Monday, June 09, 2008

If you don't want to say "lied", say this:

Fred Hiatt:
"spoke with too much certainty"
To be fair to Hiatt, let's look at his claims within the context of the larger Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report. Hiatt only cites cases where the administration's claims were "substantiated by intelligence information". (And we know that much of that "information" was from a special shop set up to bypass the CIA and other established intel units.) But there were other instances where the administration made claims that were not substantiated. Here's a quick overview (green = Hiatt's 6 cited instances, red = 6 other instances)
Claim about Assessment by Senate Intel Report
Iraq's nuclear weapons program president's statements "substantiated by intelligence community estimates"
biological weapons, production capability and mobile laboratories president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."
chemical weapons Substantiated by intelligence information
weapons of mass destruction overall Generally substantiated by intelligence information.
Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles Generally substantiated by available intelligence
Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMD Generally substantiated by intelligence information
Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training not substantiated by the intelligence
Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States contradicted by available intelligence information
postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products
Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties
Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities was not substantiated by available intelligence information
Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 Intelligence Community did not confirm
So Bush and company were only lying half the time! Great job. That's the kind of honesty you want when you are "informing" the public about potential war.

From the Senate report, we learn that all statements about Iraq's support of terrorist groups (past & future) attacking the United States were bogus. That was what scared Americans most and helped move the nation to war. But Hiatt omits that from his editorial.

NOTE: As someone in the editorial's comment section points out, only the nuclear claim was substantiated by intelligence community estimates. The rest of the claims were substantiated by "intelligence information", which could be as flimsy as a tip passed from Ahmed Chalabi.


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