Former anti-terror czar: 'Someone should have to pay' for Bush administration lies
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Friday June 6, 2008

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The Senate Intelligence Committee has released the long-delayed final phase of its report on prewar intelligence, highlighting the Bush administration's misuse of that intelligence to lead us into war in Iraq. Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism advisor to both the Clinton and Bush administrations, appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann to discuss the implications of the report.

Clarke stated unequivocally that figures in the administration lied then and that Senator John McCain is not telling the truth now when he defends them. "Someone should have to pay in some way," Clarke emphasized. "I just don't think we can let these people back into polite society."

"The report does not use the word 'lie,' Olbermann began. "Are there lies?"

"There certainly are," Clarke replied. "This is a big report, but what it says is 'statements by the president were not substantiated by intelligence ... statements by the president were contradicted by available intelligence. In other words, they made things up ... that people in the intelligence community at the time knew were not true. ... To say that this is only something we could have known years later is just not true."

"What are we to make now of Senator McCain's ... remarkable claim that every intel assessment of the time was screaming 'WMD'?" asked Olbermann.

"Senator McCain's statements are contradicted by the facts, too," Clarke replied firmly. "He's also now justifying the intelligence statements of the president. ... We have the proof, four years too late, that those statements were flat out wrong."

"Prominent Democrats said today that impeachment was not a remedy to this," Olbermann continued. "Is there some other kind of remedy?"

"There may be some sort of truth and reconciliation commission process," Clarke said, referring to the system used in South Africa to expose and resolve the atrocities of the apartheid era. "If you come forward and admit that you were in error ... then you are forgiven. Otherwise, you are censured in some way."

"I just don't think we can let these people back into polite society," continued Clarke, "and give them seats on university boards and corporate boards and just pretend that nothing ever happened, when there are 4000 American dead and 25,000 Americans grievously wounded. ... Someone should have to pay in some way for the decisions that they made to mislead the American people."

Clarke concluded by pointing out that even former White House press secretary Scott McClellan is now expressing remorse for his role in the administration's deceptions. "He asked me to forgive him, and I think we do have to forgive people who ask for forgiveness," Clarke stated. "But first they have to admit they lied."

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast June 5, 2008.

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