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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bush WMD Statements Were Lies

They were lies and he knew they were lies. This is news? No, but let's keep rubbing it in.-hl

NBC4.com

President George W. Bush's claim three years ago that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq was based on U.S. intelligence that was later proved false, the White House acknowledged on Wednesday.

Spokesman Scott McClellan vigorously denied suggestions that Bush was making claims that already had been debunked when he said that two small trailers seized in Iraq were mobile biological laboratories.

McClellan did not directly answer questions about whether Bush, when he made his statement, was aware that a team of experts had already concluded the trailers were not involved with WMD manufacturing.

"The White House is not an intelligence-gathering agency," McClellan said.(No, it's a propaganda disseminating agency. -hl)

He said Bush was relying on information from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency that said the trailers were used to produce biological weapons - information that later proved false.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that experts on a Pentagon-sponsored mission who examined the trailers concluded that they had nothing to do with biological weapons and sent their findings to Washington in a classified field report on May 27, 2003.

One day later, the CIA and DIA publicly issued an assessment saying the opposite - that U.S. officials were confident that the trailers were used to produce biological weapons. The assessment said the mobile facilities represented "the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program."

The very next day, Bush declared in a Polish television interview, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories."


McClellan said information for public reports from the CIA comes from many sources and takes time to vet.

"It's not something that, they will tell you, turns on a dime," McClellan said.

McClellan dismissed the Post article and a report based on it that aired on ABC News Wednesday morning as irresponsible. He specifically called on ABC to apologize for reporting Bush knew that what he was saying was false.

The actions of the special team were described to a Washington Post reporter in interviews with government officials and weapons experts who participated in the mission or had direct knowledge of it. The final report remains classified.
The trailers along with aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq for what was believed to be a nuclear weapons program - were primary pieces of evidence offered by the Bush administration before the war to support its contention that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction.

Intelligence officials and the White House have repeatedly denied claims that intelligence was exaggerated or manipulated in the months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The Iraq Survey Group concluded in 2004 that there was no evidence that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991.