Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dems Wimp Out on Bush & Prewar Intelligence

As part of its much belated inquiry into the prewar intelligence, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a 229-page report on Friday on the intelligence produced by US intelligence agencies on what could be expected to occur in Iraq following a US invasion. No surprise: the intelligence community foresaw the likelihood of chaos and trouble inside and outside Iraq.

As the committee's report notes, before the war the top intelligence analysts of the United States government concluded that creating a stable democratic government in Iraq would be a difficult and "turbulent" challenge, that sectarian conflict could erupt in a post-invasion Iraq, that al Qaeda would view a US invasion of Iraq as an opportunity to increase and enhance its terrorist attacks, that a heightened terrorist threat would exist for several years, that the US occupation of Iraq would probably cause a rise of Islamic fundamentalism and a boost in funding for terrorist groups, and that Iran's role in the region would enlarge.

That is, prior to the war, the experts predicted the tough times to come. In the book I co-wrote with Michael Isikoff Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, we reported that the intelligence community and the Pentagon had produced several estimates in early 2003 that warned about what could happen following a U.S. invasion. In his memoirs, former CIA director George Tenet quoted from some of these intelligence assessments. And the Senate Intelligence Committee report reprints two such studies. The intelligence establishment blew the WMD call--partly because it failed to accept its own skeptical intelligence evaluations--but it was largely correct about what would transpire after the United States entered Iraq.

But the Senate Intelligence Committee--now chaired by Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller--blinked.

That assessment comes from one of the committee's own members: Senator Dianne Feinstein ¤, a California Democrat. In comments attached to the report, she justifiably gripes that the report ignores a critical matter--what the Bush administration did (or did not do) with all this strong intelligence. She writes:

I believe that the report could have, and should have, been much stronger and more direct on the quality and use of prewar intelligence.

In particular, the report should have included a conclusion that the quality of prewar assessments was generally high and that many of the predictions made by the Intelligence Community (IC) about postwar Iraq proved to be correct. There should also have been a conclusion that although policymakers had access to these assessments...they failed to take steps to prevent or lessen postwar challenges.

Feinstein is essentially charging that Rockefeller wimped out. He let the Bush White House off the hook. As Feinstein writes,

A more troubling aspect of prewar assessments on postwar Iraq was the extent to which they were ignored by policymakers....In the rare occasion that Administration officials addressed the postwar environment, their statements tended to ignore or directly contradict the IC's views.

Moreover, major policy decisions, including the number of troops needed after the initial combat phase and the extent of de-Baathification in the government and security forces, flatly ignored the assessments and recommendations of intelligence officials. Similarly, intelligence recommendations to actively engage Iraq's neighbors, especially Iran, in the postwar period were dismissed.

There is a bottom-line here: Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and other top administration officials shirked their duties by not planning for the troubles predicted by the intelligence community. Moreover, they misled the public, by presenting images of a post-invasion Iraq not supported by the assessments produced by the government's analysts. Feinstein notes:

The Committee has seen no evidence that government officials and decisionmakers appropriately considered and prepared for the difficulties in the postwar environment that were predicted by the Intelligence Community. The failure to act on this intelligence is a key contributing factor to the current situation in Iraq.

The Senate intelligence committee dropped the ball on the most important point: how Bush and his colleagues paid little heed to reality (or predictions of a reality to come) when they took the nation to war. It's good to know that the intelligence community--which screwed up the WMD question--did get something right. (The CIA also was correct when it produced reports saying there was no evidence of an operational link between Iraq and al Qaeda--a conclusion mocked by neocons in the Bush administration.) Yet the more significant issue is how Bush and his aides handled the decision to go to war. As the report shows--without stating so--the president and his team disregarded the experts and, thus, steered the country into one helluva ditch in Iraq.

The Senate intelligence committee has yet to finish its so-called "Phase II" report on the administration's use (or abuse) of the prewar intelligence on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. That inquiry has been the subject of contention between Republicans and Democrats on the committee for the past three years. (The Democrats even shut down the Senate for a few hours to protest the Republicans' reluctance to wrap up that investigation.) But if the latest committee report is any indication, Bush critics, even fellow Democrats of Jay Rockefeller, may end up disappointed when the long-awaited Phase II report finally emerges.


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Wow, I guess the Democrats need a super-majority in both the house and senate AND the presidency to do anything except serve Busheney.

I doubt they will get any better numbers than they have.

Seems like the D's are going to wimp out on all the important stuff.

I am floored (shocked, appalled and nearly speechless), who would have ever thought the D majority would prove as feckless and impotent.



capt said...

Plame was ‘covert’ agent at time of name leak

Newly released unclassified document details CIA employment

An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame's employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was "covert" when her name became public in July 2003.

The summary is part of an attachment to Fitzgerald's memorandum to the court supporting his recommendation that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former top aide, spend 2-1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the CIA leak investigation.

The nature of Plame's CIA employment never came up in Libby's perjury and obstruction of justice trial.

Undercover travel
The unclassified summary of Plame's employment with the CIA at the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003 says, "Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States."

Plame worked as an operations officer in the Directorate of Operations and was assigned to the Counterproliferation Division (CPD) in January 2002 at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The employment history indicates that while she was assigned to CPD, Plame, "engaged in temporary duty travel overseas on official business." The report says, "she traveled at least seven times to more than ten times." When overseas Plame traveled undercover, "sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias -- but always using cover -- whether official or non-official (NOC) -- with no ostensible relationship to the CIA."

Criminal prosecution beat national security
After the Novak column was published and Plame's identity was widely reported in the media, and according to the document, "the CIA lifted Ms Wilson's cover" and then "rolled back her cover" effective to the date of the leak.

The CIA determined, "that the public interest in allowing the criminal prosecution to proceed outweighed the damage to national security that might reasonably be expected from the official disclosure of Ms. Wilson's employment and cover status."

The CIA has not divulged any other details of the nature of Plame's cover or the methods employed by the CIA to protect her cover nor the details of her classified intelligence activities. Plame resigned from the CIA in December 2005.

Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson have filed a lawsuit against four current or former top Bush administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career at the CIA.


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Even the MSM is calling out the Libby lobby as the looney liars.


(repost from the last thread)

capt said...

The Republican Plan For 2008 Begins Today


The Senate Intelligence committee released, just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend, the "Part Two" of their report that Republican Senator Pat Roberts had kept from release until after the elections, showing clearly that Bush lied about the intelligence he had in 2002, both to Congress, to the American people, and to the world. Bush lied and people died - and continue to die. But politically - at least so far - it has worked out well for Bush.

It was a lie of political expediency, with the war resolution carefully timed just before the 2002 elections to help the Republicans take back the Senate.

It was echoed and amplified and repeated over and over again to help him and other Republicans get elected in 2004.

It wasn’t just a war for oil - cheap oil was just a useful secondary benefit.

It wasn’t just a war against terrorism - that was just a convenient excuse.

It wasn’t just a war to enrich Bush’s and Cheney’s cronies - those were just pleasant by-products.

It wasn’t just a war to show Poppy Bush that Junior was more of a man than him - that was just a personal bonus for Dubya.

It was, pure and simple, well planned years in advance, a war to solidify Bush and the Republican Party’s political capital.

It was a war for political power. That had to be first. Everything else - oil, profits, ongoing PATRIOT Act powers, easy manipulation of the media - all could only come if political power was seized and held through at least two decisive election cycles.

The Bush administration lied us into an invasion to get and keep political power. It’s that simple. It’s the same reason Richard Nixon authorized Watergate and then lied about the cover-up. The same reason Nixon lied about his "secret plan" to get out of Vietnam.

And now Democrats think they’ll be able to claim the high ground, but they just lost it all. Even as Harry Reid declared on the day Bush accepted his new Iraq funding that, "Democrats will continue to insist that this administration accept responsibility for its failed conduct of this war…" the Republican media machine was shoving that responsibility down the throats of the Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Bush plan is imminently clear to the Republicans in Congress. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, about the same time Reid was speaking, was telling reporters that "the handwriting is on the wall that we are going in a different direction in the fall, and I expect the president to lead it." Republican Senator Jeff Sessions openly said that same day that the "war" in Iraq is no longer a "war," but an occupation, setting the stage for a withdrawal that won’t be perceived as a defeat.

The plan is simple. By November of 2008, the "victories" of the Democrats’ first hundred days in office will be long forgotten, the "war" will be remembered as "difficult, but at least we won it," and those "anti-war" Democrats will be portrayed as wimps or cravenly anti-American.

The only question now is how placidly the Democrats will continue to play their assigned role in this little drama. And how many more people will die between now and the time Republicans cynically (and finally) execute their strategy in time for the 2008 elections.


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Thom Hartmann rocks.


Mookie said...

"I am floored (shocked, appalled and nearly speechless), who would have ever thought the D majority would prove as feckless and impotent."

I know many people that were bright-eyed and hopeful that things would change when they voted for "the other guy". When the politicians for whom we vote feed from the same trough, how can we expect any of them, R or D, to be anything but swine (no offense to pigs)?

capt said...

Whatever Happened to Signing Statements?

Perhaps the best indication of the toothlessness and complicity of the new Democratic Congress is that President Bush, who between September 2001 and December 2006 used so-called "signing statements" and a bogus claim of extra-constitutional executive authority as commander in chief in time of war to invalidate 1200 laws or parts of laws passed by Congress, hasn't issued a single one since January.

As for vetoes, there was just one, for the first Iraq War supplemental funding bill--the one that actually contained a deadline of sorts for ending the conflict.

The truth is, this Congress, elected by a public that made it clear it was sick and tired of the Iraq War, has really done little or nothing to challenge the president--not on global warming, not on the Iraq War, and not on his unilateral gutting of traditional and Constitutionally protected civil liberties.

The truth is, there has been little for this president to object to coming out of this supposedly oppositional Congress.


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The only conclusion I come to is that the Democratic Party is hoping to find an opposition party to join.


capt said...

The Missing Terrorist

The Bush administration once proudly trumpeted its capture of terrorist leader Ibn al-Shakyh al-Libi—a key source for the assertion that Iraq helped train Al Qaeda in biochem weapons. His story has since been discredited. Where is he now?

A group of House members is pressing the White House to provide answers for the first time to one of the biggest mysteries of the debate over pre-Iraq War intelligence: what really happened to captured terrorist leader Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi—once considered one of the U.S. military’s most prized catches in the war on terror?

Al-Libi, who ran one of Al Qaeda’s biggest training camps, was the principle source for former secretary of State Colin Powell’s claim to the U.N. Security Council that Saddam Hussein’s regime had helped train Al Qaeda in chemical and biological weapons. But as first reported by NEWSWEEK three years ago, al-Libi later recanted his story about Iraqi weapons training, forcing the CIA to withdraw all its reporting based on his assertions.

A newly updated edition of the book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War"—co-written by the author of this article and David Corn and published this week in paperback—quotes from declassified CIA operational cables that suggest that al-Libi had been brutally tortured by the Egyptian intelligence service and coerced into making his claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction training for Al Qaeda.


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I hear Al-libi is waterboarding at an undisclosed location.


capt said...

Thank You, Cindy Sheehan

Join TrueMajority members in sending Cindy Sheehan a Thank You Card for her pivotal role in trying to end the war in Iraq.

Cindy has resigned as the face of the peace movement, but we want to let her know that we'll work even harder to bring this war to and end and bring our troops home.

Dear Cindy,

We are deeply saddened by your announcement to retire from the peace movement, but understand and respect your decision. You have been an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people and have our deepest and most sincere gratitude.

We, as TrueMajority members, have supported you and your hard work from the very beginning -- attending marches and rallies, donating time and money and calling on our government time and time again to end this deadly war and bring our troops home.

We promise to work even harder to end this war and bring our men and women home safely. We thank you for your years of hard work and sacrifice and wish you and your family the very best.

In Peace,



capt said...

PHOTOS: The $592 Million U.S. Embassy In Iraq

Construction of the U.S. embassy in Iraq, set to open in September, is projected to cost $592 million, with a staff of 1,000 people and operating costs totaling $1.2 billion a year. It will be a 104-acre complex, which is the size of approximately 80 football fields. On May 10, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) criticized the ballooning size and cost of the embassy in a hearing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

Now, having said over and over again that we don’t want to be seen as an occupying force in Iraq, we’re building the largest embassy that we have — probably the largest in the world — in Baghdad. And it just seems to grow and grow and grow. … We agree that we should focus our aid locally not in Baghdad, but we have 1,000 Americans at the embassy in Baghdad. You add the contractors and the local staff it comes to 4,000.

The architectural firm designing the embassy, Berger Define Yaeger, has posted the designs for the colossus on its website. Some previews of the compound’s planned swimming pool and tennis courts:


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Here is my idea:

Bush wants a $500 million dollar (p)residential library. We should sell him the embassy in Iraq. Iraq will be his legacy - so be it.


capt said...

Big US Pension Fund Joins Critics Of ExxonMobil Climate Stance

The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the biggest US public pension fund, said Tuesday it had joined other ExxonMobil shareholders who want the oil giant to change its climate policies. CalPERS announced its support for other disgruntled investors who will seek to reform ExxonMobil's position on global warming at the oil giant's annual shareholders meeting Wednesday.

The dissident investors, who also include the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the New York City Employees Retirement System, control more than 100 million shares of ExxonMobil stock.

They plan to seek the removal of Michael Boskin, the head of ExxonMobil's Public Issues Committee, from the board of directors of the world's largest oil company at Wednesday's meeting in Dallas, Texas.

The activist shareholders say Boskin, who is supported by the board for re-election, is being targeted because he has the power to change ExxonMobil's stance on climate change.

They also claim that ExxonMobil opposes a national climate policy and funds groups that question the scientific consensus on climate change.

Most scientists say greenhouse gases contribute to global warming.

The company says it is moving to improve its energy efficiency while also seeking to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions.

CalPERS said it was joining the other shareholders in part because of Boskin's "refusals to meet with investors on the company's climate strategy" despite his written statements to the investors' group.

"We have a fundamental problem when directors refuse to meet with people they're elected to represent, especially one who has a leading role on the company's board," said Russell Read, CalPERS chief investment officer.

An ExxonMobil spokesperson, Gantt Walton, said: "Doctor Boskin has been very engaged with this group and has responded to all the group's concerns."

Although Boskin has not met with the investors, senior ExxonMobil executives have met with at least one of the dissident shareholders.

The shareholders say they will also urge ExxonMobil to set specific benchmarks for reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions and encourage the company to boost its spending on renewable energy technologies at the annual investor gathering.

Among other groups seeking a reform of ExxonMobil's climate position are the Illinois State Board of Investment and the Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina and Vermont state treasurers.

CalPERS has 245 billion dollars' worth of assets and manages pension and health benefits for 1.5 million California public employees, retirees and their families.


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capt said...

How About Them Apples Vicky Toensing?

Download libby_governments_sentencing_memo.pdf

Victoria Toensing, Cliff May, Byron York and the other rightwing apologists who have long insisted that Valerie Plame Wilson was not undercover have some "splaining" to do. Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's latest filing in the Scooter Libby case leaves no doubt about Valerie Wilson's status--she was covert and undercover and served overseas. Thanks to a heads up from McClatchy's Jonathan Landay, followed in short order by a note from John Amato at Crooks and Liars, I got my hands on the Fitzgerald filing. [Update: David Corn posted the first piece on this Friday night. He needs to do more self-promotion.] Man, the rightwing stooges are getting their collective asses handed to them on all fronts (e.g., a bird shits on Bush, Wolfowitz gets bounced from the World Bank, and rightwing bloggers, Flopping Aces and Charles Johnson in particular, were exposed making fraudulent claims). As Jackie Gleason used to say, "how sweet it is!"
Download fitz_filing_declaring_val_was_undercover.pdf


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[Update: David Corn posted the first piece on this Friday night. He needs to do more self-promotion.]

DC has had it first AND right many times lately and the others just seem to not notice. It is good to see someone notice and Larry is correct - DC DOES need to do more promoting. I bet if his comments section was working he would get more notice as more traffic would spread more of his words.


uncledad said...

Howdy Capt!


Gerald said...

This is truly a great informative article.

Protecting the Earth

Gerald said...

Dr. Shiva spent many years studying and opposing free trade agreeemnts. “Free trade is meant only for a handful of businesses,” she said. “It does not promote freedom for people with small shops. Wal-mart requires the disappearance of all small shops. This so-called free trade will lead to the total control of society, nature, economics and politics, a new economic totalitarianism. Today we no longer have a state, but a corporate state. All decisions regarding agriculture around the world are now run by the [World Trade Organization]. Globalization has reduced all agriculture to three crops -- soy, corn, and potato, which creates disease. A billion people go hungry. Another billion get sick from these wrong foods. This crazy system leads to poverty. Gandhi urged us to work with the earth to produce for ourselves what we need and to non-cooperate with such injustices.”

Gerald said...

Praying Each Day: May 30

Gerald said...


Gerald said...

If ivory bill is busy and there is someone who knows the "Eightfold Path of Salvation" for Buddhism, please share the information with us. Thank you!

capt said...


Try this:


I do not claim to know anything about it but I found the above for you.


capt said...

And a belated - Howdy! to Uncledad.

I actually slept a bit last night and missed your post.


capt said...

New Thread