Sunday, February 22, 2004

A break in the case of the missing WMDs 

C.I.A. Admits It Didn't Give Weapon Data to the U.N.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 — The Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged that it did not provide the United Nations with information about 21 of the 105 sites in Iraq singled out by American intelligence before the war as the most highly suspected of housing illicit weapons.

The acknowledgment, in a Jan. 20 letter to Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, contradicts public statements before the war by top Bush administration officials.

Both George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, and Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said the United States had briefed United Nations inspectors on all of the sites identified as "high value and moderate value" in the weapons hunt.

The contradiction is significant because Congressional opponents of the war were arguing a year ago that the United Nations inspectors should be given more time to complete their search before the United States and its allies began the invasion. The White House, bolstered by Mr. Tenet, insisted that it was fully cooperating with the inspectors, and at daily briefings the White House issued assurances that the administration was providing the inspectors with the best information possible.

[Is that why the inspectors referred to that information as "garbage"?]

In a telephone interview on Friday, Senator Levin said he now believed that Mr. Tenet had misled Congress, which he described as "totally unacceptable."

[Oh, it's way more than "unacceptable"...it's just as illegal as Martha Stewart lying to HER investigators. When will they perp-walk Tenet?]

Senior administration officials said Friday night that Ms. Rice had relied on information provided by intelligence agencies when she assured Senator Levin, in a letter on March 6, 2003, that "United Nations inspectors have been briefed on every high or medium priority weapons of mass destruction, missile and U.A.V.-related site the U.S. intelligence community has identified." Mr. Tenet said much the same thing in testimony on Feb. 12, 2003.

U.A.V.'s are unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones.

George Tenet isn't going down without taking somebody with him. Ah gah-ron-TEE it.


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