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 Senate Hearing on Pre-War Iraq Intelligence, Points Finger at Vice-President


The panel members were : Col Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, and for more than 17 years, a close associate of the secretary; Mr. Paul Pillar, former CIA Iraq Intelligence Coordinator; Mr. Wayne White, former State Department Intelligence department head; and Mr. Carl ford, former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence & Research.

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Senate Hearing on Pre-War Iraq Intelligence, points finger at Vice-President

By Ed Tubbs

06/27/06 "
Information Clearing House" -- -- During his bedside leave from the Senate, during 1954 and 1955, John F. Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage, the stories of eight US Senators who risked their entire political careers and for a few of them, their wealth, in order to stand on behalf of principle and truth.

On Monday, June 26, the Democratic Policy Committee held a C-SPAN televised inquiry entitled Pre-Iraq War Intelligence. As the minority party, Democrats cannot call or hold “hearings,” thus the “inquiry” appellation. Although all senators from both parties had been invited, because no votes had been scheduled, few senators were actually in town to participate. The three senators who did attend were Jeff Bingaman (D - NM), Dianne Feinstein (D - CA), and Byron Dorgan (D - ND) acted as chairman.

The panel members were : Col Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, and for more than 17 years, a close associate of the secretary; Mr. Paul Pillar, former CIA Iraq Intelligence Coordinator; Mr. Wayne White, former State Department Intelligence department head; and Mr. Carl ford, former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence & Research.

The general public might anticipate that it would be Democrats most interested in conducting such a hearing, especially giving the damning testimony that all of the panelists provided concerning the administration’s dissembling and conniving and twisting and cherry-picking of intelligence to support a decision to invade Iraq; a decision that, according to all the high-level Republican panelists was in concrete fully seven months prior to Secretary of State Powell’s UN presentation! Congressman Jones’ district includes Fort Bragg, the largest army post in the world, and solidly conservative and Republican. Congressman Jones asked Senator Dorgan whether he might attend, and ask the panelists questions. Permission gladly granted.

I’ve been watching C-SPAN for more than a decade. And on both sides of the isle, it’s frequently frighteningly plain how phoney is much of the pontificating that goes on, on both sides of the isle. I’ve seen Rep. Jones on other occasions. Rep. Jones is an honorable and decent public servant. I’ve seen him struggle mightily under the coercion that is applied by his party to fall into line. His face would contort the way a man in dire distress might, trying to find the right thing. And each time, Rep. Jones reached integrity’s top rung.

Rep. Jones inquired of the panelists, “who was responsible, who had the power to manipulate the intelligence agencies to secure the answers the administration needed for the support it needed to invade Iraq?”

One name came up. In the words of the panelists, it was three words: “The Vice-President.”

The testimony noted that the administration, contrary to its numerous postulations, was not victim to poor intelligence. Again and again and again, it was told that the assertions they’d been making concerning Saddam Hussein and his biological and chemical weapons labs, and his efforts to reconstitute a nuclear capability were not supported by the evidence. The intel agencies had done their job: analyzing evidence and reporting as accurately as the evidence allowed. But no one wanted to hear it. A question was raised concerning the allegation that Mohammed Atta had met with Iraqi officials in Prague, and that Al Qaida had members in parts of Iraq. Around the table, the testimony was the same: “We told them that there simply existed no evidence to that.” National Security Advisor Steve Hadly tried to browbeat Secretary of State Colin Powell into including the story of Atta in his UN presentation. Powell’s response was terse, “It’s out and it’s going to stay out.” Additionally, the spy agencies also told the administration that Hussein does not represent a threat to the United States, “He’s in a cage, he can’t go anywhere, and he’s militarily a toothless tiger. There is no reason to attack him.”

Finally, the panelists’s testimony was modified with the caution that, to the best of their knowledge, everything that flowed from the administration was likely technically completely legal. But the testimony also suggested that the land-mines that are nuclear are the lies involved in the coverup since. Those efforts, they said, are most probably among the most egregious of felonies. “That’s were the land-mines are, the ones they’re afraid of.”

A reminder: The panelists were not left-wing wackoes out to get Bush. These men are lifelong professionals in their respective areas of expertise.

Watch and listen to the testimony. All of it. Then judge for yourself whether this administration’s machinations descended to the utterly condemnable. Personally, I hold that everyone who voted GOP has the blood of our soldiers and the 18,000 to 20,000 lives of Iraqis and the more than $1 trillion (will be once the toll for the lifelong care the vets will require is into the mix) that has been wasted on their hands, every bit as much as is on the hands of those in the administration. It ain’t gonna wash off. But for the sake of your own dignity and self-respect, just do not continue to stick your head in the sand.

Rep. Jones made the comment that he has been disowned by his party. The panelists, also all Republicans, have said they have been treated as pariahs as well. Rep. Jones has paid a dear price that troubles him mightily every day. He said that he deeply regrets that few in his party are interested in a search for the truth. Representative Walter Jones is a hero. He’s mine. Have the courage of Rep. Jones. Do not be afraid of the truth.

Ed Tubbs

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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