Lying Or Incompetent?

Ken AshfordIranLeave a Comment

Joe Biden, on the President’s line that he wasn’t briefed on the new Iran NIE until last week:

“Are you telling me a president who is briefed every single morning, who is fixated on Iran, is not told back in August that the tentative conclusion of 16 intelligence agencies in the United States government said they had abandoned their effort for a nuclear weapon in ’03?” Biden said in a conference call with reporters.

“That’s not believable,” Biden added. “I refuse to believe that. If that’s true, he has the most incompetent staff in … modern American history and he’s one of the most incompetent presidents in modern American history.”

He’s got a point….

UPDATE:  BarbinMD weighs in

Moments ago, speaking in Nebraska, George Bush said:

It is clear from the latest NIE, that the Iranian government has more to explain about its nuclear intentions and past actions.

No, what is clear from the latest NIE is that the Bush administration has more to explain on what they knew and when they knew it. Less than two months ago, when Bush said:

…if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. And I take this very — I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously.

…did he already know that Iran had suspended their nuclear weapons program in 2003? 

U.S. News reports:

Bush said the new intel “contradicting earlier US assessments…would not prompt him to take off the table the possibility of pre-emptive military action against Iran.”

There was a debate about Iraq once.  The issue was whether the intellengence on WMD was flawed and Bush followed it, or whether the intelligence on WMD was mixed and Bush ignored it because he wanted a war anyway.  Looking back on that debate through the prism of Bush today (ignoring the intelligence estimates of the Iran NIE and keeping his war-drun-beating stance), it looks like Bush doesn’t really care about what our intelligence agencies say — then or now.