The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, July 17, 2003  

This Time It’s Syria

They’re still at it. The Bush administration’s war hawks nearly brought more distorted intelligence to Congress this week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (“Intelligence Data on Syria Now Disputed,” by Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay, p. A10). This time the subject is Syria’s suspected weapons program, and the hawk pressing for the release of disputed intelligence reports is Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton:

In a new dispute over interpreting intelligence data, the CIA and other agencies vigorously objected to a Bush administration assessment of the threat of Syria’s weapons of mass destruction that was to have been presented this week on Capitol Hill.

After the objections, the planned testimony by . . . Bolton, a leading administration hawk, was delayed until September.

U.S. officials said in interviews that Bolton was prepared to tell members of a House subcommittee on international relations that Syria’s development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons had progressed to a point that it posed a threat to stability in the region.

The CIA and other intelligence agencies said that assessment was exaggerated.[…]

Bolton’s planned remarks caused a “revolt” among intelligence experts who thought they inflated the progress Syria has made in its weapons programs, said a U.S. official who is not with the CIA but was involved in the dispute.[…]

The CIA’s objections and comments alone ran 35 to 40 pages, the official said.

Why these people have any shred of credibility is a mystery.

Meanwhile, CIA Director George Tenet apparently was all but laughed out of the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing room yesterday, and presidential hopefuls Howard Dean and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) are calling for Tenet’s resignation.

Before that comes to pass, I’m interested in learning more about the role played in Yellowcake-Gate by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. She has a lot more explaining to do.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |