February 06, 2004

These Are Going to Be Some Interesting Commission Meetings...

Bush Commission to investigate "intelligence failures": Chuck Robb, Laurence Silberman, Lloyd Cutler, John McCain, Patricia Wald, Rick Levin, and Bill Studeman.

Laurence Silberman. Pat Wald. These are going to be some interesting commission meetings.

From David Brock (2002), Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative (New York: Crown Publishing: 0812930991), p. 113:

...illegally leaking [Anita] Hill's confidential Judiciary Committee affidavit about [Clarence Thomas] to the press... Judge Patricia Wald of the D.C. Circuit, a liberal whom I... portrayed as a conspirator in the campaign.... [I]t had been none other than Judge Silberman who gave me the false information on his colleague Pat Wald, whom he hated with a passion....

Let me hasten to add that Pat Wald was, long ago, one of my father's bosses. I remember her as very smart, witty, sane, friendly, and tall (I was about ten years old at the time). Laurence Silberman is, by contrast, the kind of man who would patronize and boost a David Brock. He has the most partisanship and the least ethics of anyone to sit on the federal bench in my lifetime (save possibly his masters Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas). And he is there to blow up the Commission if it reaches any conclusions that the Bushies do not like.

And if you don't already have enough reasons to loathe David Brock, here's another: his book doesn't have an index.

UPDATE: As wcw comments, "David Neiwert strikes the right tone on the Silberman appointment: http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2004_02_01_dneiwert_archive.html#107610489659604535.... Neiwert is what journalism today should be, and isn't."

Posted by DeLong at February 6, 2004 03:05 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post

David Neiwert strikes the right tone on the Silberman appointment:

I can't disagree, and I can't top his presentation. Neiwert is what journalism today should be, and isn't.

Posted by: wcw on February 6, 2004 03:13 PM


Given the now conventional wisdom that the great thing about Howard Dean is that he restored spine to the democratic party, this is a test: will the Dems simply accept, meekly, this obvious charade, whose whitewash will be Lord Hutton-like, or will they scream bloody murder?

My guess is that the Dems haven't recovered that much spine.

Oh to be proven wrong!

Posted by: howard on February 6, 2004 04:46 PM


Neiwert's piece on the Nazi Bush connection is just devastating. How does this information remain concealed for so long?
Or am I the last to know? Just when I thought it couldn't get much worse...

Posted by: calmo on February 6, 2004 05:40 PM


Niewert has added an update, linking to http://www.danconley.com/archives/000212.htm
this item decrying the choice of Robb, as well.

Posted by: Linkmeister on February 6, 2004 06:12 PM


This "War on 'Terror'" show is almost as interesting as the Superbowl.

Just last week we were treated to "TONY'S WEEK FROM HELL"


Blair accepts Hutton report "in full"

Wed Jan 28, 9:21 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that he accepted "in full" a judicial report which exonerated him of any wrongdoing in the suicide last year of weapons expert David Kelly...



Then, (was it only yesterday :?) we were all exposed to more cricket ala Karachi than we had any right ever to expect to see:


U.S. Hopes to Gain From Pakistan Pardon

Fri Feb 6, 3:06 AM ET

By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - He is a black-market profiteer who worked to help Iran and North Korea acquire the nuclear weapons secrets that President Bush said makes them part of an "axis of evil." Yet when scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan received a public pardon Thursday from Pakistan's leader, there was nary a murmur of protest in fact there was praise from American officials.

To weapons inspector David Kay and others, it was an outrage.

"I can think of no one who deserves less to be pardoned," said Kay, former head of a U.S. team that searched for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He said Khan was "running essentially a Sam's Club" of weapons technology.

Yet others say the public response may mask U.S. officials' real motivation....



And now, after all these years, it looks like they're FINALLY going to be throwing PROFESSIONAL spitballs in the Washington area once again.


Bush Names Panelists in Iraq Intel Probe

20 minutes ago

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - President Bush appointed a conservative former judge and a moderate former Democratic senator Friday to head a special commission to "figure out why" inspectors haven't found the weapons that intelligence experts said Saddam Hussein was hiding in Iraq.

Bush told the panel to report back to him by the end of March 2005, well after the November elections and two years after U.S. troops invaded Iraq.

"Some prewar intelligence assessments by America and other nations about Iraq's weapon stockpiles have not been confirmed," Bush said in the White House briefing room. "We are determined to figure out why...."



I don't know about anybody else. But THIS sports fan is impressed.

I hope somebody's getting it all on tape--For posterity.

Posted by: Mike on February 6, 2004 07:10 PM


"Some prewar intelligence assessments by America and other nations about Iraq's weapon stockpiles have not been confirmed," Bush said in the White House briefing room---" GW Bush


Posted by: bobbyp on February 6, 2004 07:58 PM


"My guess is that the Dems haven't recovered that much spine."

To my way of thinking, Howard, your hopes will most likely come to fuition. The party has to realize that this is the OK corral. If they don't fight now, it's over.

If they don't, we'll have some kind of "left", a bunch of lost independents, and conservative dems joining the GOP to be on the winning side. Read: GOP hegemony now and into the future "as far as the eye can see."

Not a pretty sight.

Posted by: bobbyp on February 6, 2004 08:02 PM


Brad--Use Amazon's "search inside the book" for books that lack an index. I've been tempted to grab some Silberman stuff that way, but enough bloggers, including you, have already done this -- especially Dave Neiwert.

Posted by: Angry Bear on February 7, 2004 12:12 AM


Many share your frustration re: Blinded by the Right. Lucky for us, some good folks decided to do something about it. Here's The Brock Index Project: http://www.bushwatch.com/brock.htm

What you want:

Silberman, Laurence 45, 90, 95, 96, 97, 107, 109, 11, 113, 114, 119, 120, 134, 145, 148, 164, 169, 180, 186-188, 191, 192, 208, 215, 238, 239-241, 246, 269, 271, 279, 284, 291, 309, 310, 315, 335

Posted by: american woman on February 7, 2004 01:43 AM


Jim Lobe resurrects the short version of the Silberman "resume'" rather nicely here:


"Co-Chair of Bush Panel Part of Far Right Network"

WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (IPS) - President George W. Bush's choice to co-chair his commission to investigate intelligence failures prior to the Iraq War is a long-time, right wing political activist closely tied to the neo-conservative network that led the pro-war propaganda campaign.

Federal appeals court Judge Laurence Silberman, who will share the chairmanship with former Virginia Democratic Senator Charles Robb, also has some history in covert operations.

In 1980, when he served as part of former Republican president Ronald Reagan's senior campaign staff, he played a key role in setting up secret contacts between the Reagan-Bush campaign and the Islamic government in Tehran, in what became known as the ''October Surprise'' controversy....



I haven't seen a definitive full (political) body massage of Chuck Robb in the "reputable" press yet. But a political voyeur in the audience (if, God forbid, there should happen to actually be one ;-) probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that both of those "dignified" characters have received the New York Times seal of Editorial Approval:


The Intelligence Commission

Published: February 7, 2004

President Bush's new commission to review why the intelligence on Iraq misfired looks more like an effort to deflect attention until after the election than a genuine attempt to get to the bottom of the Iraq fiasco. Though dignified and bipartisan, the members lack the technical expertise to really unravel what was wrong with American intelligence and suggest how to fix it. And Mr. Bush withheld the mandate to get at the big political question they could answer: Did the administration hype intelligence to increase support for the war?

The co-chairmen are appropriately of opposite parties: Charles Robb, a Democrat who married Lyndon Johnson's daughter and went on to be elected as governor and senator in Virginia, and Laurence Silberman, a Republican and retired appeals court judge who was a Reagan appointee. The other five members include Senator John McCain, a maverick Republican known to speak his mind; Lloyd Cutler, who was legal counsel for two Democratic presidents; Richard Levin, president of Yale University; and Patricia Wald, a liberal who was chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The only appointee with a deep knowledge of intelligence gathering is Adm. William Studeman, a former deputy director of central intelligence.

This group lacks the stature and name recognition that would give its findings commanding credibility. Worse yet, it looks as if Mr. Bush, who chose not to allow a truly independent panel, will limit its mandate to a review of intelligence gathering and analysis. He has given the panel the authority to examine why the prewar estimates of Iraq's weapons stockpiles differ from what has been found and to evaluate intelligence on weapons programs in other countries. Mr. Bush did not ask the panel for an unfettered look at how his administration had presented the intelligence in making the case for war. By dodging that, the president leaves voters to find their own answers.


Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2004 02:24 AM


Richard Levin of Yale was somewhat evasive yesterday on NPR-ATC on the subject of misuse/manipulation/filtering of intelligence data. I suppose he is there on the principle that the establishment can be counted on to protect one of its own.

Posted by: Bob H on February 7, 2004 07:42 AM


I note that the NYT is now using D-words ('D'efensive and 'D'iscordant) to describe the Bush response to the WMD intelligence problems. Can 'D'isarray and 'B'eleaguered be far behind?

Posted by: Matt on February 7, 2004 07:50 AM


"It falls apart
The center cannot hold"

From LiberalOasis.com:

Now we have another case in point: the daily roundtable on Fox News’ Special Report.

It’s normally a lovefest between the Right against the center-right. But yesterday, it got downright mean.

As the spectacle of watching pompous conservatives turn on their own is so delicious, below is an extended transcript excerpt:

MORT KONDRACKE: David Kay, on the basis of what looks like about 85 percent of a sweep of the suspected sites --

BRIT HUME: [CIA Director George] Tenet said, by the way, that they’re nowhere near 85 percent.

KONDRACKE: (dismissively) Well, alright. Whatever.

But anyway, lots of interviews. Kay’s convinced that they’re not there. Maybe they’re in Syria. Maybe they are in Syria.

FRED BARNES: Mort, you used the “p” word. Don’t you remember when Kay used the “p” word?

He said, that there aren’t – it doesn’t look like there are…weapons of mass destruction there, probably. Probably. That’s what he said. Kay.

KONDRACKE: But on the basis of the evidence now –

HUME: We understand what Kay said, Mort. What I want to know is what you think of what Tenet said.

KONDRACKE: Yeah, well, I think it’s – he said that we did this honestly.

We did it as thoroughly as we possibly could. We had lots of sources and stuff like that.

And he’s not willingly to admit that he was wrong. Now, at what point do you admit that you’re wrong?

Sometime after the election, I assume.

HUME: Wait a minute, the question that I have is this:

Is part of what he said today that you don’t understand the difference between intelligence and proof?

KONDRACKE: Look, we went to war based on assertions –

HUME: In part.



KONDRACKE: Wait, wait a minute. What convinced --

BARNES: Not largely.

KONDRACKE: Wait just a minute. What convinced people in Congress. And frankly what convinced me.

What convinced Dick Gephardt. What convinced loads of people that we had to do –

HUME: (getting angry) Mort, you sat at this desk, long before these arguments were ever made about weapons of mass destruction –

KONDRACKE: (getting angry) No.

HUME: And you sat at this desk, and talked about the next step in the War on Terror, which was to take out Saddam Hussein.


HUME: You said, and you spoke how that was the next step and the right step.

KONDRACKE: Look, I – I’m telling you that what convinced me in the end, that we had to go the war was they, was – I’m telling you –

HUME: (angrily sputtering) What, did you get unconvinced between the time you said those things here and then –

KONDRACKE: I’m telling you, I’m telling you that what convinced me that we had to go to war, was the danger, was the belief that he had weapons of mass destruction.

I thought he had huge caches of them, based on what the Administration was saying.

And that we would discover them in the end. And that they could be handed off to Al Qaeda.

You know, that is what tipped the balance, and it’s what tipped the balance for a lot --

BARNES: (childishly) So you’re against the war now?

KONDRACKE: No, I’m not against the war.

What I’m saying…just let me finish… it does not solve the credibility problem of the United States vis-a-vis North Korea and Iran.


Posted by: Kosh on February 7, 2004 09:55 AM


I guess Godwin's Law has been repealed.

David Niewirt:

There has already been some discussion about Phillips' treatment of the Bush family's business connections to the Nazis. While the re-emergence of this story may give the Ed Gillespies of the world an aneurism, Phillips' treatment is thorough, balanced and scrupulously factual. It is also damning. As he said Thursday night, "the connection is real."

Suffice to say that he reaches essentially the same conclusion that I did in "Bush, the Nazis and America" -- namely, that while there is no evidence of ideological or other affinities for Hitler and his fascist regime, there was a notable willingness to evade the moral ramifications of these dealings in the pursuit of business as usual.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 7, 2004 10:07 AM


AND: October Surprise!

This Neiwert guy is a hoot. Didn't he read the Man Who Would Never Lie To Us's memoir, "Keeping Faith"?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on February 7, 2004 10:13 AM


Its rather interesting for me..


Posted by: Lois on June 5, 2004 06:47 AM


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