July 25, 2003
The Amazing Stories of Condoleezza Rice
A BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY | Updated 8/1/03
Condoleezza Rice is the nation’s top national security official. After September 11th, she claimed that the White House had no prior knowledge that Al Qaeda was planning to hijack planes in a terrorist attack. That assertion was proven false. In the months before the Iraq War, Rice repeatedly reassured the public that the U.S. was seeking a peaceful resolution, and that war was not a foregone conclusion. However, it now appears that at the same time she was saying this, she was telling senior State Department officials that the decision to go to war had already been made – well before diplomatic efforts to diffuse the situation even began. Most recently, it appears that she has given three separate, incongruent stories about her role in the massive intelligence breakdown that led to the White House making false statements about Iraq’s nuclear capabilities. It appears that Rice has either been misleading the public about her role in that fiasco, or alternately, has been grossly negligent in not reading the government’s most important intelligence documents.
CONDI’S AMAZING SEPTEMBER 11TH STORY – FALSELY CLAIMED WHITE HOUSE HAD NO PRIOR WARNING OF HIJACKINGS
On May 16th, 2002, Rice said “I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon. [No one predicted] that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile,"[CBS News, 5/17/02]. But according to the bipartisan 9/11 commission report, “intelligence reports from December 1998 until the attacks said followers of bin Laden were planning to strike U.S. targets, hijack U.S. planes, and two individuals had successfully evaded checkpoints in a dry run at a New York airport,” [Reuters, 7/24/03]. More specifically, “White House officials acknowledged that U.S. intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks that bin Laden's terrorist network might try to hijack American planes.” [ABC News, 5/16/03]
CONDI’S AMAZING PEACE STORY – PUBLICLY CLAIMED TO SEEK PEACE, WHILE TELLING STATE DEPT. WAR PRE-DETERMINED
Throughout 2002 and early 2003, Rice repeatedly insisted that the Administration sought a peaceful solution to the Iraq conflict and that war was only a last resort. In October of 2002, she said, “We're going to seek a peaceful solution to this. We think that one is possible” [CBS, 10/20/02]. Then in November of 2002, she said, “We all want very much to see this resolved in a peaceful way” [Briefing, 11/21/02]. In March of 2003, she claimed “we are still in a diplomatic phase here” [ABC, 3/9/03]. However, according to Richard Haas, Bush’s director of policy planning at the State Department, the decision had already been made by July of 2002. When asked exactly when he learned war in Iraq was definite, Haas said, “The moment was the first week of July (2002), when I had a meeting with Condi. I raised this issue about were we really sure that we wanted to put Iraq front and center at this point, given the war on terrorism and other issues. And she said, essentially, that that decision's been made, don't waste your breath. And that was early July. So then when Powell had his famous dinner with the President, in early August, 2002 [in which Powell persuaded Bush to take the question to the U.N.] the agenda was not whether Iraq, but how” [New Yorker, 3/31/03]
CONDI’S AMAZING IRAQ-NUKE STORY #1 – FALSELY CLAIMED WHITE HOUSE DID NOT KNOW OF NUCLEAR MISGIVINGS
When questioned about why she did not raise objections to the bogus Iraq-nuclear claim in Bush’s State of the Union speech, Rice said on June 8 that "no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery” [AP, 7/23/03] However, a month later, the White House acknowledged that “the CIA sent two memos to the White House in October voicing strong doubts about a claim President Bush made three months later in the State of the Union address that Iraq was trying to buy nuclear material in Africa” [Washington Post, 7/23/03].
CONDI’S AMAZING IRAQ-NUKE STORY #2 – ADMITTED WHITE HOUSE KNEW MISGIVINGS, FALSELY CLAIMED CIA APPROVED
Rice told reporters on July 11th that the CIA “cleared the speech in its entirety.” As AP reported, “if Tenet, the CIA director, had any misgivings, he never shared them with the White House, she said.” However, “Stephen Hadley, Rice's top aide, said on July 23 that in fact he received two memos from the CIA and a phone call from Tenet last October warning him that evidence that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium in Africa was not reliable. One memo was also directed to Rice.” [AP, 7/23/03]
CONDI’S AMAZING IRAQ-NUKE STORY #3 – ADMITS CIA OBJECTED, THEN CLAIMED THAT SHE SIMPLY DIDN’T READ MEMO
Facing questions over Rice’s changing stories, the White House then attempted to deflect criticism by claiming that Rice and Bush both failed to even fully read the intelligence documents they were given - as if negligence obviates responsibility for misleading the nation. As the Washington Post reported, on the eve of war, “President Bush and his national security adviser did not entirely read the most authoritative prewar assessment of U.S. intelligence on Iraq, including a State Department claim that an allegation Bush would later use in his State of the Union address was ‘highly dubious,’ White House officials said.” That assessment, called the National Intelligence Estimate, is considered the U.S. government’s most important intelligence document and contained “a classified, 90-page summary that was the definitive assessment of Iraq's weapons programs by U.S. intelligence agencies” [Washington Post, 7/19/03]. When asked about Rice’s new claim to not have read critical CIA memos sent directly to her that debunked the Iraq-nuclear claim, Stephen Hadley, Rice’s top aide, admitted “I can't tell you she read it. But in some sense, it doesn't matter. Memo sent, we're on notice.” [AP, 7/23/03]
CONDI’S AMAZING IRAQ-NUKE STORY #4 – CLAIMS NO ONE SAID IRAQ POSED A NUCLEAR THREAT WITHIN A YEAR
trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Nobody ever said that it was
going to be the next year."
could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year."
regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could
build one within a year."
Saddam Hussein has the scientists and infrastructure for a nuclear
weapons program and has illicitly sought to purchase the equipment
needed to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should his regime acquire
fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within
Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear
weapon within a year."
* * *
Stay Tuned, we're sure there will be more . . .
The Amazing Stories of Condoleezza Rice
A BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
Articles in the BuzzFlash Contributor section are posted as-is. Given the timeliness of some Contributor articles, BuzzFlash cannot verify or guarantee the accuracy of every word. We strive to correct inaccuracies when they are brought to our attention.
otherwise noted, all original
content and headlines are © BuzzFlash.