Tuesday, May 19, 2015

GOP Can't Be Trusted To Keep America Secure

Jeb Bush and other Republican presidential contenders have a new and bogus spin on how the Iraq War began. They say Jeb's brother, Pres. G.W. Bush was misled into war by faulty intelligence. That's Not What Happened!

But here's the truth Jeb and the Republicans are evading: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, & Co. were not misled by lousy intelligence; they intentionally cherry-picked lousy intelligence to mislead the public into war.

Throughout the run-up to the war, Bush, Cheney, and their lieutenants repeatedly stated assertions about Iraq to justify war that were not supported by the professional the intelligence analysts.

An article published at New York Magazine and another published at Mother Jones are excellent refreshers on the history of the Bush administration trumping up reasons for America to invade Iraq, even though U.S. intelligence agency professionals could not find any factually convincing evidence Saddam Hussein had any connection to the Sept. 11, 2001 al Qa‘ida attack.

But that was not the first instance of a disastrous outcome from Bush administration officials dismissing intelligence agency reports. According to The Great War Of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism, a new book by former acting CIA director Mike Morell, Vice President Dick Cheney thought al Qaeda was bluffing on its plan plan to fly commercial aircraft into high value buildings:
The threat reporting continued [in the spring and summer of 2001] — other pieces were titled “Bin Ladin Attacks May Be Imminent” and “Bin Ladin Planning High-Profile Attacks” — but I sensed some skepticism about it. The vice president one morning asked me whether all this threat reporting might not be deception on the part of al Qa‘ida — purposely designed to get our attention and to get us to needlessly expend resources in response.

Morell, who was then in charge of the daily presidential intelligence briefing, writes the CIA felt they then needed to produce a report titled “UBL [Usama bin Laden] Threats Are Real.”
After months of ignored warnings by U.S. intelligence agencies, attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center occurred on Sept. 11, 2001 — eight months into President Bush’s first term. "Charlie Allen had his hair on fire'' warning about imminent attacks, wrote Richard Clarke, the former counter terrorism chief, at the start of a chapter in his best selling book, Against All Enemies. Clarke's book chronicles the efforts of several government security experts to warn the Bush Administration of a pending attack by Al-Qaeda -- from the weeks before Bush took the oath of office until the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. [CBS News Interview]

Philip Zelikow, Director of the National (9/11) Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, testified that the CIA had issued several warnings that terrorists might fly commercial airplanes into buildings or cities. In briefings during the weeks before Bush took office on January 20, 2001 outgoing Clinton Administration officials advised incoming Bush administration officials that counter-terrorism should be the Bush Administration's number one priority. Throughout the spring and summer of 2001, we now well know, White House counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke, and several other intelligence agency officials were running around with their "hair on fire," warning that al-Qaida was about to unleash a monumental attack.
On Aug. 6, 2001 Bush was given the now-famous President's Daily Brief (by a CIA briefer), entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” (See the memo here.) warning that this attack might take place " inside the United States."

According to one account, after the PDB has been given to him, Bush tells the CIA briefer, “You’ve covered your ass now” (see August 6, 2001). Incredibly, the New York Times later reports that after being given the briefing, Bush “[breaks] off from work early and [spends] most of the day fishing.” [New York Times, 5/25/2002]

We now know that between January 20 and September 10, 2001 President Bush was briefed on Al-Qaeda over 40 Times.

Dana Milbank and Mike Allen of the Washington Post wrote that on Aug. 7, 2001, the day after the fateful PDB, Bush, "was in an expansive mood … when he ran into reporters while playing golf." The president's aides emphasized that he was working, now and then, on a few issues—education, immigration, Social Security, and his impending decision on [banning] stem-cell research. On Aug. 29 Bush gave a speech before the American Legion outlining the President's defense priorities of boosting soldiers' pay and abandoning the Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty.

History records that the Republican administration ignored all 9/11 warnings...
Morell also makes clear in his book: The Bush-Cheney administration publicly misrepresented the intelligence related to Iraq's supposed WMD program and Saddam's alleged links to Al Qaeda to take the country to war with Iraq. What they were saying about the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda publicly was not what the intelligence community, according to Morell.

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