April 15, 2004

More Lying Liars. So why did CIA Director George Tenet lie under oath in front of the 9/11 Commission? ... He told the Commission that he never met with George Bush in August 2001 because Bush was on vacation in Texas. Now the word is that Tenet misspoke and did in fact travel to Crawford on August 17. Looking at the White House website, Tenet was apparently also there on August 24, but I haven't seen that mentioned in the news yet.

Why would Tenet lie about something so easily verifiable? Beats me. One big reason would be to avoid the obvious follow-up question: "What were those briefings about?" ... I keep saying "lie" because I refuse to believe that George Tenet, making his second public appearance before the Commission, at a time when the August 6 PDB and the threats/warnings have been all over the news, would "forget" that he briefed Bush in Texas. ... The idea of fewer briefings would imply less urgency, but that's hard to spin at this point, since the now-famous "hair on fire" comment was used to describe Tenet himself.

I think the administration believes if they can control the tickle of truth and let it seep out reeeeallllly slowly, most people (getting no help from the media, of course) won't be able to remember all the corrections (or even know the corrections were made). (The mustard gas in a turkey farm being a brand-new example.)

Slate reports that another story has changed. "The official story about the PDB is that the CIA prepared it at the president's request. Bush had heard all Tenet's briefings about a possible al-Qaida attack overseas, the tale goes, and he wanted to know if Bin Laden might strike here. This story is almost certainly untrue. On March 19 of this year, Tenet told the 9/11 commission that the PDB had been prepared, as usual, at a CIA analyst's initiative. He later retracted that testimony, saying the president had asked for the briefing. Tenet embellished his new narrative, saying that the CIA officer who gave the briefing to Bush and Condi Rice started by reminding the president that he had requested it. But as Rice has since testified, she was not present during the briefing; she wasn't in Texas. Someone should ask: Was that the only part of the tale that Tenet made up? Or did he invent the whole thing -- and, if so, on whose orders?"

The Bush Administration's Top 40 Lies About War and Terrorism. ... No Turkee for Time.

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