||[Jul. 29th, 2005|12:17 pm]
So, I had reason to revisit the Republican talking points on Rove and Wilson. Much is made of the Senate's intelligence report, which found that Wilson's trip to Niger lent credibility to the initial CIA reports.|
It's a *very* interesting thing... it should raise a question in people's minds, especially the minds of folks who are good and loyal Republicans, who think their current leadership is doing a bang-up job.
What *were* those initial CIA reports?
I mean, if those initial CIA reports had been "Iraq is buying and transporting uranium", that'd be a big deal, but it'd be an even bigger deal if it was "Iraq is unable to procure any uranium."
The Senate report says that the initial reports were that a foreign intelligence service was providing an uncorroborated report of possible uranium purchases. There was a belief that Iraq was seeking a supplier of uranium. However, throughout the entire issue, there was never a strong piece of evidence suggesting that an attempted sale had made place. Possibilities, shadows, gossip, but nothing solid. Plus, Iraq had some 550 tons of uranium that was locked up and monitored by the IAEA... but they only visited once a year. "Possible purchases of uranium" was only a small part of the thoughts that Iraq might reconstitute its nuclear program.
So, what could Wilson's report have lent credence to? That the Iraqis were asking about uranium, and looking for someone who might sell. (His report could not have lent credence to our having an uncorroborated report from a foreign intelligence agency, after all.)
So, the Republican strategists are suggesting people point out that Wilson's report corroborated something that doesn't actually say what they assume people will *think* it says.
I imagine some folks will insist (I've had one person suggest this) that I'm trying to say Bush lied in his State of the Union address.
No, I'm saying Bush was wrong. Bush was wrong to say something that he should have known was misleading. The man has an MBA from Harvard Business School. He's not stupid. He should have known that we didn't have corroboration, and just a few good guesses from frequently good sources. He should not have said that "British intelligence learned..." because if a person "learns" something, we assume they learned something factual. He should not have suggested we had credible evidence that Iraq was a nuclear risk because we didn't.
Was it a lie? Well, that an attempted sale was made was the official position of British Intelligence, as I understand it. So, no, he didn't *lie*. But why on earth would we make such a big decision based upon another country's intelligence assessment if we can't corroborate it ourselves? I mean, I trust Great Britain, but *anyone* can make a mistake, especially when it comes to intelligence work.
No. He didn't lie. He made statements that he should never have made, if his intention was to give accurate information to the Congress and the American people.
Of course, I'm not convinced he *did* want to give accurate information to the Congress or the American people... but that's my business, not anyone else's.