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Hannity Repeats The Big Lie About The “Found” WMD’s

Reported by Ellen - July 6, 2006 -

In the third segment about Iraq on last night’s Hannity & Colmes (7/5/06), Sean Hannity and guest, Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra, reiterated Hoekstra’s debunked claim about a report that WMD’s had been found in Iraq. But, rather than discuss Iraq’s WMD capability, the nature of the pre-war threat to the United States or even the war at all, Hannity and Hoekstra focused on blaming the “anti-Bush” Democrats and the media for ignoring the report. But Hannity and Hoekstra never explained why the White House was not giving it much attention, either. They also continued to overlook FOX News’ own report that “a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.”

Hannity and Hoekstra were referring to a newly declassified report saying that there were chemical weapons in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion. However, as an article on FOXNews.com reports, a senior Defense Department official said those weapons were “not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war." As Media Matters has pointed out, intelligence reports from the Iraq Survey Group had already noted the existence of degraded weapons in Iraq and concluded they were potentially a local hazard, but not weapons of mass destruction. David Kay, the former head of the US weapons-hunting team in Iraq characterized the found weapons as "less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sink at this point,"

Nevertheless, Hannity felt he had the Democrats in a supreme “gotcha” moment. He played clips of Senators Durbin, Kennedy, Kerry and others saying there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Then, complaining about the lack of media attention, he tallied the number of news reports from other organizations. Still no mention of that FOXNews.com article saying the weapons were not useable, however.

“These were the weapons we were talking about,” Hannity said disingenuously to Rep. Peter Hoekstra. In fact, Hannity knew that they weren’t. Alan Colmes had mentioned the Defense Department response during the prior discussion of the report on H&C.

Hoekstra acknowledged that “They probably couldn’t be used in their intended format… but the material inside the shell is still very, very deadly.” Comment: So is Clorox but I doubt the coalition of the willing will be invading my local supermarket anytime soon.

Hannity couldn’t resist a little more disingenuousness. “Why didn’t the administration go out and tout ‘In fact, yes we were right,’ and would we ever expect Democrats to acknowledge in fact they were wrong when they called the president a liar every day?”

Hoekstra didn’t have an answer about the White House so he responded by attacking the media and Democrats. “I think you hit on a couple of points there that are very important, Sean," Hoekstra said. “The media doesn’t want to move away from the story that characterizes the president as a liar. There’s been no evidence 9/11, since the war in Iraq that the president misled the Congress, misled the American people.”

Oh, no? What about the Downing Street memo? What about the Joseph Wilson editorial and those 16 words in the State of the Union address?

Alan Colmes didn’t bring them up. But he did confront Hoekstra. “Congressman Hoekstra, you know it’s misleading to claim that these were the weapons the president was talking about. It’s not liberals that said it was degraded, it was our own Defense Department. The White House isn’t coming forward with this story because even its own Iraq Survey Group said that ‘Yeah, there were some weapons still buried in Iraq but not of military significance.’ They’ve said it all along. This is not new information.”

Hoekstra insisted that it IS new info, that liberals were claiming there were no WMD’s. Zero.

Colmes said, “No PROGRAM of WMD’s.” He played a clip of Vice President Cheney saying “Although our coalition has not found WMD stockpiles in Iraq.” Colmes said, “He hasn’t corrected his statement. Is he lying?”

Hoekstra didn’t have an answer for that, either and said, inanely. “It’s not a debate about whether these are the WMD that we went to war over or not. They are there. We expect to find more.”

And I expect to hear this lie repeated again and again on FOX News.