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Friday, February 10, 2006

Speaking of Liars...

Now that we've spent part of our day with Heckuva Job Brownie, it just begs the question: what else don't we know yet?

For an Administration that has been all damage control, all the time, this is turning out to be a heckuva week. What do you get when you try to incorrectly pin the blame for your own failures on everyone else? Or when you try to silence criticisms or sweep everything under the rug and hope no one in America begins to notice the smell from the dung heap that keeps on growing?

Start off with a scrapbook of Niger and Traitorgate from Juan Cole.

Then move on to today's Pincus article in the WaPo, wherein a former CIA middle east agent, Paul Pillar, throws down the gauntlet. Can you say deliberately cherry-picking the intelligence in order to bolster your already pre-disposed need to invade Iraq, regardless of the facts, all the while failing to play it straight with the American public? How about liars? Yeah, I thought you could.

Oh, and contingency planning for worst case scenarios in Iraq? Nonexistent. Nice. I'm sure all our men and women in uniform over there really appreciate the care and concern from the Administration on their behalf. Now, where's that promised flowers and candy, Rummy and Wolfowitz kept going on and on about? Isn't Richard Perle awfully late on his delivery?

CNN reports that Pillar has an article in the new Foreign Affairs. (Hat tip to reader Masaccio for the link.) Am going to see if I can find a copy this weekend (hello, Barnes and Noble), and will report back on the read if I do. According to CNN:
The Bush administration "used intelligence not to inform decision-making, but to justify a decision already made," Pillar wrote. "It went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."

Though Pillar himself was responsible for coordinating intelligence assessments on Iraq, "the first request I received from any administration policymaker for any such assessment was not until a year into the war," he wrote....

The biggest discrepancy between public statements by the Bush administration and judgments by the intelligence community centered on the relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, he said.

"The enormous attention devoted to this subject did not reflect any judgment by intelligence officials that there was or was likely to be anything like the 'alliance' the administration said existed."

Rather, "the administration wanted to hitch the Iraq expedition to the 'war on terror' and the threat the American public feared most, thereby capitalizing on the country's militant post-9/11 mood," Pillar wrote. (emphasis mine)
Well, isn't that interesting? Truthiness, indeed. (Take a peek at this panel discussion in which Pillar participated at the Washington Institute with Barton Gellman and Ely Karmon on Middle East policy issues back in 2002. Fascinating stuff.)

And if that isn't enough, Olberman debunked some of the President's latest illegal NSA domestic spying excuse about the Liberty Tower Library Tower Los Angeles "terrorist shoe bomb" plot. Crooks and Liars has the clip.

Call me crazy -- but if you are going to disclose on national television that LA faced a terrorist attack, shouldn't the President or someone on his staff notify the mayor of the city before opening their yaps? Especially if the threat was previously undisclosed to the public? Panic and all that, you know, because it's not like LA has ever had to deal with riots or anything in the past. I'm just saying. (And a hat tip to Wilson for digging up the link for me.)

Also, Larry Johnson has a great article up at No Quarter, talking about this particular Administration and its public spin versus facts and all that inconvenient truthiness and stuff.

Sucks when people get in the way of your attempt at ass-saving spin, doesn't it?

NOTE: You know, it occurs to me, maybe the Administration isn't so worried about Brownie's testimony and the hearings today, given that the Winter Olympics begin this evening. It's Friday and most likely a wasted news cycle in a few hours, so they are probably hoping any questions of failure will get lost in the sea of athletes.

And speaking of the Olympics, I'm a total junkie. Please, please, please do not post any Olympics results in the comments before the event has aired here. I try to avoid results because I like to watch the events fresh -- especially figure skating -- but I can't possibly stay away from the comments, so be kind and don't post any spoilers. Thanks!