Another big, big story. Murray Waas at the NATIONAL JOURNAL has new details on the Iraq War cover-up within the White House:
Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews.There is still a lot of uninformed debate about whether Bush is a corrupt, pathological liar or just some sort of hapless, incompetent stooge. This new information should help clarify that debate.
Hadley was particularly concerned that the public might learn of a classified one-page summary of a National Intelligence Estimate, specifically written for Bush in October 2002. The summary said that although "most agencies judge" that the aluminum tubes were "related to a uranium enrichment effort," the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department's intelligence branch "believe that the tubes more likely are intended for conventional weapons."
Three months after receiving that assessment, the president stated without qualification in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."
The previously undisclosed review by Hadley was part of a damage-control effort launched after former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV alleged that Bush's claims regarding the uranium were not true...
"Presidential knowledge was the ball game," says a former senior government official outside the White House who was personally familiar with the damage-control effort. "The mission was to insulate the president. It was about making it appear that he wasn't in the know. You could do that on Niger. You couldn't do that with the tubes." A Republican political appointee involved in the process, who thought the Bush administration had a constitutional obligation to be more open with Congress, said: "This was about getting past the election."
We already know that Bush had made up his mind to go to war and was repeatedly lying to the press prior to the invasion. So it's not like he was caught out after the fact and just lied to cover up the mistakes. This was premeditated, deliberate lying in support of pre-ordained goals.
The same thing goes for the NSA surveillance scandal. Bush lied to the press even when he didn't need to, assuring them that court orders were being sought before anybody even asked the question. A more experienced, capable and intelligent politician would have found a way to say the same thing without lying. Not Bush.
So is Bush a liar, or just a stooge? Unfortunately, folks, he is both.
The word most US citizens associate with Bush today is "incompetent". How long before that becomes "criminal"?
UPDATE: From Raw Story:
Congressman John Conyers today called on president Bush to make publicly available a memo submitted to him by Stephen Hadley in October 2002.Also, some interesting words from Phillipe Sands, QC, whose book Lawless World broke the news of that other Bush-Blair meeting memo recently:
I've spoken personally to ambassadors of Security Council members and I'm aware of the inducements that were given to countries in the Security Council to vote in favour of a resolution. And I think the most striking aspect of that period is that not one country could be persuaded. And if you talk to these people, ambassadors privately, the reason that they'll tell you is very clear, they simply didn't believe the argument. They didn't believe that the evidence of this - at this time Hans Blix was reporting back Iraqi cooperation was accelerating. Mr ElBaradei said there weren't any nuclear materials and Mr Blix was saying he probably didn't think there were going to be any weapons of mass destruction - there may be some incipient programs to try to build it up in the future but there would be no hard evidence. It really all in the end turns on the evidence - the inducements, the pressure, the arm-twisting had no effect.UPDATE 2: Robert Schlesinger at The Huffington Post picks up on another lie exposed by the Waas article. This one from Condi Rice:
TONY JONES: Here's one of the critical bits of the memo from our point of view. President Bush had to say that if we ultimately failed military action, to get the resolution that is, military action would follow anyway?
PHILIPPE SANDS: Those words are totally unambiguous. That document confirms irrevocably that the decision had been taken by President Bush and it goes onto confirm that the British PM was with him.
"Now, if there were any doubts about the underlying intelligence to that NIE, those doubts were not communicated to the president, to the vice president, or me."