Sunday, February 08, 2004

Bush knew, Cheney knew, they all knew. 

Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, relegated to page 17, as atrios points out, gives us the lowdown on who knew what, and when:

In its fall 2002 campaign to win congressional support for a war against Iraq, President Bush and his top advisers ignored many of the caveats and qualifiers included in the classified report on Saddam Hussein's weapons that CIA Director George J. Tenet defended Thursday.

In fact, they made some of their most unequivocal assertions about unconventional weapons before the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was completed.

Iraq "is a grave and gathering danger," Bush told the United Nations on Sept. 12, 2002. At the White House two weeks later -- after referring to a British government report that Iraq could launch "a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order" is given -- he went on to say, "Each passing day could be the one on which the Iraqi regime gives anthrax or VX -- nerve gas -- or someday a nuclear weapon to a terrorist ally."

Three weeks later, on the day the NIE was delivered to Congress, Bush told lawmakers in the White House Rose Garden that Iraq's current course was "a threat of unique urgency."

On Thursday, summarizing the NIE's conclusions, Tenet said: "They never said Iraq was an imminent threat."