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Newsweek: Cheney ally blasts Pentagon's report on pre-war intel
RAW STORY
Published: Thursday February 15, 2007
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A ally of Vice President Cheney has blasted the Pentagon's report on pre-war intelligence, Newsweek reports in an exclusive online article.

"In a blistering internal memo obtained by NEWSWEEK, Eric Edelman, under secretary of defense for policy, characterized portions of the inspector-general's report as 'egregious,'" Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball write for Newsweek. "Edelman—the Pentagon’s No. 3 official—also staunchly defended the actions of his predecessor, Douglas Feith, who has been criticized for his pre-war efforts to promote the idea that Saddam Hussein's regime had a relationship with Al Qaeda."

Excerpts from article:

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The protests of Edelman—and his success in getting acting Pentagon Inspector-General Thomas Gimble to drop recommended policy changes from his report—shows how current and former Cheney aides still wield their clout throughout the government.

During the run-up to the Iraq war, Edelman served as Cheney’s foreign-policy adviser, directly under the vice president’s then chief of staff and national-security aide I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. After a two-year stint as ambassador to Turkey, Edelman was then nominated by President Bush in 2005 to replace Feith, a key ally of the vice president’s office in the often-contentious pre-war debates over Iraq intelligence.

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But after reviewing a copy of Gimble’s draft, Edelman wrote a 52-page response, dated Jan. 16, 2007, that rejected virtually everything the inspector-general had to say (except Gimble's conclusions that Feith’s activities were not illegal). Edelman described the report as having “numerous factual inaccuracies, omissions and mischaracterizations.”

At the same time, Edelman challenged the competency of Gimble even to weigh in on the “appropriateness” of Feith’s work, saying that the inspector-general’s “opinion” on this issue “is not entitled to any particular deference” because he “does not have special expertise” on an issue that is “fraught with policy and political dimensions.”

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FULL ARTICLE CAN BE READ AT THIS LINK