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Give Knight Ridder a Little Credit

Via Dan Froomkin in the Washington Post:

Allegre , who keeps a diary on the liberal Daily Kos blog, reprints the e-mail she got in reply to her note about the Downing Street memo from John Walcott, Washington bureau chief for Knight Ridder newspapers:

Writes Walcott: "Knight Ridder was, in fact, the first American news
organization (more than a week before our local paper here in Washington) to write about the Downing Street memo and the light it shed on the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq.

"And almost six months before the memo was written, in early February
2002, we reported that the President had decided to oust Saddam Hussein and ordered his advisors to begin preparing plans for doing so. To read this and all our other Iraq coverage (we were the only news organization to consistently challenge the administration's assertions about Iraq's WMD programs and ties to al Qaida, go to and click on the Iraq
intelligence and preparations for war buttons. Please feel free to share
that link with anyone else you think might be interested."

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May 5 article

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February 13th to be exact

It's a pretty accurate article, as things turned out. Some things (like troop levels, for example) had yet to be hashed out but, remember Tommy Franks' first press conference from Iraq where he said the plans for invading were completed a year before. I'd bet those plans, apparently coming after this article, better defined the plan for the troops.

Hey, does this sound like John Bolton:

Many nations, including Arab ones, can be expected to question the legality of the United States unilaterally removing another country's government, no matter how distasteful. But a senior State Department official, while unable to provide the precise legal authority for such a move, said, "It's not hard to make the case that Iraq is a threat to international peace and security."

Some in Bush administration have misgivings about Iraq policy

Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott

Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - While President Bush marshals congressional and international support for invading Iraq, a growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in his own government privately have deep misgivings about the administration's double-time march toward war.

These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses - including distorting his links to the al-Qaida terrorist network - have overstated the amount of international support for attacking Iraq and have downplayed the potential repercussions of a new war in the Middle East.

They charge that the administration squelches dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House's argument that Saddam poses such an immediate threat to the United States that pre-emptive military action is necessary.

"Analysts at the working level in the intelligence community are feeling very strong pressure from the Pentagon to cook the intelligence books," said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A dozen other officials echoed his views in interviews with Knight Ridder. No one who was interviewed disagreed...

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