Yesterday in his (rightly) angry answer to questions liberally biased reporter Jennifer Loven made regarding the leaked NIE report that supposedly said that the Iraq war made terrorism worse, the President Bush claimed that select contents of this document were released for political purposes, with it being just a little over a month before the 2006 elections. The Washington Post, whether it meant to or not, confirmed this in a story written today by Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus. From the story (emphasis added):
Descriptions of the unseen document in media reports last weekend quoted intelligence officials as saying it described a global terrorist threat that was worsening as a result of the Iraq war. The reports led to an explosion of reaction, with the Bush administration and leading congressional Republicans saying that the published portions did not reflect the document’s balanced view of successes and remaining challenges. It was no accident, Bush charged, that selective and potentially damaging parts had been “leaked” on the eve of the midterm elections.
Democrats, sensing advantage, contended that the administration had withheld a negative assessment for political reasons and demanded its release. The clamor apparently led Bush, in a meeting yesterday with Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte, to authorize publication of the judgments.
Democratic claims of an administration coverup seemed less justified yesterday as it became apparent that the complete classified report had been made available to lawmakers within days of its completion in April.
Copies of the NIE were sent to the House and Senate intelligence, armed services and foreign affairs committees at the time, through normal electronic information channels available to all members, intelligence and congressional sources said. It arrived at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on April 26.
In the House, “there was a bit of a snafu with this particular document,” said a spokesman for Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the intelligence committee chairman. “We had a massive computer failure on our classified side.” The first that the committee knew of its existence was late last week, when “it was requested specifically by a member. That was when it was found and scanned into our system.”
Whether the document was ignored or disappeared into cyberspace, however, it seemed to have made little impact on Capitol Hill at the time. No one in either chamber, on either side of the aisle, requested a briefing or any further information on its conclusions until now, the sources said.
Got that? The document was not “withheld” as Democrats falsely asserted, it was made available. Now, I know that Senators and House members don’t have time to read every little document made available to them, but this one pertained to an assessment of global jihad, and mentioned Iraq in the document, which always sends Democratic representatives tongues wagging. I can’t help but believe that certain Democrats in Washington held on to this CLASSIFIED information until they thought the time was right: a little over a month before the elections, and on the same week that Senator Joe Lieberman was to make a speech about his support for the Iraq war.
Once again, Democrats – and their willing accomplices in the media – show no shame in playing the politics of defeatism regarding an aspect of the war on terror, in this case, Iraq. Anything to get elected, right? Absolutely SHAMELESS.
Andy McCarthy sums up what a lot of people are feeling today (emphasis added):
Whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, jihadism is attractive to tens of millions of people in what is called the Muslim world. Out of a total population of about 1.3 billion, that may not be a very high percentage (although I daresay it is higher than we like to think). But it is the ideology that attracts recruits. Grievances are just rhetoric. If the bin Ladens did not have Iraq, or the Palestinians, or Lebanon, or Pope Benedict, or cartoons, or flushed Korans, or Dutch movies, or the Crusades, they’d figure out something else to beat the drums over. Or they’d make something up — there being lots of license to improvise when one purports to be executing Allah’s will.
It is bad enough when the Muslim charlatans opportunistically use American policies they don’t like for militant propaganda purposes. It is reprehensible when American politicians do it.
Jihadists hate us because they hate us, not because of Iraq. If President Clinton’s Iraq policy was a problem, it was only because he didn’t follow through on it. By threatening to act forcefully but then letting Saddam Hussein and his terror-mongering fester, Clinton played right into al Qaeda’s conviction that America did not have the stomach for a fight and could be attacked with impunity — a conviction that was reinforced when terror attacks were in fact met with paltry, or no, response.
Bush, to the contrary, has chosen to fight al Qaeda where it is standing, figuring captured or dead terrorists can no longer harm Americans. Right now, al Qaeda is standing in Iraq, so that’s where we must fight it — whether or not you agree that we should be there in the first place. It matters nothing that jihadists will use that fight in their recruitment speeches. It matters everything, though, if we withdraw from the fight and they win.
Update I: I tried to pull up this story from The Hill yesterday but couldn’t get the page to load, probably because it was getting hit with a Drudge-o-lanche. Charlie Rangel is threatening to de-fund the war – assuming Dems regain control of Congress, of course. Let’s not forget that Rep. Rangel would lead the House Ways and Means Committee if that happens.
Update II: Was this guy the leaker?
Update III: Jules Crittenden has a must-read on the initial leak of selected portions of the NIE, an interpretation of the newly declassified portions, as well as the role the press and politicians played in this leak.