10th April 06:07
Junior says "The CIA is to blame, not me."
Bush: CIA Approved State of Union Speech
Fri Jul 11, 7:57 PM ET Add White House - AP to My Yahoo!
By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer
ENTEBBE, Uganda - President Bush (news - web sites) on Friday put
responsibility squarely on the CIA (news - web sites) for his
erroneous claim that Iraq (news - web sites) tried to acquire nuclear
material from Africa, prompting the director of intelligence to
publicly accept full blame for the miscue.
"I gave a speech to the nation that was cleared by the intelligence
services," Bush told reporters in Uganda.
Hours later, CIA Director George Tenet issued a statement, saying the
16 words in Bush's State of the Union address concerning a purported
uranium deal should never have been uttered by the president.
"This was a mistake," Tenet said. "This did not rise to the level of
certainty which should be required for presidential speeches, and CIA
should have ensured that it was removed."
The controversy over Bush's claim in his State of the Union address in
January had undermined the administration's efforts to quiet rising
doubts about Bush's justifications for going to war. The United States
said military action was justified, in part, because Iraq had weapons
of mass destruction, but no such weapons have been found.
Friday's episode clearly weakened the credibility that Tenet — the
only holdover from the Clinton administration and a former staff
director for the Senate Intelligence Committee — has with Congress as
key lawmakers called for accountability.
"It was in***bent on the director of intelligence to correct the
record and bring it to the immediate attention of the president," said
Sen. Pat Roberts (news, bio, voting record), R-Kan., chairman of the
After Tenet's mea culpa, CIA officials said they did not expect the
director to resign. White House officials declined to speculate. "I
think the statement speaks for itself," National Security Council
spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Anxious to dispense with the flap, which has dogged the president on
his Africa trip and stole attention from his message about AIDS (news
- web sites), trade and terrorism, the White House took unusual steps
Friday to let Bush and his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice
(news - web sites), speak out on the issue. Both put responsibility
for the error squarely on the CIA.
Rice spent nearly an hour going over allegations with reporters on Air
Force One. And Bush responded to a reporter's shouted question at a
picture-taking session even after his Ugandan host said no questions
would be allowed.
"I gave a speech to the nation that was cleared by the intelligence
services," Bush said. "And it was a speech that detailed to the
American people the dangers posed by the Saddam Hussein (news - web
sites) regime. And my government took the appropriate response to
those dangers. And as a result, the world is going to be more secure
and more peaceful."
Rice was more direct, saying, "The CIA cleared the speech in its
If the CIA director had concerns about the information, "these doubts
were not communicated to the president," Rice said.
Rice said Tenet "absolutely" had the president's confidence.
Still, she expressed dismay that information on alleged attempts by
Saddam Hussein to buy uranium "yellowcake" from Niger — intelligence
that turned out to be based on forged do***ents — had found its way
into a major presidential speech after being vetted by the CIA.
Yellowcake is a lightly processed form of uranium which requires
further enrichment before it can be used in nuclear weapons."
"If the director of central intelligence had said, `Take this out of
the speech,' it would have been gone — without question," Rice said.
Rice talked with Tenet by phone shortly before meeting with reporters
to tell him what she planned to say, according to several
administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
These officials said Tenet was sent a final version of the speech
before it was delivered.
Tenet's tenure had seemed shaky at the outset of the Bush
administration, but by all accounts he ingratiated himself to the
president through loyalty, hard work, and by personally giving the
president daily intelligence briefings.
Bush, in his State of the Union address, had cited a British
intelligence report as the basis for the information. British Prime
Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites), who plans to meet with Bush at
the White House on Thursday, also has faced intense questioning for
his claims that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction.
American intelligence officials told British officials their doubts
about the purported Africa-Iraq uranium connection cited by Bush in
his speech, some U.S. officials said. But Rice said the CIA itself, as
part of its regular classified National Intelligence Estimate to Bush,
asserted that Iraq was "seeking yellowcake in Africa."
When the text of the speech was sent to the CIA for vetting, Rice said
the agency raised only one objection to the sentence involving the
Africa-Iraq-uranium allegation. "Some specifics about amount and place
were taken out," Rice said, adding that "with the changes in that
sentence, the speech was cleared."
On Capitol Hill, Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence
Committee, chastised the CIA, saying he was disturbed by what appeared
to be "extremely sloppy handling of the issue" by the agency.
He said unidentified intelligence sources are claiming they told the
White House that the information was unfounded, yet he said he's been
told that the CIA was still asserting about 10 days before Bush's
speech that Iraq was seeking to acquire uranium from Africa.
"I have seen no do***entation that indicates that the CIA had reversed
itself after Jan. 17 and prior to the State of the Union," he said.
"If the CIA had changed its position, it was in***bent on the director
of intelligence to correct the record and bring it to the immediate
attention of the president."
As the controversy continued this week, Democratic candidates for
president have maintained a steady drumbeat questioning Bush's
On Friday, Sen. John Kerry (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., said
the controversy only strengthens the case for a full, honest
accounting of any intelligence failures.
"The continued finger-pointing, charge-countercharge, and bureaucratic
warfare within the administration do nothing to make this country
safer and will simply further erode the confidence of the American
public and our allies around the world," he said.
So junior, is the Oval Office now located in Langley?
18th April 18:37
Junior says "The CIA is to blame, not me."
LIE #1: "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its
nuclear weapons program ... Iraq has attempted to purchase
high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas
centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." --
President Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in Cincinnati.
FACT: This story, leaked to and breathlessly reported by Judith Miller
in the New York Times, has turned out to be complete baloney.
Department of Energy officials, who monitor nuclear plants, say the
tubes could not be used for enriching uranium. One intelligence
****yst, who was part of the tubes investigation, angrily told The New
Republic: "You had senior American officials like Condoleezza Rice
saying the only use of this aluminum really is uranium centrifuges.
She said that on television. And that's just a lie."
LIE #2: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein
recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." --
President Bush, Jan.28, 2003, in the State of the Union address.
FACT: This whopper was based on a do***ent that the White House
already knew to be a forgery thanks to the CIA. Sold to Italian
intelligence by some hustler, the do***ent carried the signature of an
official who had been out of office for 10 years and referenced a
constitution that was no longer in effect. The ex-ambassador who the
CIA sent to check out the story is pissed: "They knew the Niger story
was a flat-out lie," he told the New Republic, anonymously. "They [the
White House] were unpersuasive about aluminum tubes and added this to
make their case more strongly."
LIE #3: "We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear
weapons." -- Vice President Cheney on March 16, 2003 on "Meet the
FACT: There was and is absolutely zero basis for this statement. CIA
reports up through 2002 showed no evidence of an Iraqi nuclear weapons
LIE #4: "[The CIA possesses] solid reporting of senior-level contacts
between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade." -- CIA Director George
Tenet in a written statement released Oct. 7, 2002 and echoed in that
evening's speech by President Bush.
FACT: Intelligence agencies knew of tentative contacts between Saddam
and al-Qaeda in the early '90s, but found no proof of a continuing
relationship. In other words, by tweaking language, Tenet and Bush
spun the intelligence180 degrees to say exactly the opposite of what
LIE #5: "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in
bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases ... Alliance with terrorists
could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any
fingerprints." -- President Bush, Oct. 7.
FACT: No evidence of this has ever been leaked or produced. Colin
Powell told the U.N. this alleged training took place in a camp in
northern Iraq. To his great embarrassment, the area he indicated was
later revealed to be outside Iraq's control and patrolled by Allied
LIE #6: "We have also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a
growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be
used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We
are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs
[unmanned aerial vehicles] for missions targeting the United States."
-- President Bush, Oct. 7.
FACT: Said drones can't fly more than 300 miles, and Iraq is 6,000
miles from the U.S. coastline. Furthermore, Iraq's drone-building
program wasn't much more advanced than your average model plane
enthusiast. And isn't a "manned aerial vehicle" just a scary way to
LIE #7: "We have seen intelligence over many months that they have
chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and
that they're weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command
and control arrangements have been established." -- President Bush,
Feb. 8, 2003, in a national radio address.
FACT: Despite a massive nationwide search by U.S. and British forces,
there are no signs, traces or examples of chemical weapons being
deployed in the field, or anywhere else during the war.
LIE #8: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile
of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough
to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets." -- Secretary of State Colin
Powell, Feb. 5 2003, in remarks to the UN Security Council.
FACT: Putting aside the glaring fact that not one drop of this massive
stockpile has been found, as previously reported on AlterNet the
United States' own intelligence reports show that these stocks -- if
they existed -- were well past their use-by date and therefore useless
as weapon fodder.
LIE #9: "We know where [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area around
Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat." --
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003, in statements to
FACT: Needless to say, no such weapons were found, not to the east,
west, south or north, somewhat or otherwise.
LIE #10: "Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN
prohibited." -- President Bush in remarks in Poland, published
internationally June 1, 2003.
FACT: This was reference to the discovery of two modified truck
trailers that the CIA claimed were potential mobile biological weapons
lab. But British and American experts -- including the State
Department's intelligence wing in a report released this week -- have
since declared this to be untrue. According to the British, and much
to Prime Minister Tony Blair's embarrassment, the trailers are
actually exactly what Iraq said they were; facilities to fill weather
balloons, sold to them by the British themselves.