Frank Rich: Downing Street memo 'proved accurate'
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Saturday April 29, 2006
After a three month hiatus, Frank Rich returns to the New York Times with a column slated for Sunday's edition which asserts that "[e]ach week brings new confirmation" that the Downing Street memo leaked last May has proved accurate, RAW STORY has learned.
Excerpts from Rich's column:
The Downing Street memo -- minutes of a Tony Blair meeting with senior advisers in July 2002, nearly eight months before the war began -- has proved as accurate as "Mission Accomplished" was fantasy. Each week brings new confirmation that the White House, as the head of British intelligence put it, was determined to fix "the intelligence and facts" around its predetermined policy of going to war in Iraq. Today Bush tries to pass the buck on the missing WMD to "faulty intelligence," but his alibi is springing leaks faster than the White House and the CIA can clamp down on them. We now know the president knew that the intelligence he cherry-picked was faulty -- and flogged it anyway to sell us the war.
The latest evidence that Bush knew that "uranium from Africa" was no slam-dunk when he brandished it in his 2003 State of the Union address was uncovered by The Washington Post: The coordinating council for the 15 American intelligence agencies had already informed the White House that the Niger story had no factual basis and should be dropped. Last Sunday, "60 Minutes" augmented this storyline and an earlier scoop by Lisa Myers of NBC News by reporting that the White House had deliberately ignored its most highly placed prewar informant, Saddam's final foreign minister, Naji Sabri, once he sent the word that Saddam's nuclear cupboard was bare.
"There was almost a concern we'd find something that would slow up the war," Tyler Drumheller, a 26-year CIA veteran and an on-camera source for "60 Minutes," said when I interviewed him last week. Since retiring from the CIA in the fall of 2004, Drumheller has played an important role in revealing White House chicanery, including its dire hawking of Saddam's mobile biological weapons labs, which turned out to be fictitious. Before Colin Powell's fateful U.N. presentation, Drumheller conveyed vociferous warnings that the sole human source on these nonexistent WMD labs, an Iraqi emigre known as Curveball, was mentally unstable and a fabricator. "The real tragedy of this," Drumheller says, "is if they had let the weapons inspectors play out, we could have had a Gulf War I-like coalition, which would have given us the ((300,000)) to 400,000 troops needed to secure the country after defeating the Iraqi army."
Times Select subscribers can read full column here
More on the Downing Street memo can be found here and here.