If the case for war lacked a link between September 11 and Iraq, the Vice President would repeatedly cite the meeting that neither American nor Czech intelligence believed had taken place between Mohamed Atta and Iraqi intelligence in Prague: "It's been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attacks," he would say on NBC in December 2001. "We discovered...the allegation that one of the lead hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had, in fact, met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague," he would say on NBC in March 2002. "We have reporting that places [Atta] in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer a few months before the attacks on the World Trade Center," he would say on NBC in September 2002. "The senator has got his facts wrong," he would then say while debating Senator John Edwards during the 2004 campaign. "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11."
This was not a slip of memory in the heat of debate. This was dishonest, a repeated misrepresentation, in the interests of claiming power, so bald and so systematic that the only instinctive response (Did too!) was that of the schoolyard. By June 2004, before the debate with Edwards, Cheney had in fact begun edging away from the Prague story, not exactly disclaiming it but characterizing it as still unproven, as in, on a Cincinnati TV station, "That's true. We do not have proof that there was such a connection." It would be two years later, March 2006, before he found it prudent to issue a less equivocal, although still shifty, version. "We had one report early on from another intelligence service that suggested that the lead hijacker, Mohamed Atta, had met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Prague, Czechoslovakia," he told Tony Snow on Fox News. "And that reporting waxed and waned where the degree of confidence in it, and so forth, has been pretty well knocked down at this stage, that that meeting ever took place. So we've never made the case, or argued the case, that somehow [Saddam Hussein] was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming."
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The Great Lie
Joan Didion on Dick Cheney:
Posted by Nils at 9/20/2006 10:30:00 AM