Monday, February 27, 2006

VA NEWS FLASH - 02-27-06 #5

VA NEWS FLASH from Larry Scott at VA Watchdog dot Org -- 02-27-2006 #5       


WASHINGTON STATE PROPOSES MORE FUNDING FOR VETERAN PTSD

TREATMENT -- ONLY NEW JERSEY AND WASHINGTON HAVE

STATE-FUNDED PTSD PROGRAMS

 

 

Story here... http://heraldnet.com/stories/06/02/27/100loc_a1vets001.cfm

Entire story below:

---------------

State reaches out to veterans torn by trauma

More money to treat post-traumatic stress disorder is written into budget proposals.

By Blythe Lawrence
Herald Writer

OLYMPIA - The effects of the war in Iraq are beginning to reverberate in the state Legislature.

A state-funded treatment program for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder could receive an extra $170,000 this year, enough to serve another 130 soldiers should they need help when they return from Iraq.

The funds are in a $500,000 package for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the budgets proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, the House of Representatives and state Senate.

Only Washington and New Jersey have state-funded PTSD treatment programs. Washington is the only state with an increasing number of veterans, said Tom Schumacher, who runs the Everett-based program.

Other states rely solely on federal funding to maintain their PTSD programs and for helping soldiers readjust to civilian life, though many emotionally wounded veterans shy away from them, Schumacher said.

Of the 10,000 National Guardsmen and reservists already returned from combat duty to Washington state, Schumacher estimated that 4,000 of them will have readjustment issues or full-blown PTSD.

"Can we ever do enough? Probably not," Schumacher said. Nevertheless, "It's up to us to be the example of what should be done."

Living with trauma

Robin Milonas of Lakewood went to Afghanistan in 2003. The 47-year-old grandmother spent a year as a civil affairs officer on the country's largest Air Force base.

She traveled to surrounding villages. Once, she found a boy lying facedown in a puddle of water. She wasn't allowed to touch him. Another time a child who had stepped on a land mine and lost his leg was brought to her at the gate of the military compound.

When she returned home, she battled feelings of guilt.

"When I can look and see my own grandson in this kid's face, it kind of ate at me," she said. "I still feel guilty."

Within months, she was having nightmares.

Killing or seeing death firsthand unleashes "a plethora of emotions," Schumacher said. "You go home to your own family knowing there's another family out there going through something because of what you had to do."

Coming home

In war, the challenge is staying alive. Back home, it's figuring out how to live.

Returning soldiers tend to be hyperalert, suspicious and tense. It's a normal reaction in combat situations, said Arlington resident Ernie Butler, a Vietnam veteran.

"They're living each day of their life in fear of the next step," Butler said.

In Vietnam, it was walking through the jungle. In Iraq, it's fighting door to door, he said.

Most veterans will not want to face up to PTSD symptoms, Schumacher said. When he helped set up Washington's PTSD program in 1984, he found veterans suffering from the disorder living in remote areas "just to get away from society," he said.

"They're going to be the last ones yelling about PTSD," Butler said. "You're a young Marine, you're not going to admit to PTSD. It's a sign of weakness."

Helping veterans is a priority of state legislators this session. Eleven laws are in the works to give soldiers more support in finding work, buying a home and attending college.

"The federal government has failed them," said Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, said of returning troops. "We ought to do all we can for them."

---------------

 

Larry Scott

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http://www.vawatchdog.org/newsflash/newsflash02-27-2006-5.htm

Veterans Face Budget Cuts in 2008

Bush to veterans: DropDead
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060227/ap_on_go_pr_wh/budget_cuts_veterans

Kool Aid or port

Drinking port or Kool -Aid, 2006 style

The Bush Administration greedquid pro quohypocrisy
It's something of a mystery why the Bush administration is so cavalier
about this sale - yes, the Bush family has plenty of personal financial
connections to Arab sheikdoms
<http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2006/02/24/ports_controversy/index_np.html>.
And yes, members of the Bush administration have direct financial ties
<http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022206Z.shtml> to Dubai Ports World.
But surely they'd never put their own personal financial gain ahead of
national security. Perish the thought.

Yet George remains remarkably steadfast in his desire to outsource
American port operations to the United Arab Emirates. First he
threatened to veto
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4737940.stm> any attempt by
Congress to block the deal - which would be the first veto of his entire
presidency, by the way - and then the White House announced that they
wouldn't even reconsider approval. "There are questions raised in the
Congress, and what this delay allows is for those questions to be
addressed on the Hill," said
<http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ/MGArticle/WSJ_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1137834348588&path=%21nationworld&s=>
National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. "There's nothing to reopen."

This despite the fact that by law the Committee on Foreign Investment in
the United States (CFIUS) is supposed to conduct a mandatory 45-day
review of the transaction in cases where "the acquirer is controlled by
or acting on behalf of a foreign government," and, "the acquisition
could result in control of a person engaged in interstate commerce in
the U.S. that could affect the national security of the U.S." But for
some reason, that review did not occur
<http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/22/politics/22port.html?pagewanted=2&_r>
- and nobody knows why.

Not only that but it was revealed late last week that the Department of
Homeland Security initially raised concerns
<http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060225/ap_on_go_pr_wh/ports_security>
about the deal during the review that the administration did conduct.
(In case you were wondering, that review was conducted in secret.)

It seems that the Bushies' main argument thus far
<http://www.newshounds.us/2006/02/22/fox_news_dems_are_demagoguing_port_issue.php>
has been to claim that if the operation of American ports is not sold to
the UAE, we will risk offending Arab nations. Funny, they didn't seem to
be quite as concerned when we were, say, shocking & aweing them into
submission, or, you know, wrapping Guantanamo Bay detainees in the
Israeli flag and forcing them to watch gay porn
<http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/13945827.htm>.

3The Bush Administration hypocrisylying
The most bizarre excuse to come from Bush & Co. over the past week was
that - hey, they didn't even know about the ports deal until it was
done! As if that should make everyone feel better.

Not only was Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff unaware of the
deal, he wasn't even aware "that his agency was leading the review until
after the deal's approval," according to
<http://www.washtimes.com/national/20060224-123748-3727r.htm> the
Washington Times.

Treasury Secretary John Snow said he didn't know about the deal either,
despite the fact that he was supposedly head of the panel that cleared
it
<http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=bondsNews&storyID=2006-02-22T214417Z_01_N22219020_RTRIDST_0_SECURITY-PORTS-SNOW-UPDATE-2.XML>.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said
<http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11521239/> "I wasn't aware of this until this
weekend."

And the White House claimed
<http://today.reuters.com/business/newsarticle.aspx?type=tnBusinessNews&storyID=nN2394171>
that Bush didn't know about the deal until he read about it in the
newspapers. Unfortunately that claim was debunked by Scott McClellan,
who announced last week that Bush has known about the deal since
February 16
<http://www.canofun.com/blog/videos/2006/KoPorts21CardBush.asx>. (Video
courtesy of CanOFun.com <http://www.canofun.com/blog>.)

But hey, it's nothing to worry about. After terrorizing us for years
with color-coded threat levels, dire tales of WMDs, and suggestions that
people stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting, George W. Bush now
says
<http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1140692419618&call_pageid=968332188854&col=968350060724>
that "people don't need to worry about security."

See? All we have to do is trust him, and everything will be fine. After
all, the Bush administration has shown itself to be really
<http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/06/iraq.wmd.report/> trustworthy
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A44801-2003Mar28?language=printer>
in <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/10/29/iraq/main580661.shtml> the
<http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/scotus/la-na-abramoff30jan30,1,2814868.story?coll=la-news-politics-supreme_court>
past <http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/07/18/cia.leak/>, right?

4The Bush Administration covering your assexcessive spin
Speaking of trusting the Bush administration, how's that liberation of
Iraq going? Back in September of 2004, we noted that a National
Intelligence Estimate
<http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0916-02.htm> "spell[ed] out a
dark assessment of prospects for Iraq." (See Idiots 171
<http://www.democraticunderground.com/top10/04/171.html>.) The NIE said
that the best case scenario for Iraq was that "political, economic and
security stability would remain tenuous," and the worst case scenario
was all-out civil war.

Why am I not surprised to see the worst case scenario unfolding? Reuters
reported <http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/MAC534740.htm> last
week that:

A car bomb killed eight people and wounded 31 at a market in the holy
Shi'ite city of Kerbala, south of Baghdad.

Near Baquba, police said gunmen killed 12 members of one family in what
they said was a sectarian attack on Shi'ites.

Mortars fell on Shi'ite Sadr City in Baghdad, killing three people in
one house, a Sadr aide said. Three others were killed in north Baghdad
by a mortar apparently aimed at a Sunni mosque.

Three security men were killed in separate gun and bomb attacks on the
funeral cortege in western Baghdad of an Iraqi journalist killed as she
reported in Samarra on Wednesday.

Don't worry though, because according to the U.S. military, none of this
is actually happening. Said
<http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060223/pl_afp/iraqunrestus_060223155005>
coalition spokesman Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch last week, "Some drive-by
shootings against mosques have been reported ... that's where we are. So
we are not seeing civil war igniting in Iraq. We are not seeing 77, 80,
100 mosques damaged in Iraq. We are not seeing death on the streets."

Really? Reuters also reported
<http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060223/ts_nm/iraq_dc> last week that, "The
largely untested Iraqi police and army will be in the front line of
Shi'ite-led government attempts to stop previously expected protest
marches on Friday over the bloodless but symbolic bombing of Samarra's
Golden Mosque and revenge attacks that officials reckon have killed more
than 130 people. Seven U.S. soldiers were killed in two attacks on
Wednesday."

If that's "not seeing death on the streets," I'd hate to see what death
on the streets looks like. Although I have a very bad feeling that we'll
be finding out in the not too distant future.

5Fox News excessive spin
Last week George Will penned a column
<http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060223/news_lz1e23will.html>
explaining why conservatives are happier than liberals. He wrote:

Conservatives' pessimism is conducive to their happiness in three ways.
First, they are rarely surprised - they are right more often than not
about the course of events. Second, when they are wrong they are happy
to be so. Third, because pessimistic conservatives put not their faith
in princes - government - they accept that happiness is a function of
fending for oneself. They believe that happiness is an activity - it is
inseparable from the pursuit of happiness.

See, I have a different theory. I think that conservatives are happier
than liberals because they tune in to shit like this
<http://mediamatters.org/items/200602240003> all day long:

So there's your answer, liberals - if you want to be as cheerful as
conservatives, just toke the Fox News crack pipe 24/7.

Source: http://www.democraticunderground.com/top10/06/234.html

2/24/2006 Not for childern

The White House Katrina Report: Bush Ain't To Blame:
The report on the White House's own "investigation"
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned/index.html>
into the federal "response" to Hurricane Katrina starts with a hand job
of a letter
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned/letter.html>
from homeland security adviser and point person Frances Fragos Townsend
to the ever-dreamy President Bush. Townsend unzips Bush's slacks and
reaches in, ferreting around for his erect cock and, a-ha, finds it:
"You often remind us that your most solemn obligation as President is to
protect the American people." Then, pulling it free from its clothy
cover, for, indeed, a hand job is always better when there's no friction
from pants or panties, Townsend goes to work, pumpin' that butter churn
for all she's worth: "When you addressed the Nation from Jackson Square,
New Orleans, on the evening of September 15, 2005, you ordered a
comprehensive review of the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina...At
your direction, we assembled a team of experienced professionals
dedicated to this mission. In addition, we enjoyed a tremendous
partnership with each of your Cabinet Secretaries." We shall return to
this scene of ball-tickling glee.

The report basically says that the problem with the response was that
Hurricane Katrina was big, really big, oh-so-fucking big,
yes-we're-all-really-impressed-down-here big, and, apparently, the Bush
administration can only think small, unless it comes to blowing shit up,
not having shit blown up for them. In fact, if you're too stupid to
understand just how goddamn big Katrina was, there's handy graphs
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned/chapter1.html>that
compare Katrina to other natural disasters. See Figure 1.2 there? Notice
how big Katrina is next to wee little Camille, Andrew, and Ivan. It's
like the difference between getting jacked off on by three midgets and
getting fucked and fisted by John Holmes (he had large hands, too).
Don't you get it? the report says: it was a big storm.

The rest of the report is a great pile of crap you've heard before, with
major props
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned/appendix-b.html>
thrown to religious organizations for stepping in where the government
was absent. But the basic lesson of the report is this: President Bush
isn't to blame for anything. In fact, really, he was vicariously there
pulling black babies out of the polluted waters because he was being
told about it and saw shit on the TV.

It's stomach churning, like you're gonna vomit and dry heave for days,
when you go through the report, with its shiny, glossy cover, how you
realize that the reason for its existence is to solely provide a similar
cover for the President. Each chapter
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned/chapter3.html>
says that President Bush did this, President Bush did that, no, really,
c'mon, he wasn't just off doing publicity stunts to boost his popularity
- he was totally engaged, man, totally. The other part that's telling?
The sections where the President isn't mentioned, like he's simply not
part of the story, as in most of the chapter
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned/chapter4.html>
on the storm itself and its immediate aftermath. And as far as
recommendations
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned/chapter6.html>,
everybody else has gotta shuffle shit around, but the President needs
more power, says the report, ironically titled Lessons Learned. The
lesson learned is obvious: everyone failed the President. Boo-fuckin'-hoo.

Townsend finished
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/02/20060223-5.html> her
handjob at her press briefing
<http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/24/politics/24katrina.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1140793247-Tf+TpWlxZjAlEZ3vS1YQoA>on
the report. You know what it takes to get that little pecker to fire,
the last big yanks, the squeezing, and when Townsend told the reporters,
"Those of us in government must take the lead, and President Bush made
clear he is doing just that. Like all Americans, he was not satisfied
with the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and he accepted
responsibility for the shortcomings in the federal response. He demanded
that we find out the lessons, that we learn them and that we fix the
problems, that we take every action to make sure America is safer,"
well, who could postpone blowing a load at that moment?

Of course, Frances Townsend was on vacation
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/15/AR2006021500279.html>in
Maine during Katrina, so maybe all of this is news to her. But at least
the President seemed pleased
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/02/20060223-1.html>with
her hand job abilities.

Source: http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/

Today's Question: Why was dear leader known as George Felcher Bush in
Skull & Bones?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Like A Free Ride

Why do they hate Americans?
http://dailydelay.blogspot.com/2006/02/like-free-ride-when-youve-already-paid.html

veterans health care

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is an op ed by Thomas L. Bock, regarding VA health care. Tom Bock is national commander of the 2.7 million-member American Legion, the nation's largest veterans organization:

Veterans Divided are Easily Conquered on VA Health Care

Generations of Pvt. Ryans have laid their lives on the line for America. They stormed the beaches on D-Day. They marched on frostbitten feet across war-torn Korea. They waded through swamp water in the Mekong Delta, rescued refugees from rooftops, intercepted missiles, flew reconnaissance missions, swabbed decks and removed tyrants from power. They may have earned a place in the Veterans Day parade, but far too many are denied access to VA medical care.

The decision to lock VA's doors to all but those with service-connected disabilities or economic hardship is not what America wanted or expected. It's not what veterans deserve.

In 1996, Congress wisely reopened VA medical facilities to all veterans. Upon enrollment, they were placed into priority groups. There used to be seven. Now there are eight. Group 1 receives the highest priority of care, Group 8 the lowest. In January 2003, the VA secretary suspended new enrollment of Priority Group 8 veterans, effectively capping the system, leaving out in the cold anyone in that category who came looking for a VA doctor after that deadline.

At a press conference Friday in Indianapolis, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer, R-Ind., was clear about one thing: the Group 8 suspension is not going to be lifted anytime soon, probably ever. Because VA health care has not been properly funded to meet the expectations of the 1996 law, veterans who fought proudly for America are denied the thanks of a nation that believes they earned the benefit of VA access.

Who are these Priority Group 8 veterans?

They come from all walks of life. They may or may not have seen combat. They might make less than $30,000 a year. They might have 10 or more prescriptions a month. VA defines them, not so simply, as "Veterans who agree to pay specific co-payments with income and/or net worth above the VA Means Test threshold and the Housing and Urban Development's geographic index." These veterans are further divided into two smaller fractions: non-compensable, 0-percent service-connected disabled veterans and non-service-connected veterans. Through such definitional haze, veterans are divided and conquered, one priority group at a time, for the sake of not having to pay for them.

Title 38, U.S. Code, says veterans in Groups 1 through 6 are "entitled" to VA health care. All other veterans are "eligible" within existing appropriations. That's a big loophole, written into the 1996 law, just in case caring for veterans became too expensive. Group 7 veterans, because of that loophole, are susceptible to the same fate as Group 8s. No phrase in government is more subjective than "within existing appropriations." Honorable military service, the only meaningful definition of the word "veteran," is no longer reason enough to let a former servicemember visit a VA doctor.

Chairman Buyer's estimated 2007 VA budget adds $1.9 billion to President Bush's Office of Management and Budget request, which was proposed in early February, loaded with unattainable collection figures, dubious "management efficiencies" and other stretches of the budgetary imagination. Neither request reflects the priorities or purpose of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Furthermore, neither request meets the needs of a VA health-care system facing the fast-rising medical inflation and certain demand growth from an ongoing war.

Democrats on the committee have submitted their own projections, calling for a $4.5 billion increase over the president's request. Clearly, there is nothing resembling consensus on the Veterans Affairs Committee, once considered the most nonpartisan committee on Capitol Hill.

Last year, Chairman Buyer's estimates were clearly out of sync with the entire veterans' community. This time last year, The American Legion and other leading organizations warned Buyer and his colleagues that they were not adequately projecting the budget needs for VA health care. Not surprisingly, before the end of the fiscal 2005, VA required $1.5 billion in emergency spending. President Bush soon adjusted his 2006 budget request to up it by $1.6 billion due to what were described as VA "miscalculations."

These miscalculations resulted in the shifting of money within VA accounts -- typically away from long-awaited capital improvements -- to keep the system in operation. VA's budget request had been based on outdated information that completely misfired on the cost of treating returning combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The American Legion trusts Congress will produce a budget resolution for fiscal 2007 that truly pays for the VA health-care system that every eligible Pvt. Ryan -- past, present, and future -- has earned. Anything less is a dereliction of duty, a repeal of the 1996 law and a bold, wrong message to send to the men and women serving in harm's way today.

There is only one answer to this problem. The answer is assured or mandatory funding, a formula that attaches well-calculated dollars to the number of veterans receiving care in the system. It's time for veterans to stop suggesting and start demanding before another priority group gets the axe.

------

Media Contacts: Ramona Joyce, 202-263-2982 or 202-445-1161 (cell); or Joe March, 317-630-1253 or 317-748-1926 (cell). This text and a high-resolution photo of Cmdr. Bock can be downloaded at http://www.legion.org .

George and the YAF-YR Paranas

I TRIED VERY HARD TO LISTEN. THEN I TRIED VERY HARD TO
READ....but no matter how hard I tired I couldn't get
out of my mind what EJ Dionne had to say about our so
called war on terror: we've been on a long holiday
from complexity. That is the best criticism I ever
heard of our "war president" and his war on terror. I
labored with the videos and transcripts of his
repeated speeches on Iraq. They are all lies, idiocies
and incredibly childish oversimplifications repeated
over and over and over and over again, though each is
billed as a "new policy presentation." Given the NSA
"listening-in" scandal and all that, putting that
together with this oversimplification of everything, I
think that George Orwell would now say: it's a bit
later than I thought, run by a bunch a bit dumber than
I thought, but what the hell it is my "1984" just as I
described it.

As time goes on, people are realizing that if they
stay as stupid as they were on election day 2004,
nothing makes sense. So I see that they are struggling
with all the "how come?"s created by expectations
based on Bush's previous speeches.

We know that Cheney and Rumsfeld are part of that
Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and Young Republican
(YR) and Christian Right (CR) breed that populate the
Bush Administration. They are different from GW Bush.
His rule in life was: I DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT
ANYTHING, MY POPPY IS PAYING SOMEBODY ELSE TO DO THAT.
So he hired himself a Vice President-- not to replace
him if he dies, after all, actuarially Cheney's
prospects of dying as VP are 1000% greater than Bush's
chances of dying as P-- but to do his worrying for
him. And so we must look at this administration-- at
least the first 2001 to 2005 term-- as one where
George followed God's voice talking to him through his
gut, so all GW had to do was "follow my gut," on the
big issues and the Cheney-Rumsfeld team were taking
care of everything else.

Right wingers are something you can't understand
unless you grew up with them. As a group, they are the
runts in the litter sired by a very mach bravado dad.
So growing up it was all football and not crying. But
what if you are a runt and can't be tough? Well, then
there's always modeling yourself after that "tough
guy," JR Ewing from the TV show "Dallas." He showed us
how a runt can be macho by deception and theft. The
bad-er you are inside the corporate structure, the
baaaaddddeeeerrrr you seem. These guys soon realized--
maybe around third grade-- that they don't have much
up there between their ears for schooling. So they
decided to become corporate organization men. They
went on welfare from the Corporate Establishment.
Screaming, "the Commies are coming, the Commies are
coming," they got members of this and that corporate
boards to throw them a bone here and there that adds
up to a lot of cash. They created YAF and YR, claiming
to become the spokesmen of Wall Street and the
defenders of Corporate greed. They always wore a suit
and tie and always said: yes sir, yes mam. But inside
their own mini-corporate YAF and YR boards they were
true cannibals, eating each other voraciously, just
like Parana. They all realized that they are
intellectually very mediocre and very weak physically.
So they stuck to the JR script of deception. But to
get ahead, they had to eat the guy standing on top of
their heads. So they came to the principle that: YOU
HAVE TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX to eat your way ahead.
Now what does that mean to an amoral, mediocre,
undignified crud who only wants to climb and doesn't
care how?

The answer is becoming very clear in a Platonic
fashion. Plato suggested that if you blow up a problem
to reeeaaalll gigantic, then nobody is going to miss
the intricacies of how it works. And indeed, finally,
the shenanigans of the YAF and YR Parana have become
clear in the operation of a former YR named Abramoff.
As an Jewish Orthodox outsider, he realized that he
would have to work twice as hard to keep up with these
big bad WASP goyim. So while Ralph Reed was floating
cash out leisurely from the coffers of the Christian
Right, a la Reverend Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye,
Abramoff was hellfire hyperactive squeezing everyone
and sucking every corner dry. He was really not just a
con-man but a super-neocon! And, inevitably, withing a
decade, he got caught. Now the scaffolding under this
whole YR-YAF-neocon runt progeny of Middle America is
exposed. We are seeing everything from influence
peddling to out and out theft exposed now that the big
fat Republican Elephant in Congress is about to fall
over. Between Cheney's mendacity and bravado and
Rumsfeld's power grabbing-- insisting that everyone
understand that THEY are in charge-- it is becoming
quite obvious that they are both mediocre crooks
reaching far, far above their grasp, who only hired
other mediocre crooks as assistance so that they don't
get eaten themselves by their deputy-Paranas.

Of course, desperate to save himself from having to
worry about the guy payed to do his worrying for him,
Bush sought to fire them both before the 2004 election
and replace Cheney with Senator McCain, the guy Bush's
little demon, Rove, screwed in the good old YAF-YR way
during the Republican primaries in 2000. But Cheney
and Rumsfeld threatened to take all those "right
wingers" with them if they've gotta go. So now, Bush
has to worry about all the many guys payed to do his
worrying for him!

Alas, Bush doesn't trust them. So that leaves him no
one to depend on but Karl Rove, his political guru.
But Rove told him: in three years you are gone into
the past, but the Republican majority must live on. GW
Bush responded: I don't care, I'm the president, and I
have to pass laws that gives all the robber barons
that funded by re-election campaign each a big chunk
of America, or they'll be mad at me and won't let me
get drunk with them on their ranches after I retire.
So now Bush and Rove are also on the outs. So what's
left? The answer is the SPEECH WRITERS. Yes, those
guys who know how to twist plain speech that is
totally devoid of information into "le beau mot." Now
they come up with phrases that they think will "sound
good" in a speech. Sooooo, GW simply molds the
"policies" around the speeches. For example, wordsmith
Dan Bartlett said on PBS recently that the public
expects the president to "prove that he can walk and
chew gum at the same time." And so, sure enough, we
now have national policies that look exactly like
that, walking and chewing gum at the same time. With
no "politicos" and "experts" to help him with anything
else that he can trust, Bush is simply guided in
policy making by what the speechwriters think would
sound good in a speech. We are a nation bound to
policies that sound good in a speech to the
speechwriters that compose them, period.

If Bush were a physician, he would have his license
pulled and would be before a judge on charges of
CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE. But he's not a doctor, he's a
president-- a war president. Therefore, he can let the
bodies pile up because no one is going to sue him in
the middle of a "war on terror." Suing a president has
another name: IMPEACHMENT.

Daniel E. Teodoru

BUT HERE'S SOMETHING VERY INTERESTING! THE DADDY OF
ALL YAF-YRERS, BILL BUCKLEY HIMSELF, HAS FINALLY
REALIZED THAT THIS "WAR pRESIDENT'S" WAR IS NUTS!!!
February 24, 2006, 2:51 p.m.
It Didn’t Work

"I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes —
it is America." The New York Times reporter is quoting
the complaint of a clothing merchant in a Sunni
stronghold in Iraq. "Everything that is going on
between Sunni and Shiites, the troublemaker in the
middle is America."

One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq
has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a
fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel
Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now
speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite
mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the
way of revenge. He concludes that “The bombing has
completely demolished” what was being attempted — to
bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have
proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000
Americans. The great human reserves that call for
civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they
are latently there, but they have not been able to
contend against the ice men who move about in the
shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then
infuriated, that Americans aren't on the scene to
protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they
join the clothing merchant who says that everything is
the fault of the Americans.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elucidates
on the complaint against Americans. It is not only
that the invaders are American, it is that they are
"Zionists." It would not be surprising to learn from
an anonymously cited American soldier that he can
understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the
Sunnis and the Shiites from each others' throats.

A problem for American policymakers — for President
Bush, ultimately — is to cope with the postulates and
decide how to proceed.

One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that
the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences,
would suspend internal divisions in order to get on
with life in a political structure that guaranteed
them religious freedom.

The accompanying postulate was that the invading
American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers
and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on
violence.

This last did not happen. And the administration has,
now, to cope with failure. It can defend itself
historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness
of the postulates. After all, they govern our policies
in Latin America, in Africa, and in much of Asia. The
failure in Iraq does not force us to generalize that
violence and antidemocratic movements always prevail.
It does call on us to adjust to the question, What do
we do when we see that the postulates do not prevail —
in the absence of interventionist measures (we used
these against Hirohito and Hitler) which we simply are
not prepared to take? It is healthier for the
disillusioned American to concede that in one theater
in the Mideast, the postulates didn't work. The
alternative would be to abandon the postulates. To do
that would be to register a kind of philosophical
despair. The killer insurgents are not entitled to
blow up the shrine of American idealism.

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here
because to make the kind of concession that is
strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of
policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown
pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself
that he can submit to a historical reality without
forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.

He will certainly face the current development as
military leaders are expected to do: They are called
upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist
on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans
have to be made. And the kernel here is the
acknowledgment of defeat.

(c) 2006 Universal Press Syndicate



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Friday, February 24, 2006

Attention Veterans

Veteran’s March Gains Steady Momentum

WWW.FIREBASENETWORK.NET

By Staff Writer: Rick Townsend

firebaseadrian@tc3net.com

 

February 24, 2006

 

A grassroots group of former military personnel and their families are on a mission to bring much needed attention to problems facing this country’s veterans.

 

Operation Firing For Effect - The Veteran’s March 2006 is the collaboration of two combat tested U.S. military veterans, Gene Simes and James North. Simes is a Vietnam Marine veteran who served 2 tours in country. North is a combat Marine veteran from Gulf War One, who retired after 21 years of distinguished service. Last year Simes and North teamed up on a project to unit veterans nationwide in a common cause.

 

On April 25th of this year, veterans from many points across the country will be traveling to Washington, DC to attend The Veteran’s March 2006 and Rally to be held on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

 

Operation Firing For Effect has a simple objective; provide veterans and their families a voice in Washington, DC. Gene Simes and James North set out to do just that. North went to work on setting up a web site, while Simes applied for the necessary permits and drummed up support for their idea. It wasn't long before veteran’s advocates took notice and jumped in to help. Committees were formed, artwork donated and a logo created.

<>That was last year. Now, the project has gained steady momentum and many volunteers have gotten involved in Operation Firing For Effect. In a recent telephone interview, Gene Simes said he was extremely pleased with the response the project has stimulated. “Most of the veterans I have spoken with agree the timing of this March is crucial to the future of veteran’s affairs in this country. We are going to take our message straight to the steps of the U.S. Capitol,” Simes said. <>  <>
James North agrees with Simes. “The problems facing this country’s former military personnel are many and vast in scope. From retired military health care, to VA health care, to homeless veterans, to returning disabled soldiers, we are creating a program that will address many issues under one banner,” North stated.
<> 
Veteran’s rights advocate and
Vietnam combat veteran Jere Beery of Jefferson, Ohio joined the team last month as Public Affairs Officer. Beery served with the U.S. Navy during 5 military campaigns in Vietnam. Beery is also a noted crusader for veteran’s rights and benefits. “After talking to Simes and North several times, I was convinced their objectives were achievable. I am very secure in Gene Simes and James North’s ability to provide an all-inclusive and dignified event,” Beery said. “I’m extremely proud to be a part of this project, and I am very confident it will be a huge success,” he added.

 

Operation Firing For Effect – The Veteran’s March has sent invitations to all national veterans’ service organizations to attend this event and help unite this country’s former military personnel and their families. In addition, the Department of Defense has received and acknowledged the receipt of a formal request for a guest speaker for the event. “We asked the DOD to provide a guest speaker to explain the proposed increases in TriCare, and address the adverse affects BRAC has had on retired military families,” Beery said.  According to Jere Beery the request is pending approval.

 

James North is confident also. “We are providing an opportunity for all veterans to meet on neutral ground to discuss the future of veterans’ affairs in this country. Now, it’s up to the American people to take advantage of the opportunity we are creating,” North said.

 

To give everyone some idea how big this event will be, 4000 chairs will be setup, 80 portable toilets are planned, and emergency medical services will be on sight. “On April 25th, many Shadow Rallies will occur simultaneously with our primary Rally in DC. “This project is merely the starting-point of the much bigger nationwide movement to protect the benefits, compensation, and services earned by our troops,” Gene Simes stated.

 

To date, event organizers have released two Public Relations Releases. You can view these releases at this link > http://jerebeery.com/VetMarchPR1.htm 

 

To view the invitation to attend that was sent to the NVSOs, visit this link > http://jerebeery.com/NVSO_Invitation.htm

 

For a list of State Coordinators and Financial Report, visit the main link at > WWW.VetMarch2006.COM 

 

Operation Firing For Effect provided the follow list of contacts:

Gene Simes (Chairman) - gdsusa@rochester.rr.com, James North (Co-Chairman) - Jim.North@cambridge-na.com, Russ Scarvelli (Master at Arms) - dsgt2@aol.com , Jere Beery (Public Relations) - jerebeery@aol.com , Barbara Wright (Research) - ewagon@earthlink.net, Barb Cragnotti (Communications) – barbcrag@aol.com

 


The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.
George Washington

WWW.VETMARCH2006.COM


America's debt to those who would fight for her defense doesn't end the day the uniform comes off. For the security of our nation, it must not end.
President Ronald Reagan
WWW.JEREBEERY.COM
WWW.FIREBASENETWORK.NET
WWW.FIREBASE.NET


If you have received this email in error, please reply with the word "REMOVE" in the subject line, and your email address will be deleted from my mailing list immediately.








Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Port sales

This has Rove's hands all over it. With Bush's poll numbers in Nixon
territory this allows Republicans to put some distance between
themselves and Bush. Bush can't run for president again so it doesn't
effect him. The end game is to ensure the Democrats don't gain control
of the House because if they do there will be an impeachment

Sale of Ports: Bush didn't know....Where's that asshole been?

Port Security Is Still a House of Cards
Author: Stephen E. Flynn, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior
Fellow for National Security Studies

January/February 2006
Far Eastern Economic Review

As one of the world’s busiest ports, it is fitting
that Hong Kong played host to the World Trade
Organization’s December 2005 meeting. After all,
seaports serve as the on- and off-ramps for the vast
majority of traded goods. Still, the leaders of the
145 delegations that convened in Hong Kong undoubtedly
did not have much more than a sightseer’s interest in
the host city’s magnificent and frenetic harbor. For
the most part, finance and trade ministers see trade
liberalization as involving efforts to negotiate rules
that open markets and level the playing field. They
take as a given the availability of transportation
infrastructures that physically link markets separated
by vast distances.

But the days when policy makers could take safe
transportation for granted are long past. The Sept.
11, 2001 attacks on New York and subsequent attacks on
Madrid and London show that transport systems have
become favored targets for terrorist organizations. It
is only a matter of time before terrorists breach the
superficial security measures in place to protect the
ports, ships and the millions of intermodal containers
that link global producers to consumers.

Should that breach involve a weapon of mass
destruction, the United States and other countries
will likely raise the port security alert system to
its highest level, while investigators sort out what
happened and establish whether or not a follow-on
attack is likely. In the interim, the flow of all
inbound traffic will be slowed so that the entire
intermodal container system will grind to a halt. In
economic terms, the costs associated with managing the
attack’s aftermath will substantially dwarf the actual
destruction from the terrorist event itself.

Fortunately, there are pragmatic measures that
governments and the private sector can pursue right
now that would substantially enhance the integrity and
resilience of global trade lanes. Trade security can
be improved with modest upfront investments that
enhance supply chain visibility and accountability,
allowing companies to better manage the choreography
of global logistics—and, in the process, improve their
financial returns. In short, there is both a public
safety imperative and a powerful economic case for
advancing trade security.

A Brittle System
Though advocates for more open global markets rarely
acknowledge it, when it comes to converting free trade
from theory to practice the now-ubiquitous cargo
container deserves a great deal of credit. On any
given day, millions of containers carrying up to 32
tons of goods each are moving on trucks, trains and
ships. These movements have become remarkably
affordable, efficient, and reliable, resulting in
increasingly complex and economically expedient global
supply chains for manufacturers and retailers.

From a commercial standpoint, this has been all for
the good. But there is a problem: as enterprises’
dependence on the intermodal transportation system
rises, they become extremely vulnerable to the
consequences of a disruption in the system. To
appreciate why that is so requires a brief primer on
how that system has evolved.

Arguably, one of the most unheralded revolutions of
the 20th century was the widespread adoption of the
cargo container to move manufactured and perishable
goods around the planet. In the middle of the last
century, shipping most goods was labor intensive:
items had to be individually moved from a loading dock
at a factory to the back of a truck and then offloaded
and reloaded onto a ship. Upon arrival in a foreign
port, cargo had to be removed by longshoremen from the
ship’s holds, then moved to dock warehouses where the
shipments would be examined by customs inspectors.
Then they were loaded onto another transportation
conveyance to be delivered to their final destination.
This constant packing and repacking was inefficient
and costly. It also routinely involved damage and
theft. As a practical matter, this clumsy process was
a barrier to trade.

The cargo container changed all that. Now goods can be
placed in a container at a factory and be moved from
one mode of transportation to another without being
manually handled by intermediaries along the way.
Larger vessels can be built to carry several thousand
containers in a single voyage. In short, as global
trade liberalization accelerated, the transportation
system was able to accommodate the growing number of
buyers and sellers.

Arguably, East Asia has been the biggest beneficiary
of this transportation revolution. Despite the
distance between Asia and the U.S., a container can be
shipped from Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Singapore to the
West Coast for roughly $4,000. This cost represents a
small fraction of the $66,000 average value of goods
in each container that is destined for the U.S.

However, multiple port closures in the U.S. and
elsewhere would quickly throw this system into chaos.
U.S.-bound container ships would be stuck in docks,
unable to unload their cargo. Marine terminals would
have to close their gates to all incoming containers
since they would have no place to store them.
Perishable cargo would spoil. Soon, factories would be
idle and retailers’ shelves bare.

In short, a terrorist event involving the intermodal
transportation system could lead to unprecedented
disruption of the global trade system, and East Asia
has the most to lose.

What Has Been Done?
The possibility that terrorists could compromise the
maritime and intermodal transportation system has led
several U.S. agencies to pursue initiatives to manage
this risk. The U.S. Coast Guard chose to take a
primarily multilateral approach by working through the
London-based International Maritime Organization to
establish new international standards for improving
security practices on vessels and within ports, known
as the International Ship and Port Facility Code
(ISPS). As of July 1, 2004, each member state was
obliged to certify that the ships that fly their flag
or the facilities under their jurisdiction are
code-compliant.

The Coast Guard also requires that ships destined for
the U.S. provide a notice of their arrival a minimum
of 96 hours in advance and include a description of
their cargoes as well as a crew and passenger list.
The agency then assesses the potential risk the vessel
might pose. If the available intelligence indicates a
pre-arrival security check may be warranted, it
arranges to intercept the ship at sea or as it enters
the harbor in order to conduct an inspection.

The new U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency
(CBP), which was established within the Department of
Homeland Security, mandated that ocean carriers must
electronically file cargo manifests outlining the
contents of U.S.-bound containers 24 hours in advance
of their being loaded overseas. These manifests are
then analyzed against the intelligence databases at
CBP’s National Targeting Center to determine if the
container may pose a risk.

If so, it will likely be inspected overseas before it
is loaded on a U.S.-bound ship under a new protocol
called the Container Security Initiative (CSI). As of
November 2005, there were 41 CSI port agreements in
place where the host country permits U.S. customs
inspectors to operate within its jurisdiction and
agrees to pre-loading inspections of any targeted
containers.

Decisions about which containers will not be subjected
to an inspection are informed by an importer’s
willingness to participate in another post-9/11
initiative, known as the Customs-Trade Partnership
Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). C-TPAT importers and
transportation companies agree voluntarily to conduct
self-assessments of their company operations and
supply chains, and then put in place security measures
to address any security vulnerabilities they find. At
the multilateral level, U.S. customs authorities have
worked with the Brussels-based World Customs
Organization on establishing a new framework to
improve trade security for all countries.

In addition to these Coast Guard and Customs
initiatives, the U.S. Department of Energy and
Department of Defense have developed their own
programs aimed at the potential threat of weapons of
mass destruction. They have been focused primarily on
developing the means to detect a “dirty bomb” or a
nuclear weapon.

The Energy Department has been funding and deploying
radiation sensors in many of the world’s largest ports
as a part of a program called the Megaport Initiative.
These sensors are designed to detect radioactive
material within containers. The Pentagon has
undertaken a counterproliferation initiative that
involves obtaining permission from seafaring countries
to allow specially trained U.S Navy boarding teams to
conduct inspections of a flag vessel on the seas when
there is intelligence that points to the possibility
that nuclear material or a weapon may be part of the
ship’s cargo.

Finally, in September 2005, the White House weighed in
with its new National Maritime Security Strategy. This
purports to “present a comprehensive national effort
to promote global economic stability and protect
legitimate activities while preventing hostile or
illegal acts within the maritime domain.”

A House of Cards
Ostensibly, the flurry of U.S. government initiatives
since 9/11 suggests substantial progress is being made
in securing the global trade and transportation
system. Unfortunately, all this activity should not be
confused with real capability. For one thing, the
approach has been piecemeal, with each agency pursuing
its signature program with little regard for other
initiatives. There are also vast disparities in the
resources that the agencies have been allocated,
ranging from an $800 million budget for the Department
of Energy’s Megaport initiative to no additional
funding for the Coast Guard to support its
congressionally mandated compliance to the ISPS Code.
Even more problematic are some of the questionable
assumptions about the nature of the terrorist threat
that underpin these programs.

In an effort to secure funding and public support,
agency heads and the White House have oversold the
contributions of these new initiatives. Against a
backdrop of inflated and unrealistic expectations, the
public is likely to be highly skeptical of official
assurances in the aftermath of a terrorist attack
involving the intermodal transportation system.
Scrambling for fresh alternatives to reassure anxious
and angry citizens, the White House and Congress are
likely to impose Draconian inspection protocols that
dramatically raise costs and disrupt crossborder trade
flows.

The new risk-management programs advanced by the CBP
are especially vulnerable to being discredited, should
terrorists succeed at turning a container into a poor
man’s missile. Before stepping down as commissioner in
late November 2005, Robert Bonner repeatedly stated in
public and before Congress that his inspectors were
“inspecting 100% of the right 5% of containers.” That
implies the CBP’s intelligence and analytical tools
can be relied upon to pinpoint dangerous containers.

Former Commissioner Bonner is correct in identifying
only a tiny percentage of containers as potential
security risks. Unfortunately, CBP’s risk-management
framework is not up to the task of reliably
identifying them, much less screening the low- or
medium-risk cargoes that constitute the majority of
containerized shipments and pass mostly uninspected
into U.S. ports. There is very little counterterrorism
intelligence available to support the agency’s
targeting system.

That leaves customs inspectors to rely primarily on
their past experience in identifying criminal or
regulatory misconduct to determine if a containerized
shipment might potentially be compromised. This does
not inspire confidence, given that the U.S. Congress’s
watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO),
and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s own
inspector general have documented glaring weaknesses
with current customs targeting practices.

Prior to 9/11, the cornerstone of the risk-assessment
framework used by customs inspectors was to identify
“known shippers” that had an established track record
of engaging in legitimate commercial activity. After
9/11, the agency expanded that model by extracting a
commitment from shippers to follow the supply chain
security practices outlined in C-TPAT. As long as
there is no specific intelligence to tell inspectors
otherwise, shipments from C-TPAT-compliant companies
are viewed as low-risk.

The problem with this method is that it is designed to
fight conventional crime; such an approach is not
necessarily effective in combating determined
terrorists. An attack involving a weapon of mass
destruction differs in three important ways from
organized criminal activity.

First, it is likely to be a one-time operation, and
most private company security measures are not
designed to prevent single-event infractions. Instead,
corporate security officers try to detect infractions
when they occur, conduct investigations after the
fact, and adapt precautionary strategies accordingly.

Second, terrorists will likely target a legitimate
company with a well-known brand name precisely because
they can count on these shipments entering the U.S.
with negligible or no inspection. It is no secret
which companies are viewed by U.S. customs inspectors
as “trusted” shippers; many companies enlisted in
C-TPAT have advertised their participation. All a
terrorist organization needs to do is find a single
weak link within a “trusted” shipper’s complex supply
chain, such as a poorly paid truck driver taking a
container from a remote factory to a port. They can
then gain access to the container in one of the
half-dozen ways well known to experienced smugglers.

Third, this terrorist threat is unique in terms of the
severity of the economic disruption. If a weapon of
mass destruction arrives in the U.S., especially if it
enters via a trusted shipper, the risk-management
system that customs authorities rely on will come
under intense scrutiny. In the interim, it will become
impossible to treat crossborder shipments by other
trusted shippers as low-risk. When every container is
assumed to be potentially high-risk, everything must
be examined, freezing the worldwide intermodal
transportation system. The credibility of the ISPS
code as a risk-detection tool is not likely to survive
the aftermath of such a maritime terrorist attack, and
its collapse could exacerbate a climate of insecurity
that could likely exist after a successful attack.

Moreover, the radiation-detection technology currently
used in the world’s ports by the Coast Guard and
Customs and Border Protection Agency is not adequately
capable of detecting a nuclear weapon or a lightly
shielded dirty bomb. This is because nuclear weapons
are extremely well-shielded and give off very little
radioactivity. If terrorists obtained a dirty bomb and
put it in a box lined with lead, it’s unlikely
radiation sensors would detect the bomb’s low levels
of radioactivity.

The flaws in detection technology require the
Pentagon’s counterproliferation teams to physically
board container ships at sea to determine if they are
carrying weapons of mass destruction. Even if there
were enough trained boarding teams to perform these
inspections on a regular basis—and there are not—there
is still the practical problem of inspecting the
contents of cargo containers at sea. Such inspections
are almost impossible because containers are so
closely packed on a container ship that they are often
simply inaccessible. This factor, when added to the
sheer number of containers on each ship—upwards of
3,000—guarantees that in the absence of very detailed
intelligence, inspectors will be able to perform only
the most superficial of examinations.

In the end, the U.S. government’s container-security
policy resembles a house of cards. In all likelihood,
any terrorist attack on U.S. soil that involved a
maritime container would come in contact with most, or
even all, of the existing maritime security protocols.
Consequently, a successful seaborne attack would
implicate the entire security regime, generating
tremendous political pressure to abandon it.

The Way Ahead
We can do better. The Association of Southeast Asian
Nations should work with the U.S. and the European
Union in authorizing third parties to conduct
validation audits in accordance with the security
protocols outlined in the International Ship and Port
Facility Security Code and the World Customs
Organization’s new framework for security and trade
facilitation.

A multilateral auditing organization made up of
experienced inspectors should be created to
periodically audit the third party auditors. This
organization also should be charged with investigating
major incidents and recommending appropriate changes
to established security protocols.

To minimize the risk that containers will be targeted
between the factory and loading port, governments
should create incentives for the speedy adoption of
technical standards developed by the International
Standards Organization for tracking a container and
monitoring its integrity. The technology now used by
the U.S. Department of Defense for the global movement
of military goods can provide a model for such a
regime.

Asean and the EU should also endorse a pilot project
being sponsored by the Container Terminal Operators
Association (CTOA) of Hong Kong, in which every
container that arrives passes through a gamma-ray
content-scanning machine, as well as a radiation
portal to record the levels of radioactivity within
the container. Optical character recognition cameras
then photograph the number painted on several sides of
the container. These scanned images, radiation
profiles, and digital photos are then stored in a
database where they can be immediately retrieved if
necessary.

The marine terminals in Hong Kong have invested in
this system because they hope that a 100% scanning
regime will deter a terrorist organization from
placing a weapon of mass destruction in a container
passing through their port facilities. Since each
container’s contents are scanned, if a terrorist tries
to shield radioactive material to defeat the radiation
portals, it will be relatively easy to detect the
shielding material because of its density.

Another reason for making this investment is to
minimize the disruption associated with targeting
containers for portside inspection. The system allows
the container to receive a remote preliminary
inspection without the container leaving the marine
terminal.

By maintaining a record of each container’s contents,
the port is able to provide government authorities
with a forensic tool that can aid a follow-up
investigation should a container with a weapon of mass
destruction still slip through. This tool would allow
authorities to quickly isolate the point in the supply
chain where the security compromise took place,
thereby minimizing the chance for a port-wide
shut-down. By scanning every container, the marine
terminals in Hong Kong are well-positioned to
indemnify the port for security breaches. As a result,
a terrorist would be unable to successfully generate
enough fear and uncertainty to warrant disrupting the
global trade system.

This low-cost inspection system is being carried out
without impeding the operations of busy marine
terminals. It could be put in place in every major
container port in the world at a cost of $1.5 billion,
or approximately $15 per container. Once such a system
is operating globally, each nation would be in a
position to monitor its exports and to check their
imports against the images first collected at the
loading port.

The total cost of third-party compliance inspections,
deploying “smart” containers, and operating a cargo
scanning system such as Hong Kong’s is likely to reach
$50 to $100 per container depending on the number of
containers an importer has and the complexity of its
supply chain. Even if the final price tag came in at
$100 additional cost per container, it would raise the
average price of cargo moved by, say, Wal-Mart or
Target by only 0.06%. What importers and consumers are
getting in return is the reduced risk of a
catastrophic terrorist attack and its economic
consequences.

In short, such an investment would allow container
security to move from the current “trust, but don’t
verify” system to a more robust “trust but verify”
regime. That would bring benefits to everyone but
criminals and terrorists.

View full text of article
March/April 2006
Can Hamas Be Tamed?

History shows that political participation co-opts
militants only under very specific conditions—and
almost none of those exist in the Palestinian
Authority today. A special preview of the next issue
of Foreign Affairs.

Go to Foreign Affairs


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Cheney- Bush: DEAD WRONG assholes!!!!

Copyright 2006 Cable News Network
All Rights Reserved.

CNN

SHOW: CNN PRESENTS 8:00 PM EST

February 12, 2006 Sunday

TRANSCRIPT: 021201CN.V79

SECTION: NEWS; International

LENGTH: 6670 words

HEADLINE: Dead Wrong

BYLINE: Carol Lin, David Ensor

HIGHLIGHT:

Taking a look inside what went wrong with intelligence
on weapons of mass destruction.

BODY:

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: And at 9:00 p.m. it's "LARRY
KING LIVE" and tonight, the cast of T.V. sitcom
classic "Growing Pains" is together again for the
first time. Find out what they're doing now. That's
only on CNN. I'm Carol Lin. I'll see you at 10:00 p.m.
Eastern with the latest up to the minute news on "CNN
SUNDAY NIGHT."

ANNOUNCER: "CNN PRESENTS," winner of the International
Documentary Association's distinguished award for best
continuing series.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was
the central pillar in the argument for preemptive war.

RICHARD CHENEY, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Simply stated,
there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons
of mass destruction.

ENSOR: The United States put its credibility on the
line.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: What
we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on
solid intelligence.

ENSOR: But much of that intelligence turned out to be
wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the lowest point in my life.
I wish I had not been involved.

ENSOR: Tonight, an inside look at what went wrong and
why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is to blame? No question, it's
the intelligence community. We did it to ourselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is the White House
didn't go to the CIA and say, tell me the truth, it
said give me ammunition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't afford to be wrong a
second time. How many people in the world are going to
believe us when we say it's a slam dunk, Iran has
nuclear weapons?

ENSOR (on camera): "Dead wrong." That's how the
commission appointed by President Bush describes U.S.
intelligence in the lead up to the Iraq War. Welcome
to CNN PRESENTS. I'm David Ensor.

Despite public warnings before the war, no weapons of
mass destruction have been found. But the commission's
searing report left unanswered a critical question.
Should anyone be held accountable? Tonight, we go
behind the scenes in search of answer and for the
first time we hear from key players, on camera and on
the record, who were there when some of the mistakes
were made.

(voice-over): In early 2001, George W. Bush, urged by
his father, who had been a director of central
intelligence, keeps George Tenet in charge of the CIA.
The new president is applauded for putting the agency
above politics. And Tenet, who was appointed by Bill
Clinton, becomes the first CIA director in more than
three decades to survive a change of party in the
White House.

But theirs will be a fateful relationship. The
president will take the country to war, a decision he
will justify using intelligence produced by Tenet's
CIA.

In 2005, as the Iraq War entered its third year, the
top U.S. weapons hunter ended his search. Case closed.
No weapons of mass destruction have been found.

The harm done to American credibility by our all too
public intelligence failings in Iraq, reports the
commission appointed by the president to investigate
the failures, will take years to undo.

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: To win the war on
terror, we will correct what needs to be fixed.

ENSOR: The commission found no sign that the evidence
had been shaped by political pressure, it was simply
wrong.

BUSH: The central conclusion is one that I share,
America's intelligence community needs fundamental
change.

ENSOR: But like earlier congressional investigations,
the president's commission looked only at the
intelligence, not how the commander-in-chief and his
top aides used it to make the case for war.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Did this commission
not ask the tough questions? Did they not challenge
some of these assumptions? And doesn't ultimate
responsibility rest with the president of the United
States?

JUDGE LAURENCE SILBERMAN, COMMISSIONER: We had
discussions with the president. We didn't interview
the president, nor did we interview the vice
president.

ENSOR: So what may be the last official review of how
the mistakes were made gives policymakers a pass.

SILBERMAN: Our job was to look at the intelligence
that came from the intelligence community.

ENSOR: The commission's 600 page report directs most
of its fire at the Central Intelligence Agency,
starting at the top.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Tenet, would you stand and
raise your right hand. ENSOR: When he was named
director of central intelligence in 1997, George Tenet
was the fifth DCI in six years. He promised to tell
truth to power.

GEORGE TENET, FORMER DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE:
To the president and all those who rely on our
nation's intelligence capabilities, I will deliver
intelligence that is clear and objective and does not
pull punches. To the Congress ...

ENSOR: Tenet inherited an agency grappling with
changing threats in a post Cold War world. And still
coming to grips with the fact that it had missed
Saddam Hussein's push to build a nuclear weapon in the
months before the Gulf War.

After Saddam's defeat, United Nations inspectors
investigated and destroyed his nuclear program, along
with most of his chemical and biological weapons.

But when they departed in 1998, the U.S. lost its
window into Iraq.

Iraq was not the only intelligence black hole.

The CIA chief had warned urgently and often that a
terror attack was coming, but the intelligence
community had no idea when or where. In the days after
what some labeled the greatest intelligence failure
since Pearl Harbor, there were calls for George
Tenet's resignation.

But during a morale-boosting visit to the CIA,
President Bush will make clear that as the United
States launches its war on terror, he wants George
Tenet at his side.

MICHAEL SCHEUER, CIA ANALYST: The CIA is, at the end
of the day, the peculiar instrument of the executive
branch and the president.

ENSOR: Michael Scheuer was a long time CIA analyst who
wrote a book under the pseudonym "Anonymous," critical
of CIA leadership in the war on terror.

SCHEUER: But under Mr. Tenet it became very much
focused on the president. He was called the "First
Customer" and clearly became the be all and end all of
our efforts.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE CIA:
There is always a danger in the intelligence business
of getting too close to the policymaker.

ENSOR: John McLaughlin was Tenet's second in command.
He is now a CNN analyst.

MCLAUGHLIN: But if you aren't close enough to
understand what they're thinking and how they're
operating and what their requirements are, you're not
going to serve them well.

ENSOR: The day after the towers fall, attention is
focused on launching an attack on al Qaeda and its
Taliban protectors in Afghanistan, but inside the
White House sites are also set on another target,
Iraq.

In the spring of 2002, Vice President Cheney, who had
been secretary of defense when the U.S. discovered
Saddam's WMD programs in 1991, travels from the White
House to CIA headquarters in Virginia. He beings to
press analysts on the intelligence assembly line.

JAMES PAVITT, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF
OPERATIONS: Policymakers love intelligence when it
supports their policy and they have difficulty with
intelligence when it does not.

ENSOR: James Pavitt was chief of the CIA's cover
spying operations.

PAVITT: The role of the intelligence officer is to
produce the intelligence and to objectively and
honestly table it. If pushed, now are you sure that's
right? That's fine, there's nothing wrong with that.

ENSOR: Robert Baer, a legendary CIA field officer
served most of his 21 year career in the Middle East.
He left the agency in 1997.

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I think Cheney, as
far as I can reconstruct this, everybody knows that
Saddam's got weapons of mass destruction. The French
do, the British do, even the Russians thought he did.
Tell us what's your best stuff.

ENSOR: The overwhelming Washington consensus was that
Saddam would not have abandoned his drive for weapons
of mass destruction.

PAVITT: And there was a whole panoply of reasons to
believe that was the case. There are not many
countries in the world that have used weapons of mass
destruction on their own people. Iraqis did.

ENSOR: At the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld sets up a special office to provide him with
alternative intelligence analysis, focusing on a
possible link between Saddam and al Qaeda. The
Pentagon unit is not mentioned by the president's
commission.

LARRY JOHNSON, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: They
even briefed their findings to the community and the
community would come back and say, wait a second, you
don't know what you're talking about. That's garbage.
That's misleading, that misrepresents.

ENSOR: Larry Johnson was a counterterrorism official
in the State Department and the CIA before leaving
government in 1993.

JOHNSON: And then they would take the same brief or an
even more extreme version and brief it directly to
people like the vice president.

ENSOR: The spies called it cherry-picking, choosing
scraps of intelligence to prove a worst-case scenario.

July 23rd, a senior British intelligence officials
briefs Prime Minister Tony Blair on his recent
discussions in Washington. According to notes on the
Downing Street briefing, the MI6 chief reported that
President Bush wanted to remove Saddam through
military action. The intelligence and facts, he said,
"were being fixed around the policy."

The White House declined interview requests for this
report. President Bush addressed the memo at a recent
news conference with Blair.

BUSH: Somebody said, well, we had made up our mind to
go -- to use military force to deal with Saddam. There
is nothing farther from the truth. My conversation
with the prime minister was how could we do this
peacefully.

ENSOR: But in the summer of 2002, the White House Iraq
Group, WHIG, had quietly begun a campaign to build
support for war. National Security Adviser Condoleezza
Rice, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes and the chiefs of
staff to both the president and the vice president
planned strategy in weekly meetings.

CHENEY: Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam
Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.

ENSOR: Late August, vice president Cheney takes the
lead in public, escalating the rhetoric against
Saddam.

CHENEY: The Iraq regime has, in fact, been very busy
enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical
and biological agents and they continue to pursue the
nuclear program they began so many years ago.

GREG THIELMANN, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: That
speech it seemed to me was basically a declaration of
war speech.

ENSOR: Greg Thielmann was in charge of monitoring WMD
at the State Department's bureau of intelligence.

THEILMANN: That's when I, for the first time, became
really alarmed about where we were going on this.

CHENEY: But we now know that Saddam has resumed his
efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

ENSOR: The CIA has no new proven evidence to support
the vice president's claims.

MCLAUGHLIN: We did not clear that particular speech.
As controversy developed in the course of debate over
Iraq, we began to clear speeches later, but at that
point we were not clearing speeches like that.

ENSOR: By September, the Pentagon has quietly
positioned forces in countries around the Persian
Gulf. The United States will be ready to move against
Saddam in as little as 60 days.

SHEUER: There was just a resignation within the agency
that we were going to war against Iraq and it didn't
make any difference what the analysis was or what kind
of objections or countervailing forces there were to
an invasion. We were going to war.

ENSOR: Intelligence analysts worked in an environment,
the president's commission reports, that did not
encourage skepticism. It is the single, brief
description of Washington in 2002 when the
intelligence mistakes were made.

ENSOR: Early every morning, the president of the
United States received a super secret briefing from
the CIA, the only agency in the intelligence community
that answered directly to him.

George Tenet's plainspoken style appealed to the new
president, so Bush insisted Tenet brief him face to
face.

Some of the CIA's briefings on Iraq begin to rely on
one analyst, an engineer with limited nuclear weapons
experience, known only as Joe T. He believed he had
found the smoking gun. Saddam was buying high strength
aluminum tubes that Joe T. insists are meant for
centrifuges to enrich uranium.

THIELMANN: Of all the pieces of evidence, this was
potentially the most damning, would be the kind of
thing, through uranium enrichment, get enough fissile
material for a nuclear weapon.

ENSOR: The three feet by three inch tubes are the only
piece of physical evidence that might suggest a bomb
building program.

THIELMANN: We were really agnostic at the beginning of
it but we listened to the experts and more and more
evidence came in that told us, no, this can't be true.

ENSOR: Nuclear experts at the Department of Energy
argued the tubes are the wrong size and material for
use in centrifuges but exactly right for rocket
casings. They called Joe T.'s reasoning improbably.

CARL FORD, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT INTELLIGENCE
OFFICIAL: Why would you immediately jump to the
conclusion that these were for their nuclear program?

ENSOR: Carl Ford was assistant secretary of state in
charge of the department's bureau of intelligence.

FORD: Once an analyst starts believing their own work
and quits doubting themselves and starts saying, I'm
going to prove to you that they've got nuclear
weapons, watch out. Be on your alert.

ENSOR: On Sunday, September 8th, the lead story in the
"New York Times" quotes anonymous officials who
maintain the tubes are intended for enriching uranium.
"The first sign of a smoking gun," the unnamed
officials argue, "may be a mushroom cloud."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would call it official leaking
because I think these were authorized conversations
between the press and members of the intelligence
community that further misreported the nature of the
intelligence community's disagreement on this issue.

ENSOR: Some top officials had been advised of the
sharp disagreement, but in coordinated appearances on
the Sunday talk shows, the administration reveals no
doubts.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: High
quality aluminum tubes that are only really suited for
nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.

CHENEY: I do know with absolutely certainty that he is
using his procurement system to acquire the equipment
he needs to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.

DONALD RUMSFELD, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Imagine a
September 11 with weapons of mass destruction.

RICE: We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom
cloud.

RAND BEERS, FORMER NSC OFFICIAL: As they embellished
what the intelligence community was prepared to say
and as the press reported that information, it began
to acquire its own sense of truth and reality.

ENSOR: Rand Beers will resign his White House post and
later work against the reelection of President Bush.

The nuclear menace from Iraq has been planted in the
public's mind. Rumsfeld's Pentagon unit pushes a
second threat, a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.

SHEURER: Mr. Tenet, to his credit, had us go back
through CIA files and we went back for almost 10
years, reviewed nearly 20,000 documents, which came to
65,000 pages or more and could find no connection in
the terms of a state sponsored relationship with Iraq.
I believe Mr. Tenet took it downtown, but it
apparently didn't have any impact.

RICE: Clearly, there are contacts between al Qaeda and
Iraq that can be documented. There clearly is
testimony that some of these contacts have been
important contacts and there's a relationship here.

RUMSFELD: We have what we consider to be credible
evidence that al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts in
Iraq who could help then acquire weapons of mass
destruction capabilities.

ENSOR: In fact, CIA intelligence notes "critical gaps"
in the evidence because of the "questionable
reliability" of many of its sources.

September 12th, on the day after the first anniversary
of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush will address the
United Nations.

BUSH: And our greatest fear is that terrorists will
find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw
regime supplies them with technologies to kill on a
massive scale.

Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering
danger.

ENSOR: Seven days later, the president will ask
Congress to grant him authority to use any means he
decides necessary against the perceived threat from
Iraq. That includes military force.

ENSOR: Congress has been asked to give the president
authority to launch a preemptive strike before Iraq
openly threatens or attacks the United States.

SEN. TRENT LOTT, (R) MS: ... conclusion, we will have
set in motion the beginning of the end of Saddam
Hussein.

ENSOR: That means the decision to go to war will be
based on secret intelligence.

SEN. JON KYL, (R) AZ: And that debate needs to be
based upon the very best information, the very best
intelligence ...

ENSOR: There is enormous pressure to get it right.

ARLEN SPECTER, (R) PA: ... authorize the use of force,
the equivalent of a declaration of war. There is no
congressional responsibility that is weighted more ...

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN, (D) IL: As we drew closer to the
day of the vote, it stuck me as odd that we had never
asked for a national intelligence estimate, an NIE.
That national intelligence estimate draws together all
the intelligence agencies and says, now, what's our
best information about the threat and what we will
face if we invade.

ENSOR: Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee
demand that George Tenet, as director of central
intelligence, produce an NIE before the Congress
votes.

MCLAUGHLIN: I do recall thinking that it's unusual to
get a request from the Congress for a national
intelligence estimate. Normally that request comes
through the administration.

DURBIN: Totally unusual. The agencies understand that
if we're about to take a major military action or even
consider one, you bring all your intelligence agencies
together and say, what do you know, and what do you
know for sure before we put our troops in harms way.
Before we risk the reputation and treasure and bodies
of our servicemen. What do we know?

And the administration didn't do that.

ENSOR: Tenet must now present the intelligence
community's formal judgment on matters White House
officials have already publicly addressed.

THIELMANN: On some of the critical assessment,
especially Iraq's nuclear weapons capabilities, one
found that Tenet was defending very stubbornly the
erroneous CIA interpretation. ENSOR: Resolving the
conflict over the aluminum tubes comes down to one
final meeting. The Department of Energy and the State
Department argue they are not for a nuclear program.
The CIA lobbies the other agencies at the table,
insisting they are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Department of Energy was
present but did not have the right individual there to
argue the case. So when confronted with the data, this
individual was not quite prepared to say, well, let me
lay out all of the technical reasons why we would have
a different view. It's one of those elements of life
and bureaucracy that intervened at a critical moment
to make a difference in what the final product said.

ENSOR: Life and bureaucracy lead to a majority vote
against the nuclear experts at Energy and the skeptics
at State in favor of the CIA's analysis of the tubes.

FORD: I would have felt much more comfortable if I had
thought that the majority view was correct. And I
didn't. So that I thought that the United States and
the president in particular, were taking a terrible
risk that they were going to go to war in Iraq and the
intelligence community would have pushed them in that
direction.

ENSOR: The tubes become primary evidence for the NIE's
key judgment that Saddam is reconstituting his nuclear
program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We couldn't really buy on to any of
the things being said so the State Department's
intelligence bureau put in a very deliberate and
strong and lengthy dissent.

ENSOR: The State Department lays out its doubts about
the tubes, calls "highly dubious" the claim that Iraq
is trying to buy uranium in Africa and refuses to
predict when Saddam's alleged nuclear program might
yield a bomb.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that it would have been
more accurate for the intelligence community to say we
don't know exactly what's going on there and there are
some indications that they may be working on their
nuclear program again, but don't ask us to go up there
and prove that to anybody, because it is mostly
guesswork on our part.

BAER: And the problem is the White House didn't go to
the CIA and say "tell me the truth." It said, "give me
everything you've got. Give me ammunition."

This is not peculiar to this White House. Pick a
policy, go to the intelligence agencies, get your
talking points.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There as no more than the normal
political pressure from policymakers. I think the
intelligence community was so certain of its findings
that it didn't require any political pressure from the
policymakers.

SCHEUER: I had never seen a document quite like it in
terms of an NIE but to produce it in such a short time
suggests something -- either the evidence was
overwhelming or the political imperative was
overwhelming.

ENSOR: Vice President Cheney, who declined an
interview request for this report, addressed the
question of political pressure on CNN's WOLF BLITZER
REPORTS.

CHENEY: The WMD commission looked at that very
carefully and found not a shred of evidence to support
it. There never was because they never had it.

ENSOR: 10:30 p.m., October 1st, 2002. The 92-page NIE
is delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The
next morning, Deputy Director McLaughlin briefs the
committee in secret session. He is specifically asked
whether there is evidence Saddam would give weapons of
mass destruction to al Qaeda.

MCLAUGHLIN: The point we made to the NIE was he would
only provide weapons and material support to
terrorists to attack the United States if he was
cornered.

ENSOR: Which meant the NIE did not conclude the threat
from Saddam was imminent.

DURBIN: I walked out of those hearings having heard
something that was truthful and accurate and picked up
the newspaper and saw someone from the White House or
administration has just said the opposite, or they've
said it much differently. I am bound by law not to go
to the press and say, something's wrong here. I can't
do it.

ENSOR: To force the information that contradicts
administration claims into the open, the intelligence
committee insists that Tenet produce a declassified
NIE. Instead the CIA director releases a document that
mirrors in tone a white paper written earlier by the
White House Iraq group. Contradictory evidence is
played down. Claims that strengthen the case for war
are emphasized.

October 7th, three days before the Congress is to
vote.

BUSH: Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi
regime to attack America without leaving any
fingerprints. Facing clear evidence of peril, we
cannot wait for the final prove. The smoking gun that
could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Rockefeller, aye, Mr. Corzine,
no, Mr. Miller -- Mr. Miller, aye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ayes are 77, the nays are 23.
The joint resolution is passed.

DURBIN: The intelligence agencies failed in the most
important responsibility. Advising a president before
the decision is made to go to war. I think that if Mr.
Tenet felt the intelligence was bad or misleading, he
should have resigned over it.

BEERS: Unless you are prepared to resign, it is very
difficult to continue to tell the president something
that he doesn't want to hear. Because if you're not
prepared to resign, you're also not prepared to be
fired.

ENSOR: At the time, George Tenet stood behind the
findings of the NIE and stayed on. He had gained a
place in the president's war cabinet.

ENSOR: Saturday, December 21st, 2002, the decision to
order the invasion of Iraq is looming. George Tenet
and John McLaughlin brief the president, the vice
president and the national security adviser. And
according to Bob Woodward's book, "Plan of Attack,"
McLaughlin presents the case on weapons of mass
destruction as it might be presented to a jury with
top secret clearances.

Unconvinced, President Bush complains it's not
something that Joe Public will understand. According
to what the president then told Woodward, Tenet then
assures him it's a slam dunk.

Tenet has confirmed he spoke those words in the Oval
Office that day but has not confirmed the context. He
now declines all interviews.

MCLAUGHLIN: I make a habit of never talking about
anything that's happened in the Oval Office,
particularly while a president is in office. What I
would tell you is that I don't think "slam dunk," as
it has been described, is the right way to
characterize George Tenet's total view of the Iraq WMD
program, or the Iraq WMD problem. There was -- I think
it was an oversimplification of how he would think
about it.

ENSOR: At the time, in fact, the WMD evidence was
falling apart. Undercut by the CIA's own reporting and
the fact that UN inspectors in Iraq had not found any
weapons.

In the weeks before the president's State of the Union
address, White House speechwriters search for
something concrete to prove Saddam is trying to build
a nuclear bomb. With only days to go, a year old piece
of evidence that the CIA cannot confirm is pulled off
the shelf.

BUSH: The British government has learned that Saddam
Hussein recently sought significant quantities of
uranium from Africa.

ENSOR: The 16 word indictment inserts a claim Tenet
himself had kept out of the president's speech on the
even of the congressional vote for war.

MCLAUGHLIN: There were reservations that everyone had
about this reporting on uranium from Niger and that we
had serious concerns about whether it was true. Now,
how it got in there I don't know and that is yet to be
determined.

ENSOR: In fact, the Senate Intelligence committee
would report there had been a last minute dispute
between the White House and the CIA over the
allegation. When the president's speechwriters changed
the script to cite British intelligence as the source,
not the CIA, the senior agency analysts let it go.

BAER: It's just politicization. You keep on pounding
on the CIA director and say, I'm not ask you to lie,
just give us everything you've got.

ENSOR: A week later, Secretary of State Colin Powell
will make the case for war in a speech to the United
Nations.

POWELL: We also have satellite photos that indicate
that banned materials have recently been moved from a
number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction
facilities.

ENSOR: Powell will put America's credibility and his
own on the line.

COL. LARRY WILKERSON, COLIN POWELL'S CHIEF OF STAFF:
So he came through the door that morning and he had in
his hand a sheaf of papers and he said this is what
I've got to present at the United Nations according to
the White House and you need to look at it.

ENSOR: Colonel Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell's
longtime friend and adviser, was his chief of staff.

WILKERSON: It was anything but an intelligence
document. It was as some people characterized it
later, some kind of Chinese menu from which you could
pick and choose.

ENSOR: At the CIA, Powell and his aides questioned,
point by point, the menu of charges drafted by the
White House.

WILKERSON: There was no way the secretary of state was
going to read off a script about serious matters of
intelligence that could lead to war when the script
was basically unsourced.

ENSOR: For four days and four nights in the conference
room next to Tenet's office, they argued over the
intelligence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary Powell asked a lot of
questions, expressed skepticism about some, was
reassured about others. If he was deeply skeptical it
came it. If we were deeply skeptical it came out.

WILKERSON: And he turned to the DCI, Mr. Tenet, and he
said, everything here, everything here, you stand
behind. And Mr. Tenet said absolutely, Mr. Secretary.
And he said, well, you know you're going to be sitting
behind me tomorrow. Right behind me. In camera.

POWELL: What we're giving you are facts and
conclusions based on solid intelligence.

ENSOR: For more than an hour Secretary Powell displays
photos, holds up a chemical vial that suggests
anthrax, shows slides, all to make dozens of claims
about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

POWELL: I am not expert on centrifuge tubes but just
as an old army trooper, I could tell you a couple of
things. FORD: Every single thing we knew was thrown
into that speech. This is all we got and we're making
these firm judgments?

POWELL: One of the most worrisome things that emerges
from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq's
biological weapons is the existence of mobile
production facilities used to make biological agents.

ENSOR: He makes a dramatic accusation. Saddam has
bioweapons labs mounted on trucks that would be almost
impossible to find.

POWELL: We have firsthand descriptions ...

DAVID KAY, FORMER CHIEF CIA WEAPONS INSPECTOR: In
fact, Secretary Powell was not told that one of the
sources he was given as a source of this information
had indeed been flagged by the Defense Intelligence
Agency as a liar, a fabricator.

POWELL: To finding one ...

ENSOR: Powell was also not told that the prime source,
an Iraqi defector, code named "Curveball" had never
been debriefed by the CIA.

JOHNSON: Maybe the name of agent was alarming enough.
Maybe it should have been "Screwup" or "A Lying Sack
of Manure." Something like that. But to know that
you're giving the president a ticket to go to war
based on one source, at that point you want to drag
the source in and talk to him yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Curveball is a case of utter
irresponsibility and a good example of how decayed the
intelligence process has become.

ENSOR: The day before Powell's speech, a CIA skeptic
had warned about the defector's reputation as a liar.
In an e-mail reply, his superior acknowledges the
problem but adds, "This war is going to happen
regardless. The powers that be probably aren't
interested in whether Curveball knows what he's
talking about.

Powell was not told about the e-mail.

POWELL: Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of
weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or
years is not an option. Not in the post September 11th
world.

ENSOR: The speech would turn out to be riddled with
misleading allegations but at the time the press plays
it as an overwhelming success.

WILKERSON: He had walked into my office musing and he
said words to the effect of, I wonder how we'll all
feel if we put half a million troops in Iraq and march
from one end of the country to the other and find
nothing.

ENSOR: I will forever be known as the one who made the
case, Colin Powell now says. I have to live with that.

WILKERSON: I look back on it and I still say it's the
lowest point in my life. I wish I had not been
involved in it.

ENSOR: March 19th, 2003. The aerial bombardment of
Iraq begins. The first preemptive war on this scale in
U.S. history.

ENSOR: May 1st, 2003. The president declares that
major combat in Iraq is over. But Saddam's weapons of
mass destruction, the primary reason for going to war,
have not yet been found.

George Tenet asks David Kay, who had been the chief UN
nuclear inspector after the Gulf War to take charge of
the search.

KAY: When I took on this job I had a set of conditions
to do it because I was essentially taking on the moral
hazard, as I've referred to it, for the CIA. That is,
it was a CIA conclusion that there were weapons.

ENSOR: Once Kay is in Iraq, it is almost immediately
clear to him that the WMD stockpiles he and his
thousand strong team are searching for are not there.
The aluminum tubes are an early signal.

KAY: We got in and found they really were part of a
weapons program.

ENSOR: The bioweapons labs described by Curveball
don't exist. In private e-mails, Kay begins to warn
Tenet that the evidence is falling apart.

WILKERSON: George actually did call the secretary and
say, I'm really sorry to have to tell you, we don't
believe there were any mobile labs for making
biological weapons. This was third or fourth telephone
call and I think it's fair to say the secretary and
Mr. Tenet at that point ceased being close.

You can be sincere and you can be honest and you can
believe what you're telling the secretary, but three
or four times on substantive issues like that, it's
difficult to maintain any warm feelings.

ENSOR: There are also increasing questions about the
president's State of the Union charge that Saddam was
buying uranium in Africa.

RICE: And had there been even a peep that the agency
did not want that sentence in or that George Tenet did
not want that sentence in that the director of central
intelligence did not want that in, it would have been
gone.

ENSOR: When the White House blames Tenet, he takes
public responsibility and so offers cover for the
president. It is an old Washington pattern.

JOHNSON: The CIA was not the one who said hey, let's
invade Cuba and launch the Bay of Pigs. That was a
direction from Dwight Eisenhower and then it was
continued by John Kennedy. The CIA wasn't the one who
said, hey, let's go into Vietnam and set up
assassination teams. Again, that direction came from
Lyndon Baines Johnson. Hey, let's get involved and see
if we can launch a coup in Chile. That came from
Richard Nixon.

And when you come to Iran-Contra, that came from
Ronald Reagan. And yet the CIA has become the
convenient whipping dog that when things go back
you've got to have somebody to kick, and they end up
being the dog that gets kicked.

ENSOR: Behind the scenes, the ties of loyalty between
President Bush and George Tenet begin to fray. And
David Kay, after six months on the ground in Iraq is
ready to quit. Tenet tells him, if you resign now, it
will appear that we don't know what we're doing. That
the wheels are coming off.

KAY: I was asked to not go public with my resignation
until after the president's State of the Union address
which -- this is Washington and in general -- I've
been around long enough so I know in January you don't
try to get bad news out before the president gives his
State of the Union address.

It is time to give the fundamental analysis of how we
got here ...

ENSOR: Eight days after the president's January 2004
State of the Union, David Kay testifies before the
Senate Armed Services Committee.

KAY: My view was that the best evidence I had seen was
Iraq indeed had weapons of mass destruction.

It turns out we were all wrong and that is most
disturbing.

If the intelligence community had said there were no
weapons there, would the policymakers have decided for
other reasons, regime change, human rights, whatever,
to go to war. All you can say is we'll never know,
because the system said, apparently, it's a slam dunk
there are weapons there.

ENSOR: Kay's testimony sparks another round of finger
pointing and the right between the White House and the
CIA breaks open.

TENET: Let me be clear. Analysts differed on several
important aspects of these programs and those debates
were spelled out in the estimate. They never said
there was an imminent threat.

ENSOR: In his February speech, Tenet defends the
agency and implicitly raised the question of how
policymakers used the intelligence. A month later he
is called before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, (D) MA: Did you ever tell him,
Mr. President, you are overstating the case? Did you
ever tell Condoleezza Rice, did you ever tell the vice
president that they are overstating the case? And if
you didn't, why not?

TENET: Well, senator, I do the intelligence. They then
take the intelligence and assess the risk and make a
policy judgment about what they think about it. SEN.
CARL LEVIN, (D) MI: It seems to me there's got to be
someone in your office who is going to say to you, you
know, the vice president said something which just
doesn't have our support.

TENET: Sir it's a fair point.

LEVIN: You can't just wait until we have a hearing ...

TENET: Sir, it's a fair point.

KENNEDY: Do you believe the administration, then,
misrepresented the facts to justify the war?

TENET: No sir, I don't.

KENNEDY: Well, why not?

TENET: In policy judgments, you know, sir, there are
places where I intervened ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The great 18th director of central
intelligence, the honorable George J. Tenet.

ENSOR: On June 3rd, 2004, George Tenet announced his
resignation. His tenure included major successes.
Unraveling Pakistani involvement in nuclear
proliferation, convincing Libya to give up weapons of
mass destruction. Hitting the ground running in
Afghanistan within days of 9/11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Tenet drove that process.
Clearly, the victories we've had in counterterrorism
are ones that George Tenet deserves a great deal of
credibility.

ENSOR: But when it came to the most important issue of
his career, the war in Iraq, Tenet may be remembered
for two words that could haunt him forever, "Slam
dunk."

KAY: If you trade access and influence for
independence and questioning, you're not serving
either of the institutions you represent, the CIA or
the president at whose pleasure you serve.

TENET: It has been the greatest privilege of my life
to be your director. I thank you all very much.

ENSOR: Six months later, Congress will mandate the
first major overhaul of the nation's intelligence
system since 1947, when the Central Intelligence
Agency was created.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the
recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

ENSOR: Six months after George Tenet resigned,
President Bush awarded him and two other officials who
played key roles in America's involvement in Iraq the
nation's highest civilian honor. The talk is now about
regime change and building democracy, but no one has
yet been held accountable for the flawed intelligence
or the way it was used, the convince the American
people of an urgent need for war.

As the fighting continues, other dangers intensify.
The probability of nuclear weapons in North Korea, the
possibility in Iran and the fear of loose nukes in the
hands of terrorists.

KAY: We can't afford to be wrong a second time. How
many people in the world are going to believe us when
we say it's a "slam dunk," to use George Tenet's
terms? Iran has nuclear weapons. The answer is going
to be, you said that before.

JOHN NEGROPONTE, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE:
From everything we've learned, from the experience
we've had in the past several years, we don't want a
repetition of this kind of situation. We don't want to
have the Curveball situation.

ENSOR: John Negroponte is now at the storm's center.
The nation's first ever director of national
intelligence must take charge of 15 often competing
spy agencies. Get it right on Iran and North Korea and
find a way to ensure that dissent is heard.

MCLAUGHLIN: It isn't always pleasant to hear bad news,
but the chief intelligence officer of the United
States, as a job requirement, is frequently the skunk
at the picnic, and that's just the way it is.

NEGROPONTE: Terrorism and WMD and that's certainly
something -- and those are issues I'm going to devote
...

ENSOR: Negroponte has been handed vast responsibility
but less defined power. Most of the agencies that make
up America's intelligence community and 80 percent of
its $40 billion budget have been controlled by the
Pentagon.

WILKERSON: It is up to the president of the United
States how effective or ineffective Ambassador
Negroponte is as the national intelligence director.
And he is going to have to make choices that fly in
the face, in my view, of both his vice president and
his secretary of defense. Which means he's going to
have to stand up to them.

NEGROPONTE: I believe that the president deserves from
his director of national intelligence and from the
intelligence community the unvarnished truth.

ENSOR: John Negroponte promises to tell truth to
power. But if he is willing to be the skunk at the
picnic, will the president continue his stand behind
him?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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