Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

  Fixing the evidence around the policy, after the invasion as well

Even after the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration went on cherry-picking the "evidence" for Iraqi WMD. Just as before the war, if Bush wanted to promote a story, the story was promoted.

It was no surprise to learn from the Plame investigation, for example, that the "facts" about Iraqi contacts with Niger that the White House leaked to journalists in June/July 2003 included a fair dose of misinformation. Already been disproven? Shovel it anyway. Thus spake the Leaker in Chief, and it was good.

A little earlier that spring, Bush was being disingenuous about another matter. This involved the discovery of those ever elusive WMD in Iraq. During the spring and early summer of 2003, you'll recall, this hapless crowd went nearly hoarse crowing that it finally had found iron-clad proof. Over and over again.

The biggest 'find', though, were the mobile weapons labs. You know, the ones that hurtled down the highways and byways of Iraq, taking their bioweapons show on the road. With Kerouac as their bible, the hepcats in these trailors jived all night, drove all day, and mixed it up plenty in those back seats. Or so the administration said (more or less). Over and over again.

Now that the leaking White House is being leaked against, though, we learn that this silly story was shot down even before the White House trumpeted it for the first time on May 29, 2003. In tomorrow's Washington Post

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories....

The contents of the final report, "Final Technical Engineering Exploitation Report on Iraqi Suspected Biological Weapons-Associated Trailers," remain classified. But interviews reveal that the technical team was unequivocal in its conclusion that the trailers were not intended to manufacture biological weapons....

The technical team's findings had no apparent impact on the intelligence agencies' public statements on the trailers. A day after the team's report was transmitted to Washington -- May 28, 2003 -- the CIA publicly released its first formal assessment of the trailers, reflecting the views of its Washington analysts. That white paper, which also bore the DIA seal, contended that U.S. officials were "confident" that the trailers were used for "mobile biological weapons production."

Throughout the summer and fall of 2003, the trailers became simply "mobile biological laboratories" in speeches and press statements by administration officials.

Competing reports came in to Washington, initially. There may have been legitimate room for debate, early on, about whether these labs might be mobile (chiz!) labs. But that does not excuse the administration. About a "discovery" that was very far from certain, it expressed utter certainty. Over and over again.


  • I should have added that the WaPo article makes clear that the report from this group was the most authoritative one that the WH received, at least up to the point that it began trumpeting the opposite of what the group found. Also, the group was under immediate pressure from the WH to produce a report that maximized the possibility that these trailors were used for bioweapons. The group shrugged off that pressure and told the truth. And then, their findings were ignored.

    By Blogger : smintheus ::, at 12:07 AM  

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