Wednesday, July 07, 2004

On Second Thought...No, We're Still Right

Despite Vice President Cheney's assertions that he had information on the connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda that the 9/11 Commission lacked and that he "'probably' knew things about Iraq's links to terrorists that the 10-member bipartisan panel did not know," the 9/11 Commission has claimed that this is not the case.

As reported in today's New York Times, "The leaders of the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks on Tuesday disputed Vice President Dick Cheney's suggestion that he probably had access to more intelligence than the commission did about possible ties between the Qaeda terrorist network and Iraq.

In a one-sentence statement, the panel's chairman and vice chairman said that 'after examining available transcripts of the vice president's public remarks, the 9/11 commission believes it has access to the same information the vice president has seen regarding contacts between Al Qaeda and Iraq prior to the 9/11 attacks.'"

In an odd twist of double-speak, the administration is claiming that this refutation of Cheney's claims is good news, and somehow consistent with Cheney's position all along. "A spokesman for Mr. Cheney, Kevin Kellems, said on Tuesday that the White House welcomed the statement, calling it proof that the White House had fully cooperated in providing the panel all available intelligence relevant to its work."

But if the White House had provided all the relevant intelligence, and the 9/11 Commission stated that they had found no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and al-Qaeda based on this intelligence, what was Vice President Cheney talking about when he claimed to be privy to exclusive information not viewed by the 9/11 Commission that showed there was a collaboration?

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