Is He Lying Or Is He the Head of an Intelligence Service So Incompetent That U.S. Security Is in Jeopardy?
Take Your Pick...
By Jon Ponder on 12/4/2007, 2:54pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

In August, the U.S. government intelligence agencies sent word up the chain that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons programs back in 2003. And yet, about two months later, on Oct. 17, 2007, George W. Bush issued a dire warning about Iran's nukes to the American people:

Bush: "I've told people that if you're interest in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

At Bush's news conference today, amid his tired, cringe-inducing towel-snaps at the White House press corps, he denied knowing the Iranian program was suspended in October when he suggested that the apocalypse was nigh:

[BUSH:] I was made aware of the NIE last week. In August, I think it was [Director of National Intelligence (DNI)] Mike McConnell came in and said, we have some new information. He didn't tell me what the information was; he did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze. Why would you take time to analyze new information? One, you want to make sure it's not disinformation. You want to make sure the piece of intelligence you have is real. And secondly, they want to make sure they understand the intelligence they gathered: If they think it's real, then what does it mean? And it wasn't until last week that I was briefed on the NIE that is now public.


Q I understand what you're saying about when you were informed about the NIE. Are you saying at no point while the rhetoric was escalating, as "World War III" was making it into conversation, at no point nobody from your intelligence team or your administration was saying, maybe you want to back it down a little bit?

[BUSH:] No, nobody ever told me that.

Normal U.S. presidents don't generally suggest, especially off-handedly, that the planet is on the brink of World War III. Is it really possible that Bush could have been so woefully uninformed about his own government's intelligence findings that he could make such a world-class blunder?


Every morning, without exception, a senior intelligence official, usually DNI McConnell, presents Bush with a document called the President's Daily Brief (PDB), a top-secret overview of the very latest intelligence about the status of security threats facing the nation.

From August until October 17, Bush was given at least 60 of these daily security briefings. What he would have us believe now is that during all those briefings DNI McConnell failed to inform him about something of no less consequence than Iran's decision to postpone blowing up the world.

If this is true, McConnell, along with every top official at all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, should be fired for dereliction of duty and rank incompetence.

But it is not true, and can't be. Bush had to have known the Iranian program was suspended at the time he made his World War III comment. He was lying then, just as he lied today when he laid blame for his own knowingly false statement on DNI McConnell.

Why would Bush sully the office of the president of the United States with such an outrageous and dangerous lie about Iran? Because keeping America safe is far less critical to George W. Bush than keeping it scared. The climate of fear that he inflamed after the 9/11 attacks --- now relegated entirely to his base --- is all that sustains his grasp on power. Without it, he has nothing.