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Hannity & Colmes Discusses The Phony Grounds For The Iraq War

Reported by Ellen - May 3, 2007 -

While it was perhaps to be expected that FOX News, along with the White House, would go on the attack against Tenet (and they already have), I was very pleasantly surprised to find a discussion that raised serious questions about the legitimacy of the war last night (5/2/07) on Hannity & Colmes. With video.

I nearly fell off the treadmill at the gym as Alan Colmes introduced one of the six CIA agents who have criticized George Tenet for not speaking out earlier about the false pretenses under which the war was started. The agents have written a letter asking Tenet to give back some of his royalties from his book deal to the US soldiers and their families and to return his Medal of Freedom, calling its return “his moral obligation.” You can read more about the letter in Amy Goodman's excellent interview earlier this week with one of the other signers, Ray McGovern.

Former agent Phil Giraldi is a conservative but, as Colmes quoted from the letter, considers the Iraq war “ill-advised and wrongheaded.”

Giraldi confirmed that he thinks the war is “a foreign policy disaster for the United States.” He quickly made it clear, however, that his real issue was Tenet, not President Bush. Giraldi called Tenet an enabler and architect of the war. He said that Tenet “shaped” the intelligence product which “went to the policy-makers like the president, to make the decision that was made.” Hmm, was he saying that Bush wasn't THE decider? That maybe Cheney had a hand in the deception?

Colmes pointed out that the CIA had solid evidence in 2002 that there were no stockpiles of WMD’s and no contact between Saddam Hussein’s inner circle and bin Laden. “Tenet knew that. Did President Bush and Dick Cheney?”

Giraldi ducked the question and changed the subject back to Tenet. “Tenet clearly did know that or at least Tenet was informed of these things. The question becomes, to what extent was Tenet becoming part of the policy process and was trimming the intelligence in a way to support the policy? … The policy was already formed and the intelligence was being formed around the policy.”

Giraldi added that Tenet also knew that “Curveball," one of the principle sources used by him “was, in all likelihood, a fabricator.” Yet, Giraldi pointed out, the bad information from Curveball still wound up in Collin Powell’s speech at the United Nations. Comment: For me, the most memorable and haunting scene from Robert Greenwald’s excellent documentary, Uncovered: The War On Iraq, was the stricken expression on Tenet’s face as he sat behind Powell at the UN. Anyone watching him immediately knew that he knew he had participated in a lie.

Colmes did not follow up on the Bush/Cheney angle but kept the focus on Tenet. Colmes brought up the “slam dunk” issue and pointed out that Tenet’s contention, that he had said spinning the intelligence was a “slam dunk,” was even worse than saying that the intelligence itself was a “slam dunk” because it meant Tenet was admitting he had helped the administration sell the war.

“That’s part of our objection,” Giraldi said. He said officers should present the intelligence objectively and not get involved in policy.

To my further surprise, Sean Hannity dispensed with his usual theatrics and offered an airing of the issues. Hannity allowed Giraldi to discuss the topic and even quoted parts of the letter which called Tenet the “Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community” who should have resigned in protest “when (he) could have made a difference in the public debate.”

Instead of one of his grandstanding attacks, Hannity respectfully asked why Giraldi didn’t acknowledge there was an "honest mistake" over the WMD’s.

Giraldi told him it wasn’t an honest mistake, but a dishonest mistake because Tenet knew there were serious issues and serious problems with the intelligence presented.

Giraldi made it clear he was not saying that Bush knew the intelligence was false. “Apparently, George Tenet may have lied to the president of the United States and the president of the United States may not have been aware of the flaws in the intelligence that he was using.”

If that was the case, then why would Bush have awarded Tenet the Medal of Freedom?