Skip to comments.Leaked Memos and the War on Terrorism
Posted on 11/28/2003 8:44:48 AM PST by jmstein7
Fox News broke the story regarding a memorandum that surfaced dealing with political strategy on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The memo provided a ''game plan'' for how Democrats should proceed in their most cherished goal: defeating George Bush in 2004. It was my understanding that this historically nonpartisan committee should be more concerned with winning the war on terror, but this event proves otherwise.
Instead of focusing on intelligence gathering capabilities and procedures, this reproachable memo suggests Democrats should ''verbally mention some of the intriguing leads we are pursuing.'' When did the dissemination of classified information become encouraged? The memo also calls for an independent commission to be established during the 2004 election year. Democrats were unapologetic and incensed about the memo being made public. Senator Jon Kyl responded, ''Democrats had the audacity to suggest the Senate investigate how these attack plans might have been obtained--the equivalent of offenders blaming the cops because they got caught. This effort at spin control is patently absurd in any event, since by Senator Rockefellers own admission, this strategy memo was not an official committee document and certainly contained no intelligence information.''
If certain Democrats want to launch an independent commission into intelligence gathering procedures that lead us to war, then lets begin with calling former members of the Clinton Administration to the stand. Although Clinton may have allowed the Iraq threat to ferment, he did seem to understand that Saddam Hussein was a grave danger. Much of the intelligence gathering of Iraqi threat assessment, which would later be used to justify war, took place during the Clinton years. How is it that so many former Clinton Administration officials have begun to suffer from amnesia? Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was in France recently to promote her new book. ''America is much stronger in a multilateral system, we must be on the same side, work with other people in the world. It shouldnt be America versus the others,'' Albright said, speaking in French. She added that France was ''a little bit right'' to oppose the U.S. led war in Iraq. However, Albright sung a different tune in 1994 when she was U.N. Ambassador. While speaking to the Security Council during a discussion on Iraq, Albright stated: ''We recognize this area as vital to U.S. national interests and we will behave, with others, multilaterally when we can and unilaterally when we must.'' Maybe she could only expand her book market with anti-American drivel.
Critics of the war in Iraq have failed to take note of David Kays interim report on his ongoing investigation into Saddams weapons of mass destruction. Kay states, ''We have found people, technical information, and illicit procurement networks that if allowed to flow to other countries and regions could accelerate global proliferation. Even in the area of actual weapons there is no doubt that Iraq had at one time chemical and biological weapons.'' Kay, later in an interview, said, ''What we have found is a substantial body of evidence that reports that the Iraqis had an intention to continue weapons production at some point in the future. We've also found undeclared activities in the chemical and biological and missile area that were never declared to the U.N. and not discovered during inspections.'' This October 2 report was given to the same members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who would later be caught passing notes in class. When the memo, ostensibly written by a Democratic staff member on the intelligence committee, surfaced a month after Kays report, it became obvious that regaining political power takes precedent over Americas war on terror.
Bad news for the antiwar crowd just seems to keep pouring in as yet another memorandum was obtained by The Weekly Standard in late October. Remember all the talk about Saddam and bin Laden oblivious about one another? Put that myth to rest. In his article, ''Case Closed,'' Stephen F. Hayes writes, ''Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorists attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaedaperhaps even for Mohamed Attaaccording to a top secret U.S. government memorandum.''
At some point, one would expect that most Democrats in leadership roles would back the war on terror given the vast amount of privy information at their hands. Most Democrat constituents favor a strong national defense and depend on their representatives to make scrupulous decisions. Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia) condemned members of his own party when news of the memo surfaced. Miller opined, ''Heads should roll.'' The radical, antiwar fringe will doom the Democratic Party unless it jettisons this group.
Our enemy has been mounting an enduring campaign against us but only after September 11 did many of us start to pay attention. Failure in Iraq is not an option because it would doom American foreign policy. Our enemy understands this and is determined to make the task difficult. The terrorist will make no distinction between Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, patriot and protestor. Unless youre selling books in France, it may be time to put partisan politics to rest. American soldiers are in harms way. Their lives are more important than leaked memos and election cycles.
What really happened is that Cheney and others found, jutifiably, that the intelligence provided by the CIA and others was unreliable and often wrong.
Cheney attempted to remedy this by gathering his own intelligence prior to the Iraq war. It appears he didn't do much better - probably because his strong belief that the war was necessary influenced his decisions as to what was or wasn't important and reliable.
The Senate committee will certainly find evidence of intelligence failures, and will probably make recommendations. But intelligence is, by its very nature, a chancy and difficult business in which personal judgement plays a central role.
Two very interesting stories from today's Washington Post which highlight the difficulties of obtaining reliable intelligence information.
Here's an excellent description of the evolution of Cheney's relationship to the intelligence community (Don't pay any attention to the authors' conclusions).
Also, I just poste two articles from the Washington Post which you may find interesting.