Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Editor's note: I am posting at the the secondary blog until further notice

The secondary blog.

Older articles at primary blog.

Hillary: Vote for Me, I was Duped

May 6, 2007

Late last week, Senator Hillary Clinton offered a bill that would effectively revoke the 2002 congressional authorization that allowed the Bush Administration to wage war in Iraq, and require the president to convince Congress to re-approve the war this October. It’s the latest step taken by Clinton to establish herself as the Democratic Party’s anti-war candidate. If she’d only known in 2002 what she knows now, she has repeatedly said, she would never have supported the earlier resolution.

At its essence, Clinton is saying that the Bush Administration tricked her into voting for the war resolution. “I Was Duped” is hardly an inspiring slogan, and in Hillary’s case it’s a thoroughly disingenuous one as well. She wasn’t duped. She was playing the polls, and at the time she concluded that a vote for war was the smart bet.

Take a look at Clinton’s October 10, 2002, floor speech in which she authorized the use of force against Iraq. She didn’t just side with the Bush Administration, she more or less endorsed its entire case for war:

Intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program . . .

If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.

While acknowledging that there was no evidence to tie Saddam to the September 11 attacks, she said he had “given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members,” and went on to say:

This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make–any vote that may lead to war should be hard–but I cast it with conviction. Over eleven years have passed since the U.N. called on Saddam Hussein to rid himself of weapons of mass destruction as a condition of returning to the world community. Time and time again he has frustrated and denied these conditions. This matter cannot be left hanging forever with consequences we would all live to regret . . . A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein–this is your last chance–disarm or be disarmed.

“I Was Duped” is hardly an inspiring slogan and in Hillary’s case it’s a thoroughly disingenuous one as well.

Dick Cheney could hardly have put it better. Now compare Clinton’s remarks with those made by other prominent Democrats during the runup to war. Even if they believed that Saddam had WMDs, many of Clinton’s Democratic colleagues opposed the war and challenged the administration’s case for an invasion. Take Al Gore during a September 23, 2002 speech in San Francisco:

The resulting chaos in the aftermath of a military victory in Iraq could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam. Here’s why I say that; we know that he has stored away secret supplies of biological weapons and chemical weapons throughout his country. As yet, we have no evidence, however, that he has shared any of those weapons with terrorist groups. If the administration has evidence that he has, please present it, because that would change the way we all look at this thing.

Senator Edward Kennedy’s speech in Washington on September 27 rejected just about every argument tossed out by President Bush.

Information from the intelligence community over the past six months does not point to Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States or a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction. I have heard no persuasive evidence that Saddam is on the threshold of acquiring the nuclear weapons he has sought for more than 20 years. And the administration has offered no persuasive evidence that Saddam would transfer chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction to Al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization. As General Joseph Hoar, the former Commander of Central Command told the members of the Armed Services Committee, a case has not been made to connect Al Qaeda and Iraq . . . To the contrary, there is no clear and convincing pattern of Iraqi relations with either Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

When Hillary cast her “yes” vote “with conviction” a few weeks later, Kennedy and 22 other Democratic senators (and a majority of Democrats in the House) rejected the use-of-force resolution. “The question,” Senator Patrick Leahy said during the debate on the vote, “is not whether Saddam Hussein should be disarmed; it is how imminent is this threat and how should we deal with it?” Leahy continued:

The resolution now before the Senate leaves the door open to act alone, even absent an imminent threat. It surrenders to the President authority which the Constitution explicitly reserves for the Congress . . . Many respected and knowledgeable people–former senior military officers and diplomats among them–have expressed strong reservations about this resolution. They agree that if there is credible evidence that Saddam Hussein is planning to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States or one of our allies, the American people and the Congress would overwhelmingly support the use of American military power to stop him. But they have not seen that evidence, and neither have I. We have heard a lot of bellicose rhetoric, but what are the facts? I am not asking for 100 percent proof, but the administration is asking Congress to make a decision to go to war based on conflicting statements, angry assertions, and assumption based on speculation. This is not the way a great nation goes to war.

Then there was Robert Byrd, who unsuccessfully tried to mount a filibuster against the resolution, which he described as “the Tonkin Gulf resolution all over again”:

The resolution before us today is not only a product of haste; it is also a product of presidential hubris. This resolution is breathtaking in its scope. It redefines the nature of defense, and reinterprets the Constitution to suit the will of the Executive Branch. It would give the President blanket authority to launch a unilateral preemptive attack on a sovereign nation that is perceived to be a threat to the United States.

Byrd rejected the administration’s arguments about Saddam posing an imminent WMD threat and noted that no one “has been able to produce any solid evidence linking Iraq to the September 11 attack.” He also said that any overthrow of the Iraqi regime “would require a long term occupation,” and that this “kind of nation-building cannot be accomplished with the wave of a wand by some fairy godmother, even one with the full might and power of the world’s last remaining superpower behind her.”

So here are some questions for Hillary:

  • Other Democrats knew. Why didn’t you?
  • Why did you trust President Bush more than you trusted top figures in your own party?
  • Did you, in fact, vote for the war resolution on the basis of polling numbers and political calculations about an expected future run for the presidency?
  • And finally, if you won’t vote your conscience on questions of war and peace, when will you?

The answer to that last question is “never.” A recent Washington Post story on Mark Penn, Clinton’s pollster, described him as taking “taking increasing control” of her presidential campaign. “Armed with voluminous data that he collects through his private polling firm, Penn has become involved in virtually every move Clinton makes, with the result that the campaign reflects the chief strategist as much as the candidate,” the Post said. “If Clinton seems cautious, it may be because Penn has made caution a science, repeatedly testing issues to determine which ones are safe and widely agreed upon.

Ken Silverstein

AIPAC on Trial: The lobby argues that good Americans spy for Israel

May 7, 2007 Issue
Copyright © 2007 The American Conservative

by Justin Raimondo

Is there a First Amendment right to engage in espionage? Dorothy Rabinowitz seems to think so. Describing the actions of Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, two former top officials of AIPAC, the premier Israel lobbying group, who passed purloined intelligence to Israeli government officials, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist characterized them as “activities that go on every day in Washington, and that are clearly protected under the First Amendment.” If what Rabinowitz says is true—if passing classified information to foreign officials is routine in the nation’s capital—then we are all in big trouble.

On Aug. 4, 2005, Rosen, Weissman, and Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with violating provisions of the Espionage Act that forbid divulging national defense information to persons not authorized to receive it. The indictment traces the treasonous trio’s circuitous path as they met in the shadows—in empty restaurants, at Union Station in Washington, on street corners. Rosen and Weissman sought out and cultivated Franklin, milking him for information that they dutifully transmitted to their Israeli handlers. According to Rabinowitz, however, they were merely “doing what they had every reason to view as their jobs”—which is true, assuming they understood their jobs to be spying for Israel.

The trial is scheduled to begin June 7. As the day of reckoning approaches, the Israel lobby is ratcheting up the rhetoric. So, too, is the defense: in a duet of hysterical accusations and frenzied rationalizations, the accused spies’ defenders have described the proceedings as a frame-up, the result of an intra-bureaucratic struggle within the government, and a plot by anti-Semites in Bush’s Justice Department to carry out a Washington pogrom. None of these flights of imagination are any more convincing than the Dream Team’s defense of O.J. Simpson. Yet the noise level continues to rise, as if sheer volume, instead of logical arguments, could overwhelm the copious evidence of the defendants’ guilt.

The indictment lists numerous acts of espionage, dating back to 1999, in which Rosen and/or Weissman acted as conduits for classified information flowing from Washington to Tel Aviv. The feds had been watching for a long time: the indictment makes clear that Rosen and Weissman didn’t make a move without the FBI’s counterintelligence unit knowing about it. This surveillance is how they happened on Larry Franklin, the Pentagon’s top Iran analyst, who walked in on a luncheon meeting in Arlington, Virginia, attended by Rosen, Weissman, and Naor Gilon, chief of the political-affairs section at the Israeli Embassy. The feds were listening in as Franklin—referring to a document dated June 25 and marked “top secret”—announced he had secrets to tell.

Tell not sell: unlike the majority of post-Cold War spies, the AIPAC-Franklin espionage ring wasn’t centered around financial gain but ideology. Franklin is a dedicated neoconservative, a minor yet key player in the neocon network, who served in the military attache’s office in the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv in the late 1990s and was a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst with expertise in Iranian affairs working in Douglas Feith’s policy shop.

The counter-intelligence unit was hot on Franklin’s trail, and they watched his every move—his wholesale transfer of top-secret information on Iran, al-Qaeda, and other intelligence of interest to Israel to Rosen and Weissman, who funneled it to their contacts in the Israeli Embassy. The FBI gave Franklin enough rope to hang himself, and then moved in, showing up at his door and confronting him with his treachery. A search of his home and office turned up a veritable lending library of classified documents dating back years, all of which had doubtless been made available to the Israelis. Faced with the probability of a long prison stretch, Franklin agreed to wear a wire to his subsequent meetings with Rosen and Weissman. In the months that followed, the FBI built its case, recording conversations and following the AIPAC duo.

And they did a good job, apparently, because the government is making an unusual request: that some testimony and evidence be shielded from the public due to its highly sensitive nature. This wasn’t just a case of pilfering a few innocuous memoranda. It looks like team AIPAC made off with the family jewels and maybe even the deed to the house. Why else would the Justice Department risk having a conviction thrown out on appeal on account of such a rarely invoked legal mechanism?

The defense has protested proposed security procedures—magnetometers at the courtroom door, security sweeps of the courtroom itself, an officer of the court monitoring electronic surveillance while the trial is in session—on the grounds they would prejudice the jury against the defendants. They compare this to dragging Rosen and Weissman before the jury in prisoners’ uniforms and shackles. Yet these security measures point to the seriousness of the matter before the court, the depth to which the Rosen-Weissman-Franklin spy ring penetrated the government, and the ongoing breach they have opened in America’s national-security firewall.

While most of the more cautious elements in the Jewish community are staying well away from this case, the radicals, such as Rabbi Avi Weiss and his AMCHA-Coalition for Jewish Concerns, who have previously devoted their efforts to freeing Jonathan Pollard, have now turned their attention to Rosen and Weissman. Steven Lieberman and Anne Sterba, lawyers for the group, wrote in an amicus brief: “Trying these two men for disclosing critical ‘national defense information’ to foreign officials, without letting the public know what the alleged information was, will allow enemies of the Jewish people to exaggerate the significance of that evidence and will leave the press and the public to subsist only on rumors and speculation.”

The Weiss group likens the prosecution of Rosen and Weissman to the Dreyfus case—in effect positing the existence of a vast anti-Semitic conspiracy at the highest levels of the Justice Department. Not exactly a credible contention, offered, as it is, without evidence, but the defenders of Rosen and Weissman are getting more frantic as the trial date approaches. As a writer for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz put it, “Does this trial really carry any resemblance to the Dreyfus trial? It’s a different era, a different country, a different system, a different accusation. Making this comparison demands some imagination, much ambition, and maybe a speck of chutzpah too.”

A recently unsealed defense memorandum details a Feb. 16, 2005 colloquy between Rosen’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, and Nathan Lewin, AIPAC’s legal counsel, in which the latter reveals that Paul McNulty—then the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia and chief prosecutor in the case—“would like to end it with minimal damage to AIPAC.” Lewin told Lowell, “He is fighting with the FBI to limit the investigation to Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman and to avoid expanding it.” This is hardly the behavior one would expect of contemporary anti-Dreyfusards in the Justice Department plotting to scapegoat AIPAC and the Jews.

Clearly the Rosen-Weissman defense team is involved in a bit of “greymail,” that is, forcing the government to disclose as much classified information as possible during the discovery phase of this case and hoping to derail the prosecution entirely as it weighs the effects of disclosure against the benefits of a possible conviction. As we go to press, Judge T.S. Ellis has ruled against the prosecution's proposal to shield sensitive testimony and evidence behind a veil of pseudonyms and euphemism, which could delay the begining of the trial.

Efforts to embarrass the administration go beyond accusing DOJ and extend to prominent figures such as Condoleezza Rice, who is accused by Abbe Lowell of leaking national defense information to AIPAC as Franklin did. Gen. Anthony Zinni is being targeted in a similar manner. Both have been subpoenaed, along with David Satterfield, deputy chief of the U.S. mission to Iraq, and William Burns, U.S. ambassador to Russia, to testify. If Rosen and Weissman are going down, the Israel lobby seems to be saying, then so are a lot of prominent people—some of whom, like Zinni, just happen to be their enemies.

This isn’t greymail, it’s blackmail. It was Zinni, after all, who said of the Israel lobby and the neoconservatives: “I think it’s the worst-kept secret in Washington. Everybody—everybody I talk to in Washington—has known and fully knows what their agenda was [during the run up to the Iraq War] and what they were trying to do.”

The intrigue thickened last October as word leaked that a proposed deal was dangled in front of Rep. Jane Harman: AIPAC would back her to become head of the House Intelligence Committee if she would urge the government to treat Rosen, Weissman—and AIPAC itself—with kid gloves. The Forward reported, “Several congressional sources confirmed that major donors to the Democratic Party have been lobbying Pelosi on behalf of Harman’s nomination to head the intelligence committee and that these attempts were not welcomed by the House Democratic leader.” Time named Haim Saban, the billionaire Hollywood producer and major AIPAC moneybags, as one of the supplicants. Pelosi didn’t fall for it, and Harman was rebuffed. Perhaps this was in the background when the speaker was booed as she addressed the subsequent AIPAC national conference, although Pelosi got back in the Israel lobby’s good graces after she stripped a provision from the military appropriations bill that would have required the president to go to Congress for permission to attack Iran.

The defense has fought to get the case against Rosen and Weissman thrown out on any number of grounds: the Espionage Act is unconstitutional, it doesn’t apply to their clients but only to government officials, and, last but not least, it’s a violation of the Israel lobby’s First Amendment “right” to betray classified information to its masters in Tel Aviv. Twisting and turning, threatening and spitting, delaying as best it can, the defense has tried to wriggle out of it every which way, to no avail. The trial is going forward, and the public spectacle of the biggest espionage scandal involving Israel since the prosecution of Pollard could deliver a body blow to the Israel lobby at a time when it has come in for public scrutiny and criticism as never before.

But that hasn’t prevented the lobby from brazenly defending the accused spies, in spite of the preponderance of evidence, and even hailing them as patriots. Writing in The Forward, Michael Berenbaum avers, “Instead of being grounds for prosecution, perhaps the influence Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman were trying to exert—making officials and the public aware of the danger from Iran—should be heralded.” And why should we hail espionage as laudable in this instance? Well, you see, because the AIPAC defendants were ahead of their time in citing the danger from Iran: “In Washington, as Rosen and Weissman are learning the hard way, the ‘crime’ is often not being wrong, but rather being right too early or at the wrong time, or being out of sync with the conventional wisdom, or pushing an inconvenient truth.”

In light of Judge Ellis’s recent ruling that in this trial the Espionage Act is going to be interpreted narrowly and that the burden is on the prosecution to show that the defendants knowingly harmed U.S. national security interests, the defense might be expected to make a pitch similar to Berenbaum’s—that, instead of prosecuting Rosen and Weissman, we ought to be pinning medals on their chests.

The AIPAC defendants weren’t spies, they were merely ahead of the curve, anticipating the day when a distinction is no longer being made between American and Israeli interests. That is the line we are hearing, as the curtain goes up on the trial of Rosen and Weissman. Whether the jury or the public falls for it remains to be seen.

Justin Raimondo is editorial director of Antiwar.com.

May 7, 2007 Issue

May 14, 2007: Celebrate the release of Overcoming Zionism and We Begin Here

Salam Alrawi, Alwan for the Arts, Ramsey Clark, Sara Flaunders, Abdeen Jabara, DeeDee Halleck, Ahmed Issawi, Mona Khalidi, Clark Kissinger, Emily Kunstler, Dan Meyers, Ralph Poynter, Michael Ratner, Margaret Ratner Kunstler, Michael Steven Smith, and Lynne Stewart invite you to attend a book party to celebrate the release of:

Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine,
by Joel Kovel


We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon,
Edited by Kamal Boullata and Kathy Engel

Monday, May 14, 2007, 5:30PM
211 East 4th Street

Joel Kovel, Kathy Engel and others will read from their works.

Both books will be available for purchase

Refreshments will be provided by MAMLOUK

In Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, Kovel confronts the unfortunate confusion between Jews, Judaism, Zionism, and the State of Israel as the basis for systematic manipulation by the imperialist power system. He argues that the inner contradictions of Zionism have led Israel to a “state-sponsored racism” fully as incorrigible as that of apartheid South Africa and deserving the same resolution. Only a path toward a single-state secular democracy can provide the justice essential to healing the wounds of the Middle East.

Joel Kovel is a well-known writer on the Middle East conflict. He has written ten books which include The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World, White Racism a Psychohistory; Red Hunting in the Promised Land: Anti-communism and the Making of America. He is a professor of social science at Bard College and edits Capitalism, Nature and Socialism. He was a candidate for the Green nomination for US President in 2000.

We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon, contains poems written in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon together with poems offered in support of the Palestinian and Lebanese people following the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, and others written about the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq. Following a great tradition of poetry throughout history, this book shows the vast conscience and lyrical spirit of resistance on the part of poets in support of the dignity, rights, and humanity of the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

Kathy Engel is a poet, creative and communications consultant for peace, social justice and human rights groups, and currently an adjunct professor at NYU. Her emphasis is connecting the imagination and art to work for social justice and peace. Her books include Banish The Tentative, 1989 and Ruth's Skirts, 2007. She is co editor of We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon, 2007. She has founded and co founded organizations including MADRE, Riptide Communications, East End Women in Black, Hayground School. She serves on the Advisory Board of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

A Bloody Lie of George Tenet

by Larry C Johnson

How many lies is George Tenet allowed to tell on TV before he immolates the last shred of credibility? Judging by his latest sad performance on Meet the Press I would say his time is up. Tenet insisted to Tim Russert today that he was crystal clear in debunking the assumption that Al Qaeda and Iraq were in cahoots:

Well, Tim, Tim, I will tell you that I had many conversations, particularly on Iraq and al-Qaeda, particularly on the terrorism question, where we drew the line as sharply as we knew how. We were very, very clear about our judgments. We worked very, very hard to make sure that people comported and stayed within the bounds of what the intelligence showed.

But George Tenet can’t keep his stories straight. For example, as has been widely reported, he starts his book off with an inaccurate account of a conversation with neocon and Iraq war advocate Richard Perle. It is the day after 9-11, Perle is stuck in France, yet Tenet writes that he saw Perle exiting the White House and talking about attacking Iraq. Leave it to George Tenet to make Richard Perle sound sane.

George Tenet wants gullible book buyers to believe that he always disputed the notion that Saddam and the 9-11 attackers were working in concert. But the words and actions of George Tenet tell a radically different story. A damning one at that.

In March of 2002 George Tenet said:

"There is no doubt that there have been contacts and linkages of al-Qaeda organization. As to where we are in September 11, the jury is out. . . . . Their ties may be limited by divergent ideologies, but the two sides' mutual antipathy toward the United States and the Saudi royal family suggest that tactical cooperation between them is possible."

Why did George Tenet leave open the window of doubt on this critical issue when he now insists that there was no there there? But wait, there is more.

CIA Deputy Director, John McLaughlin, sent a letter responding to a query from Senator Evan Bayh on October 7, 2002 that said:

"Regarding Senator Bayh's questions of Iraqi links to al-Qaeda, senators could draw from the following points for unclassified discussions. One, We have solid reporting of senior level contact between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade." Two, "Credible information indicates that Iraq and al-Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal" aggression." Three, "Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad." And lastly, "We have credible reporting that al-Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs."

Did anyone hear George Tenet at the time remind anybody that there was no “operational tie” between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda? He chose to say nothing. Did he challenge those--like Dick Cheney--who suggested there was a substantive ongoing relationship? Nope. George Tenet said nothing to dispel that false conclusion.

That same day (October 7, 2002) President Bush gave a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio (this is the famous speech in which Tenet excised the reference to Niger, Iraq, and uranium) and said the following:

And that is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam Hussein's links to international terrorist groups. Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than 90 terrorist attacks in 20 countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans. . . . We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

George Tenet's CIA approved this language and Tenet was familiar with the speech because he had called the White House to protest another portion of the speech. This provides circumstantial evidence for Richard Dearlove's (George Tenet's British counterpart) now famous memo (the Downing Street Memo) that the facts and the intelligence were being fixed around the policy of going to war with Iraq. In my day we called it cooking the books and George Tenet was one of the chefs.

Tenet’s participation in the hoodwinking of the American public continued when, on February 4, 2003 , he sat stoically behind Colin Powell at the UN Security Council and, by virtue of his presence, provided the CIA ’s imprimatur for the following claim:

Al Qaeda continues to have a deep interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. As with the story of Zarqawi and his network, I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to al Qaeda. Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story.
I will relate it to you now as he, himself, described it. This senior al Qaeda terrorist was responsible for one of al Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan . His information comes firsthand from his personal involvement at senior levels of al Qaeda. He says bin Laden and his top deputy in Afghanistan , deceased al Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef, did not believe that al Qaeda labs in Afghanistan were capable enough to manufacture these chemical or biological agents. They needed to go somewhere else. They had to look outside of Afghanistan for help. Where did they go? Where did they look? They went to Iraq .
The support that (al Libi) describes included Iraq offering chemical or biological weapons training for two al Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000. He says that a militant known as Abu Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) had been sent to Iraq several times between 1997and 2000 for help in acquiring poisons and gases. Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful.

This intelligence came from Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda commander who was tortured by the Egyptians. Even though George Tenet was briefed in January 2003 that his analysts doubted al-Libi’s account (see Hubris pp. 187-88) he signed off on Powell’s briefing.

But he did more. On February 11, 2003 Tenet he went before Congress and said:

Iraq is harboring senior members of a terrorist network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a close associate of al Qaeda. ... Iraq has in the past provided training in document forgery and bomb-making to al Qaeda. It has also provided training in poisons and gases to two al Qaeda associates. One of these associates characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful. ... I know that part of this - and part of this Zarqawi network in Baghdad are two dozen Egyptian Islamic jihad which is indistinguishable from al Qaeda - operatives who are aiding the Zarqawi network, and two senior planners who have been in Baghdad since last May.
Now, whether there is a base or whether there is not a base, they are operating freely, supporting the Zarqawi network that is supporting the poisons network in Europe and around the world. So these people have been operating there. And, as you know - I don't want to recount everything that Secretary Powell said, but as you know a foreign service went to the Iraqis twice to talk to them about Zarqawi and were rebuffed. So there is a presence in Baghdad that is beyond Zarqawi.

The public record is quite clear about the role George Tenet played in helping condition the American people to fear Iraq and support a preemptive war against Iraq. He helped build the myth that Al Qaeda enjoyed safehaven in Iraq and was biding its time to strike us again. George Tenet was not an honest broker trying to get the best intelligence to the President and the Congress. He willingly and knowingly agreed to make public statements and authorized statements that were at odds with the actual intelligence.

What do you think would have happened if George Tenet had gone to members of Congress and warned them that there was no relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam’s Iraq? Would overwhelming majorities have voted to give the President authority to start a war with Iraq? I do not think so. Would Americans still raw from the wounds inflicted by Al Qaeda on 9-11 support the President’s campaign to attack a country which had nothing to do with those attacks and, despite claims to the contrary, was not protecting or enabling Al Qaeda operatives who wanted to launch new attacks against the United States? The answer. No, and hell no!

Lie is the only word that comes to mind and seems appropriate to describe what George Tenet has done. This is the chief reason I say he has the blood of American soldiers on his hands. And I, along with several former members of the CIA , the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Army, believe that George Tenet owes the soldiers and the families of soldiers who have died or been wounded in Iraq part of the proceeds from his $4 million dollar advance for his book. It would be the decent thing to do, but George Tenet’s decency quotient appears to be running on empty.