I just went through Bush's NIE presser and it was pretty disturbing all around. The war drumbeat against Iran has been going on for sooo long now
December 3, 2007

I just went through Bush's NIE presser and it was pretty disturbing all around. The war drumbeat against Iran has been going on for sooo long now. You can understand why this report shatters the Bush/Cheney doctrine of immorally---attacking--a--country---that hasn't attacked us. It's a virtual replay of their Iraq intelligence scam. NBC's David Gregory, called Bush on his "hyping" this scam just like he did with Iraq. Bush ineffectually told David Gregory that he just got the results of the NIE report last week.

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Q Mr. President, thank you. I'd like to follow on that. When you talked about Iraq, you and others in the administration talked about a mushroom cloud; then there were no WMD in Iraq. When it came to Iran, you said in October, on October 17th, you warned about the prospect of World War III, when months before you made that statement, this intelligence about them suspending their weapons program back in '03 had already come to light to this administration. So can't you be accused of hyping this threat? And don't you worry that that undermines U.S. credibility?

THE PRESIDENT: David, I don't want to contradict an August reporter such as yourself, but I was made aware of the NIE last week. In August, I think it was Mike McConnell came in and said, we have some new information. He didn't tell me what the information was; he did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze. Why would you take time to analyze new information? One, you want to make sure it's not disinformation. You want to make sure the piece of intelligence you have is real. And secondly, they want to make sure they understand the intelligence they gathered: If they think it's real, then what does it mean? And it wasn't until last week that I was briefed on the NIE that is now public.

Not that it mattered to him, but Bush and Cheney and any number of warmongers go around spewing venom and trying to get the public behind another military strike while he's waiting for the new intelligence to be verified? OK, I know there's a neocon always needing a war fix---and probably has dark suspicions about the NIE report, but this

And here's what Stephen Hadley said yesterday.

Q Steve, when was the first time the President was given the inkling of something? I'm not clear on this. Was this months ago, when the first information started to become available to intelligence agencies?

MR. HADLEY: You ought to go back to the intelligence community. We will get you an answer on that. There's two questions: one, when did they first get the information? -- you ought to ask that to them -- two, when was the President notified that there was new information available? We'll try and get you a precise answer. As I say, it was, in my recollection, is in the last few months. Whether that is October -- August, September, we'll try and get you an answer to that.

I'm a big "Texas Hold em" fan and Josh Marshall caught a "tell" that indicates he knew before a week ago.

If you go back to his October 17th press conference, the one where he spoke of 'World War III' he changes his wording. It's no longer the need to prevent the Iranians from getting the bomb. Now it's the necessity of "preventing them from hav[ing] the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

That's the tell.

That change is no accident. He wants claims that will survive the eventual revelation of this new intelligence -- while also continuing to hype the imminence of the Iranian nuclear threat that his spy chiefs are telling him likely does not exist.

They've shifted their rules of engagement again to attacking a country for knowledge alone.

Scott Horton has more:

But one highly reliable intelligence community source I consulted immediately after Hadley spoke answered my question this way: “This is absolutely absurd. The NIE has been in substantially the form in which it was finally submitted for more than six months. The White House, and particularly Vice President Cheney, used every trick in the book to stop it from being finalized and issued. There was no last minute breakthrough that caused the issuance of the assessment.”

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