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Government lied intelligence before { June 21 2003 }

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Saturday, June 21, 2003

Libertarians: Pull plug
on WMD hearings
Party says government has lied about intelligence before

Posted: June 21, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern

There is little sense in Congress holding hearings to determine whether the Bush administration misused or manufactured intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to justify going to war, mostly because if true it wouldn't be the first time, say Libertarian Party officials.

"Surprise! It appears that another U.S. leader has manipulated facts and exaggerated threats in order to whip up war hysteria," said Joe Seehusen, executive director of the nation's third-largest political party.

The Senate this week began hearings into whether the CIA and other intelligence agencies manufactured or altered data regarding Iraq's suspected WMD programs. So far, little evidence has surfaced that Baghdad had the extensive program cited by the Bush administration before the war as justification for invading and toppling Saddam Hussein.

Democrats are especially keen to uncover any evidence of intelligence misuse because they can use it against President Bush in next year's general elections, but some including Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., have said that so far no evidence the White House manufactured intelligence has turned up.

Intelligence analysts testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Thursday stuck by their earlier assessments that Iraq possessed WMD before the U.S.-led coalition invaded, Reuters reported.

But Libertarians remained skeptical, citing instances in the past where Democrats and Republicans allegedly manufactured intelligence evidence to suit military plans.

"Do we really need a congressional hearing to discover that politicians are adept at using words as weapons of mass deception?" Seehusen said, noting that the Libertarian Party opposed the war in Iraq.

In a statement released yesterday, party officials gave examples of when, in the past, presidents and lawmakers have misused intelligence or fabricated data to justify going to war:

In 1898, the U.S.S. Maine blew up off the coast of Cuba, killing over 250 U.S. sailors. Although most historians believe it was an accident, Congress used "Remember the Maine" as a rallying cry to declare war on Spain.

In 1964, a pair of U.S. Navy destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin reported being fired upon by the North Vietnamese, an attack that in reality never happened. Yet President Lyndon Johnson used the incident to win support for a congressional resolution authorizing military force in Vietnam.

In 1990, President George Bush Sr. perpetrated the infamous "babies-being-pulled-from-incubators hoax," which claimed that Iraqi troops had invaded a hospital in Kuwait City, ripped babies from incubators and shipped the incubators off to Baghdad. After the war, it was determined that the story had been fabricated by a Washington public relations firm that had been paid $10.7 million by the government of Kuwait.
With that kind of history of deceit, the party said, it is disingenuous for lawmakers to "pretend" to be "shocked by another misuse of intelligence data."

"Perhaps Congress is hoping that these hearings will shield them from responsibility for a war that didn't have to be fought," Seehusen said. "Keep in mind that last October, 296 representatives and 77 senators voted in favor of a resolution supporting the invasion of Iraq. So every one of these individuals is just as responsible as Bush for the consequences of that decision and convening a hearing won't change that."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said no analysts have told the panel the administration pressured them to make a stronger WMD case than existed.

"If there is anyone in the intelligence community former, current that thinks their analytical product in any way was manipulated or coerced or intimidated, please come forward. We will keep it confidential. But we have yet to hear from the first one," Roberts told reporters.

Bayh said the military and intelligence communities had managed to apprehend some Iraqi officials who may have been involved in WMD programs, but so far, none of them has produced compelling testimony.

"We've apprehended some of the top people in their weapons of mass destruction programs they're not talking yet. My guess is that the key to this lies inside someone's mind who is not yet prepared to tell us what they know," Bayh said, according to Reuters.

He went on to say that much of what could constitute a biological or chemical weapons program could still be hidden in Iraq.

"Hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid anthrax, for example, which would have the potential to do great harm, would fill the size of a swimming pool in someone's backyard," Bayh said. "A potentially devastating amount of smallpox could be hidden in something the size of a jar."

Other senators gave Bush a pass, for the time being.

"The president I'm sure did not mean to mislead the people. I think that he was given bad information and we have to ask, what was the source? Who checked it out?" said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.

The House Intelligence Committee held its second hearing this week on Thursday, but little progress has been reported.

Seehusen said lawmakers and the administration should be more responsible in seeking the truth before resorting to war.

"At the very least, Bush's claims about Iraq seem to have been exaggerated, and at worst, completely untrue," he said. "The way to avoid unnecessary wars in the future is to demand the truth before the war, rather than holding congressional hearings after the war."

Ellsberg gulf of tonkin { August 4 1964 }
Empire of lies { June 15 2003 }
Faked gulf tonkin 1812 { November 19 2002 }
Government lied intelligence before { June 21 2003 }
Gulf of tonkin presidential lies { June 15 2003 }
Maine contraversey
Pretext for vietnam war proven false { December 2008 }
Remember the maine pretext rush { February 15 2003 }
Rememberthemaine { February 15 1998 }
Vietnam war pretext faked { October 31 2005 }
War pretexts maine { May 7 1915 }
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