By Evan Derkacz
Posted on February 6, 2007
It's 4 years and a day since Colin Powell gave his "damning" and almost entirely false speech to the UN that put the final nail in the coffin of what is now over 3,000 American soldiers and over a half million Iraqis.
The press lapped it up, coming as it did from the administration's most skeptical cabinet-member and resident "centrist."
As Iraq devolves into a chaos (the long-awaited 2007 National Intelligence Estimate uses the term "Civil War" to describe parts of Iraq) and the administration marches toward war on Iran, the press has yawned and stretched and tried to come to life. To paraphrase Dolly Parton.
The following is the transcript of the video to the right, featuring two reporters tired of being jerked around by a duplicitous White House. They simply don't trust them. No pumping fists here... just a "finally you're doing your job."
Hat tip to Editor & Publisher for finding this exchange.
Q: Steve, in 2002 and 2003, in the run-up to the Iraq war, the administration made statements that were obviously not borne by facts subsequently. And it later came out that caveats from the intelligence community, caveats from Energy Department analysts, those were left out of public statements of Vice President Cheney, the President, others in the administration. Now when it comes to Iran, you've been saying for months that Iran is a key driver of violence in Iraq. You've said there is evidence tying Iran to attacks in Iraq. You've said that you'd make that evidence public. That supposed to be made public on the 31st.
MR. HADLEY: Right.
Q: It wasn't.
MR. HADLEY: That's correct.
Q: Now you have this report saying it contributes in some way, so does Syria, so do other factors, but it is not, in and of itself, causing the violence, nor would the violence stop if Iranian influence stopped.
MR. HADLEY: I didn't read it that way...
Q: You see it on the second --
MR. HADLEY: "Iraq's neighbors influence and are influenced by events within Iraq. But the involvement of these outside -- is not likely to be a major driver of violence or the prospect for stability because of the self-sustaining character of Iraq's internal sectarian dynamics."
We need to get control of that. Now, to the extent Iraqi support -- sorry, Iranian support is going to extremist groups that are participating in that sectarian violence, it is obviously a factor. And as we talked about it more broadly, they are, of course, a disruptive factor in the region.
The reason we put the intelligence briefing on hold was really two reasons. One, we thought we'd better get the NIE out so people could see the full context, which you now can. And secondly, quite frankly, we want to make sure that if we put out intelligence, the intelligence community and MNFI can stand behind it, because we are sensitive to try and put out the facts as accurately as we can.
Q: When will that be, that briefing?
MR. HADLEY: When this process gets done, the briefing will be -- will come out.I don't think there's a timetable on this point since it's slipped a couple times. We want to get the work done so that we can get people a firm date and that we won't have to change.
Q: Even though it was already scheduled and officials in Baghdad gave a date, they gave a time, and in some cases, they gave a place?
MR. HADLEY: Correct.
Q: And now it's been pushed back. Can we conclude anything from that other than people looked at the intelligence that was set to offered and said, this is not good enough?
MR. HADLEY: No, I wouldn't --
Q: Does that mean there was a willingness to overstate it?
MR. HADLEY: The truth is, quite frankly, we thought the briefing overstated. And we sent it back to get it narrowed and focused on the facts. And that's not a criticism of anybody. It was, in some sense, an attempt to do and address some of the issues in the NIE in a briefing on intelligence of Iranian activity in Iraq. And we thought, hey, why are we doing this? Let's get the NIE out, the coordinated intelligence judgment of the intelligence community. And then with that as context, get a briefing that is focused on and one that we're confident everyone can stand behind.
Q: Mr. Hadley, given the track record on weapons of mass destruction, and recent events that have alleged that intelligence has been cherry-picked and pulled selectively, how can the public be assured that intelligence is driving the policy and not the other way around, that it's being tailored to what the President and the Vice President want the policy to be?
MR. HADLEY: By putting out things like this, the coordinated judgment of the intelligence community, so you can see the intelligence on which the policy was based.
Q: How can we be assured that this wasn't written for that purpose?
MR. HADLEY: Well, you can talk to the intelligence community. This came from the NIC -- the National Intelligence Council. And it came out of that process. It was not a result of a policy process. It was a result of the intelligence process. And there was no effort to put a policy spin on that by the White House. This is a thing we got roughly a day or two before you.
Evan Derkacz is an AlterNet editor. He writes and edits PEEK, the blog of blogs.
© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/evan/47662/