Published Saturday, June 18th on WorldNetDaily.com
By Gordon Prathers
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
By now, all members of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction ought to have fallen on their swords.
Here is the way the commissioners began their report made to President Bush just a month before the London Sunday Times published the so-called Downing Street Memo.
On the brink of war, and in front of the whole world, the United States government asserted that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, had biological weapons and mobile biological weapon production facilities, and had stockpiled and was producing chemical weapons.
All of this was based on the assessments of the U.S. intelligence community.
And not one bit of it could be confirmed when the war was over.
What was contained in the Downing Street Memo that should cause Commission members to fall on their swords?
Well, central to the memo was the report Richard Dearlove – director of the British equivalent of our CIA – made of his just-completed talks with then-CIA Director George Tenet and then-National Security Adviser Condi Rice.
Dearlove reported that "military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
Intelligence was being "fixed"? Now, admittedly, the Commission's report was about U.S. intelligence capabilities.
And the Commission did note that all of these ridiculous charges about Saddam's "reconstitution" of his WMD capabilities – known to have been completely destroyed under U.N. supervision by 1997– were based upon "assessments of the U.S. intelligence community."
But shouldn't the Commission have at least mentioned – if not lamented – the inexplicable failure of our intelligence community to even take note of – much less accept – the reports provided them by the International Atomic Energy Agency, especially in the months leading up to the pre-emptive attack on Iraq to "disarm" Saddam Hussein?
In his final report before being forced to withdraw from Iraq at the end of 1998 by President Clinton, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei had reported:
"The verification activities have revealed no indications that Iraq had achieved its program objective of producing nuclear weapons or that Iraq had produced more than a few grams of weapon-usable nuclear material or had clandestinely acquired such material.
Furthermore, there are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.
But even more significantly, ElBaradei reported:
There were no indications of significant discrepancies between the technically coherent picture that had evolved of Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons program and the information contained in Iraq's "Full, Final and Complete Declaration."
In other words, as of late 1998, the Iraqis were telling the truth!
Nevertheless, in 2002 Bush claimed to have "slam-dunk" intelligence that Saddam had not only reconstituted his nuke programs, but would have nukes to give terrorists within a year or less.
So ElBaradei and his IAEA inspectors went back in and conducted a total of 218 inspections at 141 sites, including 21 sites designated by Bush that the IAEA had never inspected before.
Result? On March 7, 2003, ElBaradei told the Security Council:
"After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq."
Twelve days later Bush invaded Iraq.
There is no evidence that Bush-Cheney-Rice paid any attention whatsoever at any time to the null results obtained in Iraq by the U.N.'s intrusive go-anywhere see-anything inspectors.
On the contrary, there is plenty of evidence that Bush et al. disputed their results and attempted to influence – "fix" is the word Dearlove used – their conclusions.
They even "bugged" ElBaradei and Hans Blix, chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, hoping to learn something they could use to "influence" them.
So, shouldn't the Commission have at least mentioned the fact that U.N. inspectors refuted every one of the specific charges made by Bush-Cheney-Rice-Powell, supposedly based upon U.S. intelligence assessments?
The "yellowcake" from Niger? Forgeries.
The "aluminum" tubes? Rockets.
The mobile "bio-warfare" lab? Hydrogen for weather balloons.
All Bush-Cheney-Rice-Powell charges refuted publicly, with "expert" support.
Nevertheless, the Commission concluded there was no evidence that Bush-Cheney had "fixed" U.S. intelligence so as to provide a justification to wage war on Iraq.
But what is inexplicable is the Commission's failure to note the well-documented attempts by Bush-Cheney to intimidate ElBaradei and Hans Blix and to "fix" the findings of their U.N. inspectors.