Mr. Levin contrasts Mr. Cheneys recent statements with the truth:
â€œBecause of the many serious issues surrounding the Administrationâ€™s use of pre-war intelligence, the Vice President should hold a press conference and address the legitimate concerns of the American people. The Vice President needs to answer questions, not just attack the questioners.
â€œIn that press conference, the Vice President should explain why he said: â€˜Itâ€™s been pretty well confirmed that [lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the [9/11] attackâ€™ even though the CIAâ€™s pre-war assessment was that â€˜Reporting is contradictory on hijacker Mohammed Attaâ€™s alleged trip to Prague and meeting with an Iraqi intelligence officer, and we have not verified his travels.â€™ The CIA also concluded that â€˜the most reliable reporting to date casts doubtâ€™ on the possibility of such a meeting.
â€œThe Vice President should also answer why he said: â€˜Specifically aluminum tubesâ€¦.We do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weaponâ€™ when the Department of Energyâ€™s intelligence experts concluded before the war that the tubes were probably not intended for that purpose and the State Departmentâ€™s intelligence bureau concluded that â€˜the tubes are not intended for use in Iraqâ€™s nuclear weapon program.â€™
â€œThe Vice President said today that â€˜any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false.â€™ In fact, the President needs to explain why he said â€˜You canâ€™t distinguish between al-Qaeda and Saddamâ€™ and why he said, after Saddam was removed, â€˜Weâ€™ve removed an ally of al-Qaedaâ€™ when the Defense Intelligence Agency had said prior to the war that â€˜Saddamâ€™s regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements.â€™
And, in a similar mode, retired Senator Bob Graham puts the lie to the current Federal Administration’s claim (“talking point”? “lie du jour”?) that the Congress, before the resolution supporting war against Iraq, had access to the same intelligence information as did the Federal Administration:
In the past week President Bush has twice attacked Democrats for being hypocrites on the Iraq war. “[M]ore than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power,” he said.
The president’s attacks are outrageous. Yes, more than 100 Democrats voted to authorize him to take the nation to war. Most of them, though, like their Republican colleagues, did so in the legitimate belief that the president and his administration were truthful in their statements that Saddam Hussein was a gathering menace — that if Hussein was not disarmed, the smoking gun would become a mushroom cloud.
The president has undermined trust. No longer will the members of Congress be entitled to accept his veracity. Caveat emptor has become the word. Every member of Congress is on his or her own to determine the truth.
Not surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal today reported that
A majority of U.S. adults believe the Bush administration generally misleads the public on current issues, while fewer than a third of Americans believe the information provided by the administration is generally accurate, the latest Harris Interactive poll finds.
I wonder why.
Could it be because the current Federal Administration wouldn’t recognize the truth if it arrived gift-wrapped at their front door accompanied by trumpeting heralds?
(For a detailed description of Mr. Cheney’s issues and concerns with veracity, go here.)