Phase II: Four Years Later

It has taken the SSCI four years, but it is about to release the long-awaited second-to-last installment of Phase II of its investigation into Iraqi intelligence claims (the last one, which examines Dougie Feith’s little intelligence shop, may be finished around the time his book comes out). This report catalogs Administration claims about Iraq’s WMD and ties to Al Qaeda and analyzes whether the intelligence supported those claims. Greg Miller writes that the report will have mixed conclusions.

The long-delayed document catalogs dozens of prewar assertions by President Bush and other administration officials that proved to be wildly inaccurate about Iraq’s alleged stockpiles of banned weapons and pursuit of nuclear arms.

But officials say the report reaches a mixed verdict on the key question of whether the White House misused intelligence to make the case for war.

The document criticizes White House officials for making assertions that failed to reflect disagreements or uncertainties in the underlying intelligence on Iraq, officials said. But the report acknowledges that many claims were consistent with intelligence assessments in circulation at the time.

Many of the conclusions will be predictable. The BW and CW claims were largely backed up by intelligence (though I’m anxious to see where Colin Powell got the catalog of amounts he cited in his UN speech–at least some of that information came from one of Judy’s informants). But with nuclear claims, the Administration simply provided the most inflammatory judgment, ignoring the caveats. And finally, the report Scooter and Shooter’s claims that Iraq and Al Qaeda were in cahoots was made up out of thin air.

Prewar assertions about Iraq’s nuclear program were more problematic because they were supported by some intelligence assessments but not others.

"They were substantiated," a congressional official said, "but didn’t convey the disagreements within the intelligence community."

In August 2002, for example, Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech that "Saddam [Hussein] has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons." But by that time, the State Department’s intelligence bureau was challenging the assumption that Iraq’s nuclear program had been reactivated.

White House suggestions that Iraq had ties to Al Qaeda were at odds with intelligence assessments that voiced skepticism about such a relationship.

I’ll be curious about several things. First, to what degree did Republicans roll Jello Jay again, cherry-picking the defensible claims while ignoring the more ridiculous ones? For example, Miller cites Cheney’s August 2002 VFW address, where Cheney said "they continue to pursue an aggressive nuclear weapons program." While DOE had already questioned the nuclear tube claim, it’s likely Cheney hadn’t seen those questions yet. And Tenet had not yet warned the White House against using the Niger claims.

But do they include Cheney’s March 16, 2003 claim that,

And we believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong.

In an obvious attempt to resusitate the nuke claims even after the key pieces of that claim had been debunked by the IAEA? Do they include this later claim in their catalog, issued after all of the central WMD claims had been debunked?

Also, to what degree does the SSCI rehash the clear warnings offered in October 2002 not to use the Niger claims? Do they finally reveal Condi’s receipt of those warnings, or do they ignore it since the Niger claim was ultimately pulled from the speech they were vetting at the time?

Miller reports that it may be some time before we get to see the report, because Committee members get one more chance to make changes, plus it needs to be declassified (and remember–Cheney refused to declassify some perfectly non-sensitive things in the last SSCI report, so expect more of those games with this, particularly since the report slams Scooter and Shooter for their Al Qaeda-Iraq fantasy). Interestingly, the report may actually have relevance to the Democratic primary–Republicans are going to try to slam Hillary for her claims, as well.

Dissatisfied with the scope of the report, Republicans on the panel are expected to attach a section outlining their objections and calling attention to prewar claims by prominent Democrats, including Clinton.

Which might make Obama’s attacks on Clinton for not even reading the NIE more pertinent.

Update: Grammar fixed per billinturkey.

75 replies
  1. Mauimom says:

    Dissatisfied with the scope of the report, Republicans on the panel are expected to attach a section outlining their objections and calling attention to prewar claims by prominent Democrats, including Clinton.

    Gee, and after all Hillary has done for McCain, this is how they repay her?

    Which might make Obama’s attacks on Clinton for not even reading the NIE more pertinent.

    I can only hope.

  2. ProfessorFoland says:

    As you brought out, EW, DoE was saying from the beginning the tubes weren’t for enrichment. While most people probably think that DoD makes nuclear weapons, DoD is merely a “customer”. DoE is the agency that actually designs the weapons, enriches the material, and builds the weapons. If DoE is telling you one thing about a nuclear program, and DoD/CIA is telling you another, there’s simply no question about who is more credible.

    The report had better come right out and say something along those lines.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think one of the problems is that the DOE judgment doesn’t appear to have made it into senior policy makers’ briefings. So it may not be until late August that they would have been told about it, if not September. That’s why the August 2002 Cheney speech is vastly different than the March 16 speech, when Cheney certainly knew.

      I’m also curious whether we’ll get more clarity on the genesis of the January 24 restatement of the NIE’s nuclear conclusions, minus the footnotes.

      • ProfessorFoland says:

        Independent of whether the princiapls knew the details of the haggling, if the people who know nukes are telling you it’s not nuke related, an IC that was intent on doing its job wouldn’t let any of it float to the top. I’m getting tired of seeing all sorts of crucial information (and not just on this topic) getting accidentally lost on its way up the food chain. At some point, one has to start asking whether the chains are losing information “accidentally on purpose”.

        • Minnesotachuck says:

          At some point, one has to start asking whether the chains are losing information “accidentally on purpose”.

          For those of us who were reading Soldiers for the Truth early in this decade, that point occurred in late 2002 when Karen Kwiatkowski began posting as “Deep Throat” on that site. There was no question in her view that “Feith-based intelligence” meant having a thumb on the scales.

        • emptywheel says:

          Absolutely agree (did you read AJ Rossmiller’s book?).

          But as far as this report is concerned, we’ll probably see several cases (and I think the aluminum tubes is one) where BushCo should have known better, but will have at least plausible deniability. Not for the March 16 statement, but for the August one.

          • freepatriot says:

            there AIN’T no plausible deniability about the aluminum tubes

            if colin powell wants to tell me he’s NEVER SEEN a rocket before, THAT’S HIS FUCKING PROBLEM

            I’ve never been on a battlefield, and I could figure out what the aluminum tubes were for, without the CIA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission telling me the tubes were unsuited for refining uranium

            here’s a fucking hint:

            Iraqi rocket launchers use a 88 mm projectile

            the aluminum tubes were 88 mm in diameter

            if the bushbots had tried to sell us on a “Duel Use” scheme, it might have worked

            but the condiliar said “The Tubes Can’t Be Used For Anything Else But Refining Uranium”

            no wiggle room there:

            now, condiliar, let me fill this tube with propellent and explosives, put it in this rocket launcher, and demonstrat a different use:

            hold this target over your face, and stand over there, about 100 yards away

            if I could figure that out (this was before I was on the innertubes) without any help from the CIA or the Nuc industry, people with access to WEAPONS EXPERTS have NO EXCUSE

            • bmaz says:

              According to Coit Blacker, Condi’s best male friend, such a projectile would just bounce off Condi’s tight ass.

              After she became secretary of state, she came to a party at Blacker’s house, kicked off her shoes, and began dancing through the night to rock and and roll. Blacker, who is gay, wanted to show his partner how tight her behind is; he postulated that if he aimed a quarter at her butt, it would bounce off like a rocket. He was right. Rice, who was dancing, didn’t realize what he had done until everyone began laughing hysterically. She was flattered — and proud.

              So Freepatriot, I think you were correct to place the target higher!

              • freepatriot says:

                we got stuff that can bore thru solid rock, but maybe there’s a test we need to try here …

                and on another topic;

                since I been watching “Breaking Bad”, I learned that an “etch-a-sketch” can be pretty useful for this type of situation too (I already knew how to cook meth, in case you were wondering …)

                you’d be surprised where you can learn all this weird shit, or at least you might be surprised where I learned it …

                a little knowledge is dangerous


                A Mind Is A Terrible Thing


      • bmaz says:

        The mere fact that the DOE wasn’t more significant in the pecking order for info and guidance ought to be significant in and of itself. It says to me they were fudging the nuke stuff from the get go. It is hard to understate the importance of the aluminum tubes and the 16 words because they are the linchpins on the nuke claim. Both claims were patently bunk. For the vast majority of Americans it appears the nuke claim was the critical factor, so really the whole support for the Iraq war rode on the nuke claim, which was patently bogus. Not to mention that UNSCOM/IAEA was saying it was bogus. By the way, Miller’s piece doesn’t describe much in the way of comparisons to UNSCOM/IAEA, wonder why that is?

        Secondly, the other biggest factor for most people was the scare tactics as to how likely Iraq was to use and/or deliver any weapons. You already touched on the false al-Qaida link which was HUGE. But also the claims about Iraq’s ability to use their fleet of aerial drones. The public right then was really becoming familiar with the awesome prowess of our Predator drones, so when the Administration drones on about drones, that is what the public is thinking. Instead, all the US really had was a tattered photo of a single craft that literally looked to be made of duct tape and a Cox model airplane engine that every boy in the 60s and 70s played with. Calling it laughable as a threat to the US is being far too kind. It was far more of an idiotic joke than the freaking Wackiest Ships in the Iranian Navy and Filipino Monkey. The simple fact was that Sadaam had no way to deliver any weapons even if he did have them and, just as importantly, he had no motivation or design to attack the US in any way. This report looks like another piece of junk from the SSCI. Thanks a rot Jello Jay, you limp wimp.

    • bmaz says:

      If Kraft is to be charged with a crime, Rusty Hardin would be fine choice as defense counsel. He is among the very top tier in the entire United States.

  3. MadDog says:

    OT (and I know EW is gotta be on it already) – TPMMuckraker points to a WSJ article:

    NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows
    As Agency Sweeps Up Data

    Five years ago, Congress killed an experimental Pentagon antiterrorism program meant to vacuum up electronic data about people in the U.S. to search for suspicious patterns. Opponents called it too broad an intrusion on Americans’ privacy, even after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    But the data-sifting effort didn’t disappear. The National Security Agency, once confined to foreign surveillance, has been building essentially the same system…


    …According to current and former intelligence officials, the spy agency now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records. The NSA receives this so-called “transactional” data from other agencies or private companies, and its sophisticated software programs analyze the various transactions for suspicious patterns. Then they spit out leads to be explored by counterterrorism programs across the U.S. government, such as the NSA’s own Terrorist Surveillance Program, formed to intercept phone calls and emails between the U.S. and overseas without a judge’s approval when a link to al Qaeda is suspected…


    …Current and former intelligence officials say telecom companies’ concern comes chiefly because they are giving the government unlimited access to a copy of the flow of communications, through a network of switches at U.S. telecommunications hubs that duplicate all the data running through it. It isn’t clear whether the government or telecom companies control the switches, but companies process some of the data for the NSA, the current and former officials say…


    …Two current officials also said the NSA’s current combination of programs now largely mirrors the former TIA project. But the NSA offers less privacy protection. TIA developers researched ways to limit the use of the system for broad searches of individuals’ data, such as requiring intelligence officers to get leads from other sources first. The NSA effort lacks those controls, as well as controls that it developed in the 1990s for an earlier data-sweeping attempt…


    …Gen. Hayden, the former NSA chief and now Central Intelligence Agency director, in January 2006 publicly defended the activities of the Terrorist Surveillance Program after it was disclosed by the New York Times. He said it was “not a driftnet over Lackawanna or Fremont or Dearborn, grabbing all communications and then sifting them out.” Rather, he said, it was carefully targeted at terrorists. However, some intelligence officials now say the broader NSA effort amounts to a driftnet. A portion of the activity, the NSA’s access to domestic phone records, was disclosed by a USA Today article in 2006…


    …It isn’t known how many Americans’ data have been swept into the NSA’s systems. The Treasury, for instance, built its database “to look at all the world’s financial transactions” and gave the NSA access to it about 15 years ago, said a former NSA official. The data include domestic and international money flows between bank accounts and credit-card information, according to current and former intelligence officials…

    And all of our guesses/speculations/paranoid imaginings are correct!

    • ProfessorFoland says:

      I’d highlight one more section:

      Two former officials familiar with the data-sifting efforts said they work by starting with some sort of lead, like a phone number or Internet address. In partnership with the FBI, the systems then can track all domestic and foreign transactions of people associated with that item — and then the people who associated with them, and so on, casting a gradually wider net.

      If you believe that everyone in the world is connected by 6.6 degrees of separation, then a crude purely-exponential model would suggest that if you track X, X’s connections, and their connections, then every “X” causes you to look at over 900 people. Even just one more level of “so-on” brings it to over 27,000.

      How many X’s are there? Well, the no-fly list has tens of thousands of people…multiply that by 27,000 and you’ve pretty much got–everyone.

    • Ishmael says:

      Atrios links to an IHT article this morning that highlights how the Treasury Department is using the fact that many Internet domains are registered in the United States to put certain companies on watchlists and then effectively shut them down by revoking the domain registration. A British travel agent, who sells Cuban vacations to Europeans, which is perfectly legal, via a .com domain had his websites shut down by the US Treasury, purportedly for enabling American vacationers to go to Cuba in defiance of the embargo – even though the servers weren’t even located in the US, no money was in the US, nothing whatsoever to connect it to the US other than the power the Treasury department has over the domain registry! If the Treasury is using this power for political purposes, who knows what it is doing with the other information it is sucking up? The TIA is not simply for the purpose of creating a Stasi-type police state in the US, although that is certainly a “bonus” – it is to be used as an economic cudgel over the rest of the world as well.…..speech.php

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        Not to be outdone by billinturkey in the nitpicking department, the verb in the line immediately following your second from last quote should be spelled “resuscitate”, not “resusitate.”

      • MadDog says:

        Thanks. Just printed it out before I left. But I’m about to board my plane to LA. So you’ll have to wait for any wisdom from me.

        We all wish you an excellent trip and presentation!

        Hey kids, EW has left now, so let’s see what’s in the refrigerator.

        Mmmm…Rocky Road ice cream…mmmm…Butterscotch pudding…mmmm…and look what’s in the freezer: a quart of Stolichnaya vodka…mmmm!

  4. cbl2 says:

    Good Morning Empty and all,

    Republicans are going to try to slam Hillary for her claims, as well.

    a little fuzzyheaded this morning, but I definitely recall eriposte factually debunking the Dems Saw It Too meme – no, not that that will stop these now cornered, wounded coyotes, but I hope the Obama campaign treads carefully

    To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

    Justice Robert H, Jackson

  5. bigbrother says:

    Admiral Mike McConnell top American spy with Top Secret clearance for decades in an out of Booz Allen intell contractor,Pentagon, since WWII has had access to what he would need to do the job from any of the many US and International intell agencies. He probably has his brain around the whole paradym of global domination. Take a lot of do re me which is runnin out.
    They had to know the whole shootin match ( left hand knew the right hand)…the power that Cheney and Bush indulged themselves in…the honchos of the Planet. It was carte blanche in the Annapolis tradition of staff level officers. (what would he think of McSame (fall guy)?

    They are not givin Jack as long as the the DOJ has their back. These people are way beyond hardball especially senate intell. Only way to cover past violations is immunity…without immunity the whole thing comes undone.

    The conspiracy is palpable. The obstruction is palpable.
    You know we did it. We know you know and we did it… double dare you to bust us. How flagrant is that?

  6. Mary says:

    2 – Not just DoE, but all kinds of nuke weapons and conventional weapons experts were saying that the tubes were for conventional weapons and even that Iraq was currently using those kinds of tubes for its conventional weapons. I remember watching true expert come on, then they would be treated as just the “same as” some rightwing nutcase politician’s rant – fair and balanced you know.

    White House suggestions that Iraq had ties to Al Qaeda were at odds with intelligence assessments that voiced skepticism about such a relationship.

    Here’s my question – are they going to out the shipment to torture and the pure, torture-to-Cheney’s-orders, basis of the al-Libi “intelligence?” I just love the euphemisms, torture = intelligence. I hope everyone involved in that escapade wakes up in a cold sweat every night for the rest of their lives, feeling the warm blood from the body parts of soldiers and children flying past them, and with the sure and certain knowledge that they own a piece of every death and disaster in Iraq, all because they chose, they voluntarily CHOSE, to be torturebuddies with George Bush.

  7. billinturkey says:

    Much of the conclusions will be predictable

    Copy-editing alert: ‘Many of the conclusions’ or ‘Much of what it concludes’?

    Good read though

  8. Mary says:

    9/13 – of course. And Gonzales’ statements about how they didn’t go to the then Republican Congress bc it would never have authorized, can be nicely examined now, next to what Rockefeller is doing. So despite the early references to the FBI being “clean” on teh program, it has been pretty centrally involved, eh? Perhaps direct up-chain pressure, even from Mueller, contributed directly to all those NSL criminal violations of law and to the fact that no one is getting in trouble for any of them, thousands though they number?

    11 – “They are not givin Jack as long as the the DOJ has their back. ” That’s the beginning and end. The total corruption of the Dept. of Justice is pretty much how you kill a country from within. Literally – kill it. 9/11, Iraq, Katrina, thousand and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of violations of the Constitution, lawyers used to arrange extrajudicial torture and backs collectively turned on the victims of the crimes. Funny what is or isn’t a crime when DOJ is peopled with loyal Bushies and torture afficianados and Alice Martins.

  9. Mary says:

    15 – No, I hadn’t seen it but thanks. I’m pretty much beyond thinking anything will ever change though. Definitely – none of the criminals will ever face any consequences for their crimes, or even kneel down and whisper an apology to the night.

    The fact that for 6 years we’ve had a Justice department that has idealized and eulogized and praised and parsed and prearranged torture changes a country. As much as people deride lawyers, when something like the torture memos come out, that is where they look for a lead. And the lead they were given, and took, took us down a one-way path. You may stop the speed and rate, but when the people responsible for the street signs have set the direction.

  10. BayStateLibrul says:

    Take the vagueness out of FISA with clear and concise language

    (1) The House should amend FISA to read “We hereby give the TELCO’s unlimited access to the flow of communications”

    (2) Have a roll call vote

    (3) See if it passes muster

  11. Ishmael says:

    History doesn’t repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes a lot. I believe future historians will look on the Iraq atrocity as the equivalent of the Mexican-American War, where “manifest destiny” was used as the justification for the expansion of the United States westward by conquest, for the enhancement of the fortunes of the slave-owning oligarchy in the South and particularly Texas (why is always about Texas in the United States?) The historical parallel to Mexico is found in the conquest of Iraq under the guise of “the war on terror”, which in reality was imperialism for the benefit of the oil and military-industrial oligarchy. President Ulysses S. Grant put it best in his Memoirs, describing his experience as an officer in the US Army at the time:

    “Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether the annexation was consummated or not; but not so all of them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory.” [3]

    Grant also states in his memoirs that the imperialist policies that sparked the Mexican-American War, and the compromises in the conquered territory between slave and free states that followed, with the failure of the Wilmot Proviso banning slavery in the conquered territories to pass the Senate, ultimately led to the destruction and death in the Civil War, perhaps the bloodiest war up to that time. The United States is already seeing the economic consequences of an economy primed by cheap oil and the acquisition of it through military means, I hope that further war is not the result, although I have moments of pessimism.

      • Ishmael says:

        Exactly. It’s interesting, one of the factors that led to the war between Texas and Mexico was that Mexico wanted American settlers in Texas to produce corn, beans and other foodstuffs that were to be offered first to Mexican markets, while the Americans wanted to plant cotton for sale to European markets. Apologies to Marx, economics doesn’t create history, but they are partners. The lesson of Iraq to me, along with the totalitarian efforts of Cheney et al, is that we need more than a New Deal, we need a new Reconstruction, with an emphasis on a new economic model besides an economy driven by cheap oil and gasoline and cars that build unsustainable subdivisions, and the equivalent of the 14th Amendment, re-asserting the primacy of privacy and individual liberty and the role of the federal government as the guarantor of such rights.

  12. Sedgequill says:

    Our personal identities are occupied territory now, and we don’t even get a tour. The presidential candidates need to hold forth on whether the new President should attempt to roll back the unlawfully invasive programs; statutes and the Bill of Rights haven’t had a controlling effect on the programs, and the operative intelligence and law enforcement agencies and their contractors won’t alter their gallop unless they are reined in.

  13. billinturkey says:

    Wozn’t wining, bmaz. Just thort that if this is going to get quoted up and down the Toobz, Marcy might like to have her grammer right.

    Seriously though: didn’t mean to irritate.

    • bmaz says:

      Heh heh, no irritation, I am just worried people will start looking at the junk I write; which has a typo per second at it’s best spots…. Preview may be our friend, but I think most of us haven’t seen him in a while!

  14. Hugh says:

    Other than about a hundred million Arabs knowing that the connection between Saddam and al Qaeda was completely bogus on its face, I don’t see how the US government could be expected to work this out.

    As for CW, about 95% of the infrastructure that produced this was destroyed by weapons inspectors after the First Gulf War. Iraq had the expertise to rebuild some of it but even so their CW capability would have been small, of limited utility, and laughably outdated by our standards.

    Much the same could be said about the Iraqi BW program. Even if they had retained a few samples of various pathogens, they needed the means to keep them, produce them, weaponize them, and deliver them. Again except some limited capacity for the first of these and some mostly pipedreams for the last, they had zero, nada, nothing for the intervening steps.

    Now if you were like me you didn’t know this at the time and you expected that those in positions of responsibility in the Administration, in the intelligence community, and in the news media had looked at all this. And that is what is so unforgiveable. We trusted them and they betrayed that trust. You didn’t need to be an expert on weapons of mass destruction to know there was no case. All you needed was to be a reasonably intelligent individual able to read through publically available documents, such as those produced by the original weapons inspectors. I and you probably thought that our experts and officials had done this. We were wrong and what is worse Bush, Cheney et al had looked at all this, dismissed it, and decided to pursue their imperial ambitions and paranoid delusions anyway.

    • Sedgequill says:

      Thanks, Hugh. Your context enabled me to figure out what “BW” and “CW” stand for. I thought I might be the only one who didn’t know, which is a common experience for me.

    • bellesouth says:

      My step-daughters lived in Saudi Arabia until the summer before 9/11. I was reading during the summer the plans by OBL to attack the US somewhere where it hurt — at least 3 times. I knew he was planning something. I also knew pre-Iraq that Saddam and al Quaeda were not on the same side either. So, if I knew you’d certainly expect the intelligence people to know.

  15. MadDog says:

    More OT and h/t to Steve-AR in his FDL comment as MadDog passes the Stoli to bmaz:

    OT..looks as if the “fix” is in on those House subpoenas:

    The case has been assigned D.C. District Court Judge John D. Bates.

    Judge Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, was Deputy Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigation from 1995 to mid-1997, ruled in 2002 to dismiss for lack of standing the GAO’s suit seeking access to the Cheney Energy Task Force documents, and in 2006 upheld the validity of Bush’s signature on an a bill not properly passed in the same form by both houses of Congress.


    • bmaz says:

      Bates is also the one who bounced the Plame civil suit.

      Dismayed – For the life of me I don’t see how what some high school girl, who can’t even vote, says means diddly squat. It was a ten year old stock file photo legally purchased; it didn’t contain her words or endorsement. Her opinion means no more than the opinion of any other youngster in the country that is not old enough to vote. This is just more manufactured crap being pitched. That this is of interest or concern to anyone is absolutely amazing.

      • Dismayed says:

        Oh, it’s just one of those stupid things that happens and just cracks me up. Haven’t you ever had one of those days where no matter what you do it just turns to shit, then you finally shake your head and stumble off into the rain. I could just see Hillary’s people cursing at this even though, you’re right, it doesnt’ matter a hoot – but it’s funny. In the same way as dog shit on someone else’s shoe. Oh, well, nothing’s funny to everyone. And most of the stuff on this blog isn’t funny to anyone, except the cocksucker that know 90% of it is on the mark, and that they’re going to get away with every last bit of it.

        • bmaz says:

          Oh, I wasn’t meaning to bust your chops. Right about the same time I read your comment, some clucks on MSNBC were jabbering about it and how bad it was for the Clinton campaign. It is kind of funny actually; you are absolutely right about that. I just don’t see where the national press gets off saying how damaging it is; unless, or course, they are actively trying to make the prophecy true. Anyway, no offense was meant your way, I hope none was taken.

          • Dismayed says:

            None taken.

            The little girl don’t like her, and her gov’ is banging high class ho’s. Not a good day for Hillbillery. Neither has a damn think to do with her, but with our bobble-head press these sorts of things distract from her momentum narrative (also largely undeserved and a largely a product of the press).

            So here they were talking about her comeback and now they’re talking about the shit on her shoe. Odd as it seems, if she doesn’t win PA, this day may actually be the final turning point in her campaign. Peculiar post script if it turns out that way.

            Meanwhile Bush and Co. sing and laugh about Cheney hiding documents. It gets weirder every day. Lately, following politics feels a lot like watching a bollywood musical on acid.

  16. LS says:

    Just a little edit needed:

    ”And finally, the report Scooter and Shooter’s claims that Iraq and Al Qaeda were in cahoots was made up out of thin air.”

  17. PJEvans says:

    (peering into fridge)
    Surely that’s a liter of Stoly, not a quart?
    She have any chilis stashed? We could make experimental vodka with them and earn lab rat pins.

    More seriously, why should Congress believe what this maladministration tells it about anything?

  18. MadDog says:

    Really OT – From the NYT:

    Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring

    Gov. Eliot Spitzer has informed his most senior administration officials that he had been involved in a prostitution ring, an administration official said this morning.

    Mr. Spitzer, who was huddled with his top aides early this afternoon, had hours earlier abruptly canceled his scheduled public events for the day. He is set to make an announcement about 2:15 this afternoon at his Manhattan office…

    • bmaz says:

      Aye, the Penguin raps yer knuckles again! This is not a good story for Democrats. Maybe if he does a full and immediate confession so as to be the anti-Republican. But unless he resigns (which I am not necessarily calling for; just thinking out loud here), I don’t know how much that helps….

      • MadDog says:

        Ouch! But…but…Sister, we’re on a mission from doG!

        Wrt to Spitzer, Too true!

        And I’m guessing all the Repug standing by locked and loaded for target practice will magically “forget” about Senator David Vitter (R-La.).

        Sauce is only good for the goose. Never for the gander.

  19. MadDog says:

    On the Spitzer Defenestration, tis very interesting that Federal Prosecutors “seem” to be involved:

    Just last week, federal prosecutors arrested four people in connection with an expensive prostitution operation. Administration officials would not say that this was the ring with which the governor had become involved.

    But a person with knowledge of the governor’s role said that the person believes the governor is one of the men identified as clients in court papers.

    Does one have to be paranoid to connect some dots to today’s WSJ article of “NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows
    As Agency Sweeps Up Data”?

    Democrats wouldn’t be the target of such snooping, would they?

    • prostratedragon says:

      Only if they have a nasty reputation on Wall St. Josh at TPM wonders why they didn’t suss him out earlier. Just waiting for the stand-clear order to take effect, no doubt.

    • MadDog says:

      And just why is it Federal Prosecutors were involved at all?

      It it because this apparently happened in Washington DC?

      The governor’s travel records show that he was in Washington in mid-February. One of the clients described in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, the Emperors Club VIP on the night of Feb. 13.

      Mr. Spitzer appeared on a CNBC television show at 7 a.m. the next morning. Later in the morning, he testified before a Congressional committee.

      An affidavit filed in federal court in Manhattan in connection with that case lists six conversations between the man, identified as Client 9, and a booking agent for the Emperors Club.

      Is this the result of the “Quantico Circuit“?

  20. skdadl says:

    About Vitter: are people in the U.S. alert to this Vitter-sponsored amendment to a health-care bill that openly discriminates against native American women? I read about it on an activist site here and I kept shaking my head — Vitter? That Vitter? Where the hell does he get the noive? How can he still be in the Senate? But he is, and the Senate has approved that amendment.

  21. freepatriot says:

    so they didn’t catch any repuglitards with Spitzer ???

    must not have been a male prostitution ring then …

    guess we get another happy episode of HYPOCRISY ON PARADE this week

    does anybody think the repuglitards are aware that we’re on to their charade ???

    the wingnuts are like manna from heaven for the Democrats

    (hey, moderator, or spelling guy or whatever, wingnut is a word, fix yer thingy)

  22. SparklestheIguana says:

    Apparently Spitzer paid one escort $4,300 and she was warned he might ask her to do things she would not think were safe. Jeez LOUISE! Poor Silda….

  23. Ishmael says:

    I don’t think you need high-tech surveillance to bust someone for patronizing a prostitute – nor does it necessarily have to involve the US Attorney scandal. Spitzer has lots of enemies, from Rudy to Frank Bruno to any number of powerful people on Wall Street, it would not be a stretch to think that they were having him tailed the old-fashioned way, or simply that one of the girls or the pimps squealed. Whatever you think of the sex aspect of it, I’m not even sure prostitution is a crime in DC or NY (as opposed to solicitation for the purposes in a public place) very bad judgment by Spitzer, just like it was bad judgment for Bill Clinton to take up with Monica.

  24. Mary says:

    45 – where do you get stories like that? *g*

    More seriously, Three Cups of Tea has a strange section in it, towards the end, about 9/11 and a Pakistani villager in the mountains coming to the author, Mortenson, with bad news, to tell him some village called New York had been attacked and that villager told him, OBL did this.

    But yeah, right, too much for US intel to figure out, what with all the time they have to spend monitoring phone sex.

  25. AbeServer says:

    What do you want to bet the forthcoming report doesn’t deal with this whopper?

    “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop
    nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years.”

    October 10, 2002
    Senator Jay Rockefeller

    The WMD NIE itself says only that “if left unchecked,” Saddam “probably” will have a nuclear weapon “during this decade”

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