Monday, December 06, 2004

 

Still respect McCain? It's a slam dunk!

I used to say I didn't agree with John McCain, but at least I trusted him. No more.
Bush's Arms Intelligence Panel Works in Secret

By DOUGLAS JEHL

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 - The commission that President Bush appointed last February to assess the state of American intelligence on weapons proliferation has been deliberating entirely in secret and may not depart from that practice before it issues a final report next March, officials of the panel say.

:::snip:::

A spokesman defended the closed-door approach, saying that the subjects being reviewed are too delicate for public discussion. "When you get into the nitty-gritty details of where are we strong and where are we weak in terms of intelligence gathering, you can't really share that with people," said the spokesman, Larry McQuillan. He said that the panel intended to make public at least part of its final report, but that the question of whether it would hold public meetings or issue any staff reports remained open-ended.

Still, one member of the commission, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, has suggested that what the panel has discovered about the Central Intelligence Agency is troubling.

"The president appointed me to the weapons of mass destruction commission, and one thing that has become abundantly clear, if it wasn't already, is that this is a dysfunctional agency," Mr. McCain said recently in a telephone interview. "This is the agency that said it's a slam dunk when the president asked for information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We know very little more about North Korea and Iran than we did 10 years ago. This agency needs to be reformed."
Except, Senator, it wasn't the agency that made the "slam dunk" comment, it was former DCI George Tenet, trying to suck up to President Bush in order to hold onto his job. It was the president who refused to listen to anything the CIA said that did not confirm his - or, more likely, Dick Cheney's - insistence that Iraq had WMDs and had been behind the 9-11 attacks. It was the White House that outed Valerie Plame to punish her husband for undercutting one of their principal lies about Saddam's nonexistent WMD programs. It was Bush, with the able assistance of McCain, who has not yet paid the tiniest price for manipulating intelligence and lying to the country about an unnecessary war that has killed over a thousand Americans and countless thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, ruined that country, and trashed our reputation abroad. And it's the CIA that's dysfunctional?

This is also the president whose handpicked little toady at the CIA, Porter Goss, is systematically dismantling the agency in order to make sure it complies with recently issued regulations from the brand-new, cabinet-level Loyalty Compliance Administration.

This is not to say that the CIA is blameless in all this, but the fact is, we don't really know what they told the president. We do know that, if and when they told him he was barking up the wrong tree about Saddam, he never listened.

If there is or was a problem at the CIA, Senator McCain, you could have helped avert it by putting patriotism over your own 2008 presidential hopes.
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