Skip to comments.Did Hillary lie America into war? (Tenet was Dems' Guy)
Posted on 11/16/2005 12:58:45 PM PST by DeweyCA
It was a powerful argument for war made by a politician with long years of experience in the White House.
"(I)ntelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability and his nuclear program," said this national leader.
"(I)f left unchecked," the politician argued, "Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capability 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."
"This much is undisputed," declared this Democrat, as she voted to authorize the war in Iraq.
The question now is: Why did Sen. Hillary Clinton get it so wrong?
Had she -- to use the formulation Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is now using to attack President Bush -- "manufactured and manipulated intelligence"? Did Hillary lie America into war?
No, she did not.
Sen. Clinton got her bad intelligence the same place President Bush got his: the CIA. Specifically, from George Tenet, the man President Clinton appointed director of central intelligence (DCI).
The entire chain of custody on the intelligence Sen. Clinton used in her Oct. 10, 2002, Senate floor speech ran through Democratic politicians back to a Democrat-appointed DCI.
In 2002, Democrats controlled the Senate, and Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida chaired the intelligence committee. On Sept. 9, 2002, Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, a member of the intelligence committee, wrote Clinton-appointed Tenet asking for a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's WMD programs.
NIEs, the intelligence committee later said in its unanimous bipartisan investigative report on Iraq intelligence, "are intended to provide policymakers in both the executive and legislative branches with the best, unvarnished and unbiased information."
An NIE, the committee quoted a CIA document as explaining, "is the director's estimate, and its findings are his."
DCI Tenet was no Bush crony or Republican hack. His career was largely propelled by Democrats. In the mid-1980s, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont made Tenet his intelligence committee aide. Former Intelligence Chairman David Boren, an Oklahoma Democrat, later made Tenet the committee's staff director. President Clinton named him to his National Security Council staff, then deputy DCI, then DCI.
Tenet delivered the NIE requested by Durbin at the beginning of October 2002. Its key judgments included that Iraq "is reconstituting its nuclear program," "had chemical and biological weapons" and was developing unmanned aerial vehicles "probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents," and that "all key aspects -- research and development (R&D), production and weaponization -- of Iraq's offensive biological weapons (BW) program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War."
Two months later, according to Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack," Tenet sat in the Oval Office and twice emphatically told President Bush it was a "slam dunk" Iraq had WMDs.
Did Tenet and his CIA lie to Congress about Iraq to help President Bush deceive Sen. Clinton and other Democrats into voting for war? Did he lie to Bush?
On March 31, the presidential Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, chaired by former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia and senior federal appellate court judge Laurence Silberman, published its report. It concluded the judgments about Iraq's WMD programs in the October 2002 NIE were "all wrong." However, it also concluded, after "querying in detail those analysts involved in formulating pre-war judgments about Iraq's WMD programs," that "(t)hese analysts universally assert that in no instance did political pressure cause them to change any of their analytical judgments."
The CIA ombudsman for politicization, the commission reported, "also found no evidence, based on numerous confidential interviews with the analysts involved, that political pressure had caused any analyst to change any judgments."
The intelligence committee's unanimous report likewise concluded: "The committee did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities."
Reasonable people could and did disagree on whether it was wise to invade Iraq. President Bush and Sen. Clinton, relying on the same intelligence, happened to agree.
But reasonable people can draw only one conclusion now on the argument advanced by some of Sen. Clinton's Democratic colleagues that President Bush lied America into war. It is simply preposterous.
Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor of Human Events.
Surely you jest!
Taking a trip down memory lane, see below for quotes from the liberal leftist demoncRATs and French:
Democrats (And Other Frenchmen) On Iraq's Weapons Of Mass Destruction
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998
"This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer- range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." -- From a December 6, 2001 letter signed by Bob Graham, Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford, & Tom Lantos among others
"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998
"Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." -- Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002
"What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002
"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that 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." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002
"I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out." -- Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003
"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998
"Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002
"I share the administration's goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction." -- Dick Gephardt in September of 2002
"Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, 2002
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." -- Bob Graham, December 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002
"I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." -- John F. Kerry, Oct 2002
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." -- Carl Levin, Sept 19, 2002
"Over the years, Iraq has worked to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. During 1991 - 1994, despite Iraq's denials, U.N. inspectors discovered and dismantled a large network of nuclear facilities that Iraq was using to develop nuclear weapons. Various reports indicate that Iraq is still actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability. There is no reason to think otherwise. Beyond nuclear weapons, Iraq has actively pursued biological and chemical weapons.U.N. inspectors have said that Iraq's claims about biological weapons is neither credible nor verifiable. In 1986, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, and later, against its own Kurdish population. While weapons inspections have been successful in the past, there have been no inspections since the end of 1998. There can be no doubt that Iraq has continued to pursue its goal of obtaining weapons of mass destruction." -- Patty Murray, October 9, 2002
"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998
"Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production." -- Ex-Un Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter in 1998
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002
"Saddams existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now. Saddam has used chemical weapons before, both against Iraqs enemies and against his own people. He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002
"Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administrations policy towards Iraq, I dont think there can be any question about Saddams conduct. He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts." -- Henry Waxman, Oct 10, 2002
Excellent contribution, lilylangtree! Thanks!
I've heard Tenet had very lucrative book deal that he has since backed-out of.
Thank you but I cannot take credit. The quotes were posted on FR by another freeper and I copied on January 28, 2004, to a file to use in the future just like this.
Time to invite Tenet to Capitol Hill for a Roast.
So, it was the threesome of Klintoon, Clark, and Tenet that bombed the Chinese Embassy, RIGHT? Great Intel then under Ol' Tenet...Great info from Ol' Wesley Clarks too I guess , and of course, Glorious Spermanator Klintoon...
Furthermore he said we hadn't done anything about anthrax because we weren't ready to, and wouldn't be ready for 18 months. I always wondered why that number.
Then I thank both you and the previous poster!