Hardball: Trying To Defend GWB's Record, Frank Gaffney Blames Saddam For Oklahoma City Bombing

[media id=7564] (h/t Heather) Chris Matthews was so busy patting himself on the back for his surprisingly sharp interview with Ari Fleischer on Wedne

(h/t Heather)

Chris Matthews was so busy patting himself on the back for his surprisingly sharp interview with Ari Fleischer on Wednesday that he let another really BIG whopper of a neo-con lie go past uncommented on Thursday's Hardball.

Frank Gaffney, proud Neo-con and President of the Center for Security Policy is asked if he thought Fleischer was out of line for his statement that we should all be thankful to George W. Bush because Saddam Hussein can't attack us...again. Someone remind me when Saddam attacked us the first time. Gaffney tries to argue that grammatically that wasn't what Fleischer was saying, but the transcript is hard to argue with.

FLEISCHER: ... and I believe this still today. And of course, you and I disagree with it. But after September 11, having been hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam might not strike again? And that‘s the threat that has been removed, and I think we‘re all safer with that threat being removed.

I'm sure that it comes to no surprise that the latest member of the Bush Legacy PR Team thinks that not only was Fleischer right, but Saddam was far more evil than we ever knew...right down to conspiring with those who committed the Oklahoma City bombing?

MATTHEWS: The polling that took place before we attacked, conducted by “Time” and CNN, showed that 72 percent of the American people, nearly three quarters, believed it was likely that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attack on us 9/11. How do you think they got that idea, that somehow going to war with Iraq was getting even for 9/11?

GAFFNEY: Well, as I said, he kept saying that he was going to try to get even against us for Desert Storm, so it wouldn‘t be unreasonable for people to conclude maybe that that‘s what he was doing. There‘s also circumstantial evidence, not proven by any means, but nonetheless some pretty compelling circumstantial evidence of Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq being involved with the people who perpetrated both the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and even the Oklahoma City bombing.

Um, Neocon-lying-jackass-pulling-facts-from-his-posterior says what? "Compelling" evidence that Saddam's Iraq had something to do with Oklahoma City? Were Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols secret Iraqi agents? And the thoroughly debunked link to the 1993 WTC bombing too? Where the hell does Gaffney get his "compelling evidence"? Why, none other than Laurie Mylroie:

Mylroie has an impressive array of credentials that certify her as an expert on the Middle East, national security, and, above all, Iraq. She has held faculty positions at Harvard and the U.S. Naval War College and worked at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as well as serving as an advisor on Iraq to the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign. During the 1980s, Mylroie was an apologist for Saddam's regime, but reversed her position upon his invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and, with the zeal of the academic spurned, became rabidly anti-Saddam. In the run up to the first Gulf War, Mylroie with New York Times reporter Judith Miller wrote Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf, a well-reviewed bestseller translated into more than a dozen languages.

Until this point, there was nothing controversial about Mylroie's career. This would change with the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the first act of international terrorism within the United States, which would launch Mylroie on a quixotic quest to prove that Saddam's regime was the most important source of terrorism directed against this country. She laid out her case in Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America, a book published by AEI in 2000 which makes it clear that Mylroie and the neocon hawks worked hand in glove to push her theory that Iraq was behind the '93 Trade Center bombing. Its acknowledgements fulsomely thanked John Bolton and the staff of AEI for their assistance, while Richard Perle glowingly blurbed the book as "splendid and wholly convincing." Lewis "Scooter" Libby, now Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, is thanked for his "generous and timely assistance." And it appears that Paul Wolfowitz himself was instrumental in the genesis of Study of Revenge: His then-wife is credited with having "fundamentally shaped the book," while of Wolfowitz, she says: "At critical times, he provided crucial support for a project that is inherently difficult."

None of which was out of the ordinary, except for this: Mylroie became enamored of her theory that Saddam was the mastermind of a vast anti-U.S. terrorist conspiracy in the face of virtually all evidence and expert opinion to the contrary. In what amounts to the discovery of a unified field theory of terrorism, Mylroie believes that Saddam was not only behind the '93 Trade Center attack, but also every anti-American terrorist incident of the past decade, from the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to the leveling of the federal building in Oklahoma City to September 11 itself. She is, in short, a crackpot, which would not be significant if she were merely advising say, Lyndon LaRouche. But her neocon friends who went on to run the war in Iraq believed her theories, bringing her on as a consultant at the Pentagon, and they seem to continue to entertain her eccentric belief that Saddam is the fount of the entire shadow war against America.

Gaffney, in fact, cited Mylroie in 2003 when he first tried peddling this theory in the pages of the Moonie Times.

Later in the interview (available here) Gaffney actually has the gall to cite Douglas "the stupidest f&#(ing man in America" Feith as credible source to the dangers that Saddam posed.

But did Tweety once--just once--call Frank Gaffney on such egregious and bald-faced lies? 'Course not. Apparently, NBC News division employees don't think that's their job.

Transcript below the fold:

We begin tonight with David Corn of “Mother Jones” magazine and former assistance defense secretary Frank Gaffney, who‘s with the Center for Security Policy.

Frank, let me talk to you about last night and what happened here when Ari Fleischer made that statement, which he later adjusted and said he didn‘t mean it exactly the way it came across, that Saddam Hussein had to be prevented from attacking again and that‘s why we went to war with Iraq. Your thoughts?

FRANK GAFFNEY, FMR ASST. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, I think it‘s important that you read it back, Chris, because he didn‘t say attack us again, so I think Ari was right in his characterization of it as Saddam Hussein could not be allowed to attack again wherever, including, as he had repeatedly promised to do in exacting revenge against the United States for the humiliation that we inflicted upon him in Desert Storm.

And as you and I have talked, sometimes with David, sometimes without him, in the past, we know on the basis of the investigation that was conducted inside Iraq after the place was liberated that he had plans to put chemical and biological agent in aerosol sprayers and perfume sprayers for shipment to the United States and Europe. That‘s the kind of terrorist threat that I think President Bush was right in preemptively stopping and removing Saddam Hussein.

MATTHEWS: The polling that took place before we attacked, conducted by “Time” and CNN, showed that 72 percent of the American people, nearly three quarters, believed it was likely that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attack on us 9/11. How do you think they got that idea, that somehow going to war with Iraq was getting even for 9/11?

GAFFNEY: Well, as I said, he kept saying that he was going to try to get even against us for Desert Storm, so it wouldn‘t be unreasonable for people to conclude maybe that that‘s what he was doing. There‘s also circumstantial evidence, not proven by any means, but nonetheless some pretty compelling circumstantial evidence of Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq being involved with the people who perpetrated both the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and even the Oklahoma City bombing.

So the American people, I think, are not stupid. I think that they were looking at a threat environment in which a guy like Saddam Hussein, who was repeatedly talking about exacting revenge against the United States, who was trying to shoot down our aircraft, who was actively supporting terrorism around the world, was a guy that you don‘t want to have an opportunity to act on his threats. That may be what they were concluding.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, before we hear from David Corn, let‘s show right now the compilation we have of clips by—comments made on the record, on the air by President Bush and by Vice President Dick Cheney about Iraq and its role in 9/11. Let‘s take a look at them, beginning with Vice President Dick Cheney on “Meet the Press” talking a meeting he described between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague, a meeting which the 9/11 commission said never took place.

About Nicole Belle

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Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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