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Bush Fixed the Facts

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    British memo indicates Bush made intelligence fit Iraq policy By Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott Knight Ridder Newspapers WASHINGTON - A highly classified
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7 1:40 AM
      British memo indicates Bush made intelligence fit Iraq policy
      By Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott
      Knight Ridder Newspapers

      WASHINGTON - A highly classified British memo, leaked in the midst
      of Britain's just-concluded election campaign, indicates that
      President Bush decided to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
      by summer 2002 and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence
      data supported his policy.

      The document, which summarizes a July 23, 2002, meeting of British
      Prime Minister Tony Blair with his top security advisers, reports on
      a visit to Washington by the head of Britain's MI-6 intelligence

      The visit took place while the Bush administration was still
      declaring to the American public that no decision had been made to
      go to war.

      "There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now
      seen as inevitable," the MI-6 chief said at the meeting, according
      to the memo. "Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action,
      justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD," weapons of mass

      The memo said "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around
      the policy."

      No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq since the
      U.S. invasion in March 2003.

      The White House has repeatedly denied accusations made by several
      top foreign officials that it manipulated intelligence estimates to
      justify an invasion of Iraq.

      It has instead pointed to the conclusions of two studies, one by the
      Senate Intelligence Committee and one by a presidentially appointed
      panel, that cite serious failures by the CIA and other agencies in
      judging Saddam's weapons programs.

      The principal U.S. intelligence analysis, called a National
      Intelligence Estimate, wasn't completed until October 2002, well
      after the United States and United Kingdom had apparently decided
      military force should be used to overthrow Saddam's regime.

      The newly disclosed memo, which was first reported by the Sunday
      Times of London, hasn't been disavowed by the British government. A
      spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington referred queries to
      another official, who didn't return calls for comment on Thursday.

      A former senior U.S. official called it "an absolutely accurate
      description of what transpired" during the senior British
      intelligence officer's visit to Washington. He spoke on condition of

      A White House official said the administration wouldn't comment on
      leaked British documents.

      In July 2002, and well afterward, top Bush administration foreign
      policy advisers were insisting that "there are no plans to attack
      Iraq on the president's desk."

      But the memo quotes British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, a close
      colleague of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, as saying
      that "Bush had made up his mind to take military action."

      Straw is quoted as having his doubts about the Iraqi threat.

      "But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors,
      and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or
      Iran," the memo reported he said.

      Straw reportedly proposed that Saddam be given an ultimatum to
      readmit United Nations weapons inspectors, which could help justify
      the eventual use of force.

      Powell in August 2002 persuaded Bush to make the case against Saddam
      at the United Nations and to push for renewed weapons inspections.

      But there were deep divisions within the White House over that
      course of action. The British document says that the National
      Security Council, then led by Condoleezza Rice, "had no patience
      with the U.N. route."

      Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the leading Democrat on the House
      Judiciary Committee, is circulating a letter among fellow Democrats
      asking Bush for an explanation of the document's charges, an aide

      URL: http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/11574296.htm

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