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Surprise, Surprise: The NYT's Frank Rich Ignores Facts that Undermine His Conspiracy Theory

2:02 PM, Oct 30, 2005 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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For example, Rich writes:

Murray Waas reported Thursday in The National Journal that Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby had refused to provide the committee with ''crucial documents,'' including the Libby-written passages in early drafts of Colin Powell's notorious presentation of W.M.D. ''evidence'' to the U.N. on the eve of war.

Rich, like other liberals, are desperately trying to get the nation to believe that the pre-war intelligence on Iraq was manufactured by a small band of zealots in the Pentagon and the vice president's office, including Cheney himself. Last week, Iraq opponents like Rich were abuzz over the remarks of Lawrence Wilkerson who called the relationship between Rumsfeld and Cheney "a cabal" during a speech in Washington. This week it's the Waas piece. But Wilkerson's other remarks in the same speech combined with the Waas piece actually undermine the "zealots made the wmd up" line.

For instance, Waas, a contributor to the American Prospect, writes:

…whether dissenting views from the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research [INR], the Department of Energy, and other agencies that often disagreed with the CIA on the question of Iraq's programs to develop weapons of mass destruction…

His phrase "programs to develop weapons of mass destruction" leaves the clear impression that INR dissented not only on the nuclear issue (for the record, DOE believed Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program) but also on chemical and biological weapons . But that is not true, according to Wilkerson. Here's what Secretary Powell's chief of staff Wilkerson said the same "cabal" speech:

…I can't tell you why the French, the Germans, the Brits and us thought that most of the material, if not all of it, that we presented at the U.N. on 5 February 2003 was the truth. I can't. I've wrestled with it. I don't know - and people say, well, INR dissented. That's a bunch of bull. INR dissented that the nuclear program was up and running. That's all INR dissented on. They were right there with the chems and the bios….

According to Wilkerson, most, if not all, of the content in Secretary Powell's address -- a speech, Waas writes, that deputy CIA director John McLaughlin told Congress was reviewed to take "out material…that we and the secretary's staff judged to have been unreliable" -- to the UN was believed to be "the truth" by British, German and French intelligence. And INR, Wilkerson states, was "right there with the chems and the bios."

So Powell's speech didn't include the "Libby-written" passages, yet British, French and German intelligence believed it to be "the truth," and INR was "right there" with Powell on "the chems and bios."

Boy, that's quite a conspiracy the vice president engineered.

More on the Murray Waas piece may be found here and Wilkerson's "cabal" speech here.