News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

CIA Veteran Ray McGovern: Cheney Caught in a Lie

Thursday 14th July 2005

From the transcript of Conyers June 16th Downing Street Memo Hearing.

27 Year CIA Veteran Ray McGovern:

I would like to publicly thank the patriotic, courageous whistle-blowers who made available these documents because through them and through of all people Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times we know the answers to a lot of these questions.

By now you know what the Downing Street minutes say. Let me focus in on the phase the intelligence facts were fixed around the policy. How exactly is this fixing accomplished? Rather than speak in generalities, let’s do AOL. Let’s do the anatomy of a lie. We’ll take just one.

You have to pay a little bit of attention here because it flows through a chronology. Here is now it works. On August 26, 2002, less than 5 weeks after the briefing at 10 Downing Street, Vice President Cheney gave a major speech in which he said, "We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we’ve gotten this from the first-hand testimony of defectors including Saddam’s own son-in-law."

This was a lie.

Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, told us just the opposite when he defected in 1995. Again, he told us just the opposite. You can find it on page 13 of his debriefing report. He said, "All weapons, biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed." How did Kamel know this? He was in charge.

They were destroyed in July 2001. I’m sorry, in July 1991 at his order. Why? To prevent the U.N. inspectors from finding them after the war. And everything else, everything else Hussein Kamel told us checked out to be true.

Cheney’s lie would have been able to stand were it not for the conscience of another patriotic whistle-blower who gave the text of Kamel’s debriefing to Newsweek 4 weeks before the war as the drumbeat for war got louder and louder in early-2003. Newsweek broke the story on February 24, 2003, several weeks before the attack, but the information was suppressed by U.S. media.

When Reuters asked then CIA spokesman Bill Harlow about it, he used this entire tray of adjectives branding this report incorrect, bogus, wrong and untrue. The British government took the same line. It mattered not that the evidence was documentary from the official debriefing report of Kamel.

So that’s how it works, folks. That’s how you fix intelligence.

All you need is chutzpa, a very flexible attitude toward truth, slumbering watch dog intelligence committees in the Congress, and a supine press eager to accept official explanations no matter how disingenuous.

Cheney played a superb role in fabricating out of whole cloth a nuclear threat from Iraq, putting wind behind all those mushroom clouds conjured up by the President and Condoleezza Rice to deceive you, the Congress, our elected representatives.

In a 27-year career in intelligence, one encounters many examples of attempts to trim the truth or, as the British minutes put it, fix the intelligence and facts around the policy. It’s in the woodwork. It’s part of the political scene. But I had never known fixing to include the Vice President abrogating the right to turn a key piece of intelligence on its head.

Nor had I in all those years ever known a sitting Vice President to make multiple visits to CIA headquarters to make sure the fix was in, and this is just one example.

There is no word to describe the reaction of professional intelligence officers, active and retired, to the reality that our intelligence community managers were eager to participate in this deceit, and to this deliberate subversion of the oath we all take--the oath we all take to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

Now we’re not talking about Georgetown parlor games here, or worse still, White House fraternity jokes. These are consequential death-dealing lies.

The establishment was all yucking it up at the annual dinner of the Radio and TV news correspondents on March 24th, 2004, as photos showed the president looking under the office furniture, and around this desk are there some weapons of mass destruction here? or maybe they’re over there.

Ha, ha, ha, and you all laughed with him folks; you all laughed with him. I’ll tell you who’s not laughing. Cindy’s not laughing. The father and brother of Specialist--or Sgt. Sherwood Baker’s not laughing.

Cindy’s son was killed 11 days after the show put on by the president looking for weapons of mass destruction. Sgt. Baker was killed 33 days after that big joke, and four months after David Kay came back from Iraq and told us all there were no weapons of mass destruction.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. That’s the scriptural verse chiseled into the marble at CIA headquarters. Well, thanks to the Downing Street minutes, we now know the truth, and the question for us is whether we have enough respect for the Constitution, whether we have enough courage, that we will pursue the purveyors of consequential falsehood, so that the truth can truly make us free. Thank you very much.


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