Saturday, August 09, 2008

Coming Up Empty

The Ron Suskind thing won't go away. TPM says the recently embarrassed author has now resorted to sliming his own book sources, namely Rob Richer, by publishing a partial transcript of their interview. Here's the money quote:
Yeah, no, exactly. But I couldn't tell you--again: I remember it happening, I remember a terrible brief kinda joking dialogue about it, but that was it
Well, that certainly clears everything up. No wonder they called the nutroot rescue squad and blamed everything on stock bogeyman Doug Feith. Marcy Wheeler reacts:
Now, I'm not at all surprised that Giraldi says Suskind got details wrong. The story always had a fundamental logical flaw (which Giraldi points out), which is that Cheney and CIA hate each other--and particularly hated each other in this period, when OVP believed Tenet had forced DOJ to open the Plame investigation. Note, there is significant reason to believe that Tenet knew Cheney declassified CIA properties over his objections, so things were probably quite tense between CIA and OVP, just as OVP was handing over documents showing that Cheney was the one pushing to leak Plame's identity.
And yet we're supposed to believe Tenet had a love affair with Feith and the OSP? That's not what he indicated in his memoirs (page 347):
Tina Shelton, a naval reservist on Feith's team, gave the presentation, which was titled "Iraq and al-Qa'ida--Making the Case." She started out by saying there should be "no more debate" on the Iraq-al-Qa'ida relationship. "It is an open and shut case", she said. "No further analysis is required." This statement instantly got my attention. I knew we had trouble on our hands.
Read pages 348/49 for more tributes of Doug Feith. Shelton denies Tenet's version. Feith mentions her on page 267 of his stealth book:
Tenet took me back to his office and complimented the briefing as useful, adding that he had "issues" on this subject with some of his people. His remark suggested he was sympathetic to the presentation.
Atta in Baghdad or not, all of this ignores a fundamental reality. The Joint Forces Command, which the left heralded earlier this year when they said there was no operational relationship found between Saddam and al Qaeda, put this in their "Iraqi Perspectives Project" in 2006:
Beginning in 1998, these camps began hosting "Arab volunteers from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, 'the Gulf,' and Syria." It is not clear from available evidence where all of these non-Iraqi volunteers who were "sacrificing for the cause" went to ply their newfound skills.
No need to fake reality.

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