|WASHINGTON President George W. Bush acknowledged Monday that he had ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq to respond to critics who alleged that he had manipulated intelligence to justify the war.|
Bush offered his first comment on a prosecutor's disclosure last week that he had authorized Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, I. Lewis Libby Jr., to declassify Iraq intelligence.
The disclosure prompted a firestorm of criticism from Democrats, who charged Bush was a hypocrite who denounces leaks of information while becoming the "leaker-in-chief." A Republican ally, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, urged Bush on Sunday to "tell the American people exactly what happened."
|"A senior administration official confirmed for the first time on Sunday that President Bush had ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq in an effort to rebut critics who said the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein," reported David Sanger and David Johnston in the New York Times Monday.|
For the first time? Here's the AP's Tom Raum on July 20, 2003: "The White House declassified portions of an October, 2002 intelligence report to demonstrate that President Bush had ample reason to believe Iraq was reconstituting a nuclear weapons program."
"The unusual decision to declassify a major intelligence report was a bid by the White House to quiet a growing controversy over Bush's allegations about Iraq's weapons programs," wrote Dana Milbank and Dana Priest in the Washington Post the day before.
|We're more reluctant to reexamine old news even when there are new developments, if the new developments run counter to journalistic memes. Here's a story you didn't read on the front page: Among the captured Iraqi documents recently released to the public is a March 17, 2001 memo from an Iraqi air force brigadier general soliciting volunteers from his command for a suicide mission to "strike American interests." Gee, in what sort of suicide mission would pilots have been useful?|
Another document, released Friday, has not yet been translated from Arabic, but notations on it indicate it describes the movement of chemical and biological weapons.
But Saddam had no ties to terror groups, and he had no WMD. We told you so.