September 10, 2007

For all of you out there who think G.W. Bush deserves to be impeached—I’m with you, of course—we may now have the “smoking gun” which would force the Democrats in Congress to act, even if they do not want to. This is a matter of principle, not politics. I believe a fair reading of Sidney Blumenthal’s investigative report on of last Thursday, September 6th, provides that smoking gun. The title says it all; it is what many of us have suspected for years: “Bush Knew Saddam had No Weapons of Mass Destruction”. The story concerns the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Naji Sabri by name, who was in office at the time of the U.S. invasion, and who was passing “documentary intelligence” to the CIA about Iraq’s WMD—or more to the point, the complete lack thereof—in the months prior to the invasion. Sabri had become a CIA asset, a double agent, an informant from Saddam’s inner circle.

The story is not new. It was first broken by the CIA European Operations Chief, Tyler Drumheller, on CBS’s 60 Minutes in April of 2006, and was contained in his book On The Brink.  It struck me as an amazing and important revelation at the time, but nothing happened in reaction to it. Cheney, Bush and their “neocon” brigades went on their merry way, undisturbed, with no investigation by Congress to find out the truth of Drumheller’s allegations, which were to the effect that Iraq had no WMD, Bush and Cheney knew it, but went ahead to invade anyway. “This isn’t about intelligence. It’s about regime change,” is the way a close aid to Tenet put it at the time, describing the White House obsession.

The general lack of interest by Capitol Hill as to how and why the Bush Administration, under the orchestration of Dick Cheney, railroaded this country into a war in Iraq is passing strange and appears to be puzzling, unless you accept the notion, as I do, that the bipartisan leadership on Capitol Hill was “in on it” from the beginning for purely domestic political reasons unrelated to foreign policy per se, and so does not wish now, in the aftermath, to compromise and divulge its own involvement in the fraudulent enterprise.

Blumenthal’s piece is not an op-ed. He is not writing in his capacity as a Bill Clinton groupie, in an attempt to crucify Bush. It is an investigative report which seems to have come up with 3 new points to add to what Drumheller has already exposed months ago. In my opinion, these new points render Bush impeachable, and the Congress has little choice but to act, irrespective of what Nancy Pelosi thinks.

(1) Two former senior CIA officers have come forward to confirm Drumheller’s account that Bush was personally briefed by CIA chief George Tenet on September 18th 2002, and that Bush had no interest in hearing the good news that Saddam’s WMD had been destroyed under UN supervision, because it did not fit into the Administration’s carefully crafted, preordained plan to invade Iraq. “Bush didn’t give a f—- about the intelligence,” states one of the CIA officers.

(2) Tenet never shared the intel with Secretary of State Colin Powell, which information turned out to be on the money, and was 180 degrees at odds with Powell’s critical February 5th, 2003 speech to the UN Security Council, prepared by Tenet. Powell’s speech urged the UN to approve a U.S.-led invasion, based entirely upon bogus allegations about Iraq’s WMD. The UNSC declined. Was Tenet acting at the direction of Bush or Cheney?

(3) Tenet never shared the Naji Sabri intel with those who were putting together the National Intelligence Estimate for the Senate and Congress. Therefore, “Not a single senator…had an inkling of the Sabri intelligence.” According to one of the CIA officers, the Senate Intelligence Committee “never had the original memo on Sabri…the material was hidden or lost….”

This meant that the Senate voted to authorize Bush’s “preemptive” war based on fantasies of Iraq’s WMD, fabricated largely by the “neocons” at the Pentagon, while concurrently Bush and Cheney and Tenet withheld a credible, covert report from Saddam’s Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, which indicated that Iraq possessed no WMD and was not a threat. In the words of one of the former CIA officers: “…there was nothing there, no threat.” Please note that Tenet does not even mention Naji Sabri in his memoir, At The Center of the Storm. Why not? What does that tell you?

The above scenario of malfeasance is similar to the prosecution deliberately withholding exculpatory evidence in a criminal case. That’s misconduct. The jury cannot consider all the evidence. The case is thrown out. Cheney and Bush—and their “neocon” operatives, Wolfowitz, Feith, and “Scooter” Libby, et al.—conned the Senate, the Congress and the country into a war on a premise they knew to be false, or at least highly suspect. Whom do these people think they are? What was their real motivation? Are we collectively going to allow Cheney and Bush to do it again, this time against Iran? Their deception in launching “Operation Iraqi Freedom” will cost the the U.S. Treasury well over a trillion dollars, has destroyed Iraq as a nation-state, and has killed and maimed thousands of Americans and many more Iraqis. What for?

It is up to the Democrats, now in control of both houses of Congress, to reach out to any sane Republicans left on the other side of the aisle, and draw up articles of impeachment against both President Bush and against the CEO of his Administration, Dick Cheney, for high crimes and misdemeanors. Again, this is a matter of principle, not politics. George Tenet, and his deputy director, John McLaughlin, and Drumheller and the two unnamed, former CIA officers quoted by Blumenthal, should be brought in to testify under oath, as well as the aforementioned “neocons”. In addition, the CIA should pick up Naji Sabri in Qatar, where he lives, and fly him to Washington, under FBI protection. Sabri should be placed under oath before a joint congressional committee as part of the Cheney-Bush impeachment inquiry, or otherwise. Let’s put Patrick J. Fitzgerald in charge of the overall investigation, to insure that it is honest and thorough. Let’s get to the bottom of this conspiracy, one way or the other.


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