sidestepped a question about whether Americans deserved answers before the presidential election in November to questions about the yawning gap between prewar allegations that Iraq possessed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and the later failure of U.S. inspectors to discover any such weapons.

"I don't know all the facts," Bush said. "What we don't know yet is what we thought and what the Iraqi Survey Group has found, and we want to look at that."

At a briefing, the White House had little more to say about who would be appointed to the panel, what its exact mandate might be and when it would be expected to report back to Bush.

Congressional Democrats said that they wanted a voice in who is chosen. "For President Bush to say he is going to do this on his own, going at it unilaterally again, which is his wont, that is not going to fly," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., a member of the Intelligence Committee. "It has to be independent of him as well as independent of Congress."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's closest international ally before and during the Iraq war, also plans to appoint a commission to investigate faulty prewar intelligence on Iraq, a spokesman said Monday.

A senior judge exonerated Blair last week of charges that he deliberately distorted the intelligence in rallying Parliament and the British public. But Bush's decision to take a closer look apparently prompted Blair to do the same.

In Irbil, Iraq, meanwhile, the official death count from Sunday's suicide attacks on the headquarters of the two major Kurdish political parties climbed to 67.

Many officials blamed al Qaeda and its alleged local surrogate, Ansar al- Islam, for the attacks.

Members of Ansar al-Islam, a band of fundamentalist Muslim fighters founded with the common cause of destroying secular Kurdish political groups, were driven from their mountain base during the U.S.-led invasion last year. But Kurdish officials said Ansar al-Islam cells probably were still active in and around Irbil.
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by stir-fry
A draft of the executive order Bush is preparing to sign this week to create the commission makes no explicit reference to a study of how the intelligence assessments were used. Instead, it only directs the panel to compare intelligence findings about Iraq produced before the war...
So in other words, even in a worst case scenario for Bush, he's completely off the hook but can lay the blame on the CIA and FBI?
Typical.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
It also bears mentioning that conducting an inquiry takes the issue out of the media for as long as the inquiry takes.
 
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Shug

TRIBE Member
Bush is a smart guy. You don't get to be President of the United States by being a non-sensical idiot (like he portrays himself), without learning how to sidestep a few political landmines.

Thing that bothers me is: it's so frickin' transparent, and REALLY shoddily done, his whole ass-fucking of the American People. It's almost as if he's rubbing their (and ours and the rest of the world's) nose in it.

"You like that, bitch? Hunh? Who's your daddy, bitch? Who's ramming it up yer ass right now? That's right, it's the Gee-Dub Man. Tell me you like it..."

And the American People retort with a subservient, "Thank you sir, yes sir, I love it, sir..."
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Shug
Bush is a smart guy. You don't get to be President of the United States by being a non-sensical idiot (like he portrays himself), without learning how to sidestep a few political landmines.

yes you do. you employ people to help you.
 

Shug

TRIBE Member
Which can be argued as a type of self-preserving intelligence.

There is the point that says he's a puppet for a shadow government, or a figurehead for the real seats of power... but I mean, the Commander-in-Chief still has a lot of administrative power... hard to think that a supposed "shadow cabinet" would invest so much into a pawn, which could so easily go maverick.... and let's face it, the guy's from Texas... no self-respecting shadow cabinet would ever trust a Texan. They're loose cannons.

I think we underestimate Bush... I think he's smarter than he lets on.

Doesn't mean he's not the Anti-Christ though.
 

docta seuss

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Shug

I think we underestimate Bush... I think he's smarter than he lets on.

Doesn't mean he's not the Anti-Christ though.
oh, i'm sure the potential for intellectual development is there, but he chooses to ignore it. he's been a president, a governor, the general manager of the texas rangers, a fighter pilot in the national guard, and he's a university graduate... etc. etc., so he can't actually be an idiot, although you wouldn't know it by how he constantly stumbles over his words, loses his train of thought, finds amusement in very odd things, and makes poor, POOR decisions.

...and he's not the anti-christ; perhaps that's part of the problem.
 
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