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Everything Leaks

At 7:39 on Wednesday evening, Pool Boy and his friends posted this interview with Dick Cheney.

Also on Wednesday evening–though at an unknown time–the NYT informed the CIA it would reveal the CIA had destroyed tapes of interrogations of high value Al Qaeda detainees.

The New York Times informed the C.I.A. on Wednesday evening that it planned to publish an article in Friday’s newspaper about the destruction of the tapes. Today, the C.I.A. director, General Michael V. Hayden, wrote a letter to the agency workforce explaining the matter.

Given this exchange from Dick in his Pool Boy interview…

Cheney said the [NIE] was released because “there was a general belief that we all shared that it was important to put it out — that it was not likely to stay classified for long, anyway,” he said.

Cheney said that “especially in light of what happened with respect to Iraq and the NIE on weapons of destruction,” officials wanted to be “upfront with what we knew.”

He said he agreed that was “the right call.” So he thought it might leak? “Everything leaks,” he said with a chuckle.

…I wonder whether Dick had already learned that the news of the destruction of the terror tapes had leaked?

Dick Vetted the Intelligence Two Weeks Ago

The NYT provides more details about the intelligence collected in mid-2007 that confirmed the judgment that Iran suspended its nukes program back in 2003. In addition to the intercepted communications, there were also notes from Iran’s military leaders.

Most interesting–at least to those who obsess about the timing of all this–is that the intelligence analysts had to present the raw intelligence to Cheney.

In the end, American intelligence officials rejected that theory, though they were challenged to defend that conclusion in a meeting two weeks ago in the White House situation room, in which the notes and deliberations were described to the most senior members of President Bush’s national security team, including Vice President Dick Cheney.

“It was a pretty vivid exchange,” said one participant in the conversation.

Good to see the Vice President hasn’t lost his affection for twisting arms.

Here’s how this looks in our big timeline: Read more

August 2007 PDB: Iran Not Determined to Get Nukes

ThinkProgress reports Stephen Hadley’s claim that George Bush only learned of the Iran intelligence–judging they have had no nuclear weapon program since 2003–"a few months ago."

QUESTION: Steve, what is the first time the president was given the inkling that something? I’m not clear on this. Was it months ago, when the first information started to become available to intelligence agencies? […]

HADLEY: [W]hen was the president notified that there was new information available? We’ll try and get you a precise answer. As I say, it was, in my recollection, is in the last few months. Whether that’s October — August-September, we’ll try and get you an answer for that.

TP is right: Bush almost certainly continued to war-monger against Iran after learning his war-mongering claims were not true. But I’m equally troubled by the timing of when Bush is purported to have learned this news.

As I noted yesterday, the NIE states that the key piece of intelligence–verifying that Iran had no active nuke program–dates to "mid-2007."

We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons. [my emphasis]

Read more

Intelligence Puts a Crimp in Dick’s War-Mongering

You’ve no doubt heard the news that the NIE on Iran’s nuclear ambitions judges (with moderate certainty) that Iran has no active nuclear weapon program.

That’s great news. But I’m just as interested in the back story of why we got this news in the first place. As the NYT reveals (h/t Danger Room), the Deputy Director of National Intelligence released the NIE to make sure it was accurately represented.

In a separate statement accompanying the N.I.E., Deputy Director of National Intelligence Donald M. Kerr said that given the new conclusions, it was important to release the report publicly “to ensure that an accurate presentation is available.”

Shorter Mr. Kerr: Stephen Hadley’s already madly spinning this result wildly, and I wanted to make sure he didn’t do worse.

But that makes me mighty curious about the timing of this decision. Take a look at the timing in this key judgment.

We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons. [my emphasis]

In other words, the most important key judgment in this NIE (in terms of impeding Dick’s war-mongering, at least) comes from mid-2007. That’s pretty fascinating timing, given the time line of Dick’s attempts to stifle the key judgments on Iran. Here’s a time line taken excerpted from this article. Read more

Waxman Still after Fitz’s FBI Files

Well, it turns out that Waxman has been no happier than we are about Bush obstructing justice pardoning commuting Libby’s sentence. Turns out he asked Fitzgerald for his FBI files (that is, testimony not before the Grand Jury and therefore not subject to secrecy laws) back in July, not long after the commutation. But Bush won’t let him have the files. So now Waxman has sent Mukasey a letter asking for some help getting the files.

I’ll update this shortly, once I make sure the new digs are working…

[Shew, they’re working]

So here’s the key detail from Waxman–defining what he wants, and what he has already gotten:

Transcripts, reports, notes, and other documents relating to any interviews outside the presence of the grand jury of any of the following individuals:

  • President George W. Bush
  • Vice President Dick Cheney
  • Andrew Card
  • Stephen Hadley
  • Karl Rove
  • Dan Bartlett
  • Scott McClellan

Since the Committee’s letter was sent on July 16, Mr. Fitzgerald and his staff have cooperated with the Committee’s investigation and have produced a number of responsive documents to the Committee. Among the documents that Mr. Fitzgerald has produced to the Committee are "FBI302 reports" of interviews with CIA and State Department officials and other individuals.

Read more