The harder they come, the harder they fall
July 12, 2003 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Tenet Had to be Pushed to Take Responsibility. George W. Bush may believe that the yellowcake controversy is over, but the underlings of the fall guy Tenet in the CIA are already starting to sing. The administration have gone out of the way to stress that they still trust the CIA, despite the brewing scandal. So maybe we should all pay attention to these leaks?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly (37 comments total)
 
Does this topic really need another thread less than a day after this one? This is a fascinating story (especially the media dynamics - we've all known that the Niger documents were fake for four months already, but major news outlets are only really running with it now), but let's not glut the front page with posts on its every development.
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:44 AM on July 12, 2003


P.S. A NewsMax link, IJR? For shame!
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:45 AM on July 12, 2003


UKnowForKids - I would suggest that, for some on Mefi, this emerging scandal has the same sort fascination as, say, a shuttle disaster. Perhaps the blow-by-blow amounts to gloating on the part of those who dislike the Bush administration, but....

it is fascinating to watch the Bush team as it progressively alienates it's allies, and as it tries so desparately to stonewall what is painfully obvious to most observers - that the the "evidence" scraped together and cooked up by the Bush Administration was a mess of putrescent lies which stank to the Heavens; and so, in serving up that muck as "evidence", the Bushites demonstrated a supreme contempt for the American public - and so it is a grotesque, compelling spectacle to watch them as they fight for space on their foundering ship, sacrificing their own in bloody, internicine battles.

Whew. Now I feel better.

There are many in the CIA who have a right to be furious - those career professionals who strive to provide impartial information, and whose names are now being smeared to provide political cover. Sing, they will.

posted by troutfishing at 11:24 AM on July 12, 2003


for some on Mefi, this emerging scandal has the same sort fascination as, say, a shuttle disaster.

And on MetaFilter, even a shuttle disaster should have new developments reported in yesterday's original thread. That is how we do a "blow by blow" instead of having the same story on the front page every day, right?
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:33 AM on July 12, 2003


mefi is what it is. deal.
posted by quonsar at 11:44 AM on July 12, 2003


IMHO, I think they want to take heat off the Pentagon. The Pentagon is a policy driven organization thus your job security can often rest with your ability to agree with your superiors on things like "Does this picture show WMDs". Now the CIA isn't that way. They probably have many cases like that but the CIA has it's own agenda as well the CIA is allowed (if they want to) to be truthful. Formerly image analysts at the CIA were able to say exactly what they felt images depicted whereas after the transfer of the image analysis departments to DOD (in the 60s???) the image analysts no longer have anything protecting their job security if perhaps they have a dissenting opinion on what is portrayed in picture etc.

Anyhoo, the current government probably wants the pentagon to get off scott free while they can make an organization they probably have less control over take the blame.
posted by abez at 12:42 PM on July 12, 2003


Rumsfeld to Tenet:

posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:39 PM on July 12, 2003


so much for "the buck stops here."
posted by crunchland at 1:43 PM on July 12, 2003


Actually, I thought that the Newsmax link almost added credibility, seeing as how they tend to be rather, um, hawkish and pro-Bush.

If this is inappropriate as an FPP, I hope Matt removes it. I don't presume to have better judgment than him or the community. That being said, I saw this as a distinctly different development from yesterday's "who is the fall guy?" thread. We know who it is, and it turns out that he was coerced.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:29 PM on July 12, 2003


monju_bosatsu, what's the deal with that shot being on both FOXNEWS and CBS?
posted by graventy at 3:39 PM on July 12, 2003


It originally aired on Faux News, and then was replayed on CBS to show portions of the interview.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:46 PM on July 12, 2003


That's a real picture? Hilarious! I totally thought it was farkified.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:57 PM on July 12, 2003


Seriously, is the picture real?
posted by swerve at 4:51 PM on July 12, 2003


No friggin way.
posted by gottabefunky at 5:17 PM on July 12, 2003


Check the source of that picture.
posted by PrinceValium at 5:52 PM on July 12, 2003


>That being said, I saw this as a distinctly different development from yesterday's "who is the fall guy?"

Me too. Its interesting how this has played out. Bush blames Tenet. Tenet takes blame. Bush more or less forgives Tenet. All is fine.

Err, no. What about all those parts of Powell's speech? Or the rest of Bush's speech? Or the still missing WMD?

I hope the media keeps running with this. The reasons for going to war should be deadly serious and not politicized, Americans deserve to know what their government is doing and why, and the Commander in Chief has a personal duty to double-check his own words. This isn't some speech at the local National Right to Life dinner, but the SOTU.

It all seems like a nice gentlemen's agreement to me. Tenet says "I did bad," Bush gets the heat of himself, and no one gets fired. Nice job if you can get it.
posted by skallas at 6:17 PM on July 12, 2003


Back to the FPP, I looooved George W's pronouncement that this controversy is now "closed." He may for the first time in his life learn that something doesn't happen just because he wills it to.
posted by soyjoy at 6:18 PM on July 12, 2003


The gall of wanting to have it both ways -- "The CIA is still trustworthy" and "The CIA gave us bad information which we started a war on" -- is pretty annoying. Not to mention the hope that people won't notice the already abundant reports indicating the White House knew full well what it was doing and leaned on the CIA.

Of course, my hope that most people will notice this is actually pretty dim. But hopefully enough (for Nov 2004).
posted by namespan at 6:25 PM on July 12, 2003


I didn't think this was worth a FPP on it's own, so I thought I'd add it to this discussion (which is pretty relevent).

Before Lie #1 can die down, here comes Lie #2 bubbling to the surface.

"Just one line" indeed.
posted by Dirjy at 6:28 PM on July 12, 2003


I did check the source of the picture. I wondered whether it had been captured off an actual broadcast. Sometimes I'm gullible curious like that.
posted by swerve at 6:42 PM on July 12, 2003


I would suggest that, for some on Mefi, this emerging scandal has the same sort fascination as, say, a shuttle disaster.

Or a train wreck.
posted by goethean at 7:13 PM on July 12, 2003


I always thought MeFi was some magical place where everybody always knew what everybody else was thinking and what everybody else already knew. Oh well. I for one welcome our new ______________ overlords. Get yer pancakes here...
posted by spilon at 7:42 PM on July 12, 2003


This controversy is as 'over' as the combat in Iraq is 'over'.

I supported this war, and I would have supported it even during Clinton's term. However, well before we attacked Iraq, I disagreed with how Shrub Inc. was constructing their justification, and now this smacks of cover-up.
posted by mischief at 8:26 PM on July 12, 2003


From page A1 of Sunday's Washington Post:
CIA Got Uranium Reference Cut in Oct.
"CIA Director George J. Tenet successfully intervened with White House officials to have a reference to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger removed from a presidential speech last October, three months before a less specific reference to the same intelligence appeared in the State of the Union address, according to senior administration officials.

Tenet argued personally to White House officials, including deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley, that the allegation should not be used because it came from only a single source, according to one senior official. Another senior official with knowledge of the intelligence said the CIA had doubts about the accuracy of the documents underlying the allegation, which months later turned out to be forged.

The new disclosure suggests how eager the White House was in January to make Iraq's nuclear program a part of its case against Saddam Hussein even in the face of earlier objections by its own CIA director. It also appears to raise questions about the administration's explanation of how the faulty allegations were included in the State of the Union speech."
posted by owillis at 8:34 PM on July 12, 2003


CIA Director George J. Tenet successfully intervened with White House officials to have a reference to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger removed from a presidential speech last October, three months before a less specific reference to the same intelligence appeared in the State of the Union address, according to senior administration officials.

Can we infer from this that people are starting to, as they say, sing? Or is this a flanking move by Tenet?

Watching all this wide eyed and, to be honest, delighted. But if the mainstream media starts asking why didn't anybody figure this stuff out at the time, and claiming to have been misled, I will be pissed. We all knew all along that the push to war was based on a tissue of lies.
posted by jokeefe at 8:59 PM on July 12, 2003


The Washington Post article is remarkable.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:52 PM on July 12, 2003


agreed, jokeefe. I hope that the American media knows that this story implicaters them as well. It is not ironic that the Washington Post would be the first--among mainstream American media outlets--with such a plainly stated ballsy news article. A handful of daily newspapers have been the only practiticioners of journalism of late.

If media is to be "digested," than the American mass media is big ole bowl of green peppers and corn. Only an informed (and maybe enraged, a litle bit) public can be the enem......

Their has been no consistent analysis attached to the news stories coming from any outlet. They just reprint press releases. Jon Stewart, of all people, talked about this with Bill Moyers last night. Personally, I have been able to feel even the slightest bit infomred only because of the web, and largely because of the people here at MeFi. Other filter sites, too, but all one can do is sift through links, filtering out the noise, which is the equivalent of the public service that media is supposed to provide in the first place.

Fuckers.

I'm pretty young, so I admit that I have to wonder what it was like to be around at a time when the press knew about things before the public did.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:14 PM on July 12, 2003


you have been implicatered! all ya'll!
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:15 PM on July 12, 2003


When I read the last paragraph of Tenet's statement:

Portions of the State of the Union speech draft came to the CIA for comment shortly before the speech was given. Various parts were shared with cognizant elements of the Agency for review. Although the documents related to the alleged Niger-Iraqi uranium deal had not yet been determined to be forgeries, officials who were reviewing the draft remarks on uranium raised several concerns about the fragmentary nature of the intelligence with National Security Council colleagues. Some of the language was changed. From what we know now, Agency officials in the end concurred that the text in the speech was factually correct – i.e. that the British government report said that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. This should not have been the test for clearing a Presidential address. This did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for Presidential speeches, and CIA should have ensured that it was removed.


I don't read it: "I'm the fall guy for this. It's my fault." I read it: "The guys in the white house should have been forced to take the uranium bit out but we (the C.I.A.) didn't advocate loudly enough." If I were Bush, I'd insist my fall guy fall on his sword a bit more cleanly.
posted by rdr at 11:42 PM on July 12, 2003


Washington Post: As Bush left Africa yesterday to return to Washington from a five-day trip overshadowed by the intelligence blunder, he was asked whether he considered the matter over. "I do," he replied.

We don't, Mr. President.

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters yesterday that "the president has moved on. And I think, frankly, much of the country has moved on, as well."

Really? What part of the country might that be?
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:04 AM on July 13, 2003


I have been able to feel even the slightest bit infomred only because of the web...
I'm pretty young, so I admit that I have to wonder what it was like to be around at a time when the press knew about things before the public did.


I feel the developments of the past year have been kind of surreal. It's as if I was from the future or clairvoyant.

I/we knew months ago what is only just now being discussed in the mainstream U.S. media. We knew the Admin's real reasons, we recognized the lies, we knew what a waste of resources and lives this was, we foresaw the chaos that would come afterward.

And yet we were stifled. If we dared speak up anywhere but the safety of the Web, we were thrown into the dungeon with Natalie Maines and France.

And Iggy my boy, if you want to know how things have changed - I saw a quote from *Daniel Shorr* the other day, in which he was acting as if some info we've been discussing forever was spanking brand-new. Man has he lost it.

But the way things used to work, you had a few enterprising, ballsy reporters from a major paper persistently and aggresively pursue a story, no matter what the Admin did, and without worrying about alienating customers, I mean, readers. Then the three networks (NBC, ABC, CBS) and other papers would pick up the story.

Nowadays, I don't know how long it will take many Americans, like the ones who only watch Foxhole Propaganda Network, to actually get informed and comprehend the truth. Perhaps when their kids or grandkids bring it home in a history book. :P
posted by NorthernLite at 6:21 AM on July 13, 2003


when their kids or grandkids bring it home in a history book. :P

Whoa. Your clairvoyance must be great indeed. All I've heard about the textbook market in the US is that Texas dictates what content goes into the books, and editors are omitting anything that may disgruntle the education boards that are responsible for buying vast quantities of them. Somehow I doubt anything disparaging about the Bush clan will seep into learning literature.

Just as I find German students learn more about their country's history when they come here, Americans will have to leave their land to learn what the hell really happened within it.
posted by Busithoth at 6:59 AM on July 13, 2003


An interesting sidebar to this from the Observer:

Blair ignored CIA weapons warning

In a remarkable letter released last night, the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, reveals a catalogue of disputes between the two countries, lending more ammunition to critics of the war and exerting fresh pressure on the Prime Minister.

The letter to the Foreign Affairs Committee, which investigated the case for war against Iraq, reveals that Britain ignored a request from the CIA to remove claims that Saddam was trying to buy nuclear material from Niger, despite concerns that the allegations were bogus. It also details a government decision to block information going to the CIA because it was too sensitive.

As diplomatic relations between America and Britain become increasingly strained over Iraq's WMD, Straw said that the Government had separate evidence of the Niger link, which it has not shared with the US.

The revelations come just four days before Tony Blair travels to America for his toughest visit there since he came to power in 1997. As well as WMD, the Prime Minister will also raise Britain's 'serious concerns' over the treatment of British citizens held at Guantanamo Bay.

Straw's letter reveals:

· That evidence given to the CIA by the former US ambassador to Gabon, Joseph Wilson - that Niger officials had denied any link - was never shared with the British.

· That Foreign Office officials were left to read reports of Wilson's findings in the press only days before they were raised as part of the committee's inquiry into the war.

· That when the CIA, having seen a draft of the September dossier on Iraq's WMD, demanded that the Niger claim be removed, it was ignored because the agency did not back it up with 'any explanation'.

Although publicly the two governments are trying to maintain a united front, the admission two days ago by the head of the CIA, George Tenet, that President Bush should never have made the claim about the Niger connection to Iraq, has left British officials exposed.

posted by y2karl at 10:22 AM on July 13, 2003


I'm thrilled to see this starting to happen.

Good as it is, it's not gonna bring back all those dead people, though. Which is why I propose castration, across the board. Except for Tony Blair. Better he eat the balls he spent months so ably mouthing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:40 AM on July 13, 2003


Also : 20 lies.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:58 AM on July 13, 2003


Also : 20 lies.

Thanks, Stavros. A nice summation.
posted by jokeefe at 1:11 PM on July 13, 2003


Gallery of bullshit:

"I am not a crook." - Richard Nixon

"I did not have sex with that woman." - Bill Clinton

"Who could have imagined planes being used as weapoms before September 11?" - Condaleeza Rice

"We did not intentionally include false or manufactured evidence in the case we made to invade Iraq." - the Bush Adminstration chorus
posted by troutfishing at 6:55 PM on July 13, 2003


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