David Gergen thinks that Karl Rove deserves a pass for saying the Bush administration didn't lie about the WMD's in Iraq because the Clinton administr
March 11, 2010

David Gergen thinks that Karl Rove deserves a pass for saying the Bush administration didn't lie about the WMD's in Iraq because the Clinton administration thought Saddam Hussein might have had weapons as well. Amazingly in the next breath he admits that they did hype the nuclear threat with the mushroom cloud analogy. Well David Gergen, scaring everyone about Saddam Hussein possibly giving nukes to terrorists is exactly what they used to lie us into war.

He also discounts that the weapon inspectors were not on the ground saying there were no WMD's when Clinton was in office and ignores that the Bush administration wanted to attack Iraq before their first day in office. David Corn's article at the Nation from back in 2006 goes into some detail about the Bush administration's lies to get us into that war in case David Gergen needs his memory refreshed -- Cheney, 9/11 and the Truth about Iraq.

Transcript via CNN.

BLITZER: But let's get some analysis now from our senior political analysts, Gloria Borger and David Gergen -- David, he really didn't want to take personal responsibility for failing to go through the intelligence himself. Even though he had the highest security clearances, he was relying, he points out, apparently, on others.

DAVID GERGEN: Well, I think that's -- you know, he was not the national security adviser and he was -- you know, he was more of a political person in the White House.

But, Wolf, I must tell that you after we went in and couldn't find the WMD, I was very suspicious that the Bush administration and the president personally had lied to us. And then I had the opportunity to talk to several people high up in the Clinton administration, both in intelligence and at the White House.

And I can tell you that those people -- these Democrats in the previous administration, including the president, Clinton, himself, believed that there was likely to be WMD in Iraq based on intelligence. They -- the intelligence -- we had here a massive intelligence failure. And while I -- I think there are many other mistakes the Bush administration made with regard to Iraq -- and I do think they inflated the threat of a nuclear -- a nuclearized Iraq, you know, the -- the mushroom cloud analogy they kept using to scare people -- that that was wrong.

But on the fundamental point Karl Rove is making, that it was intelligence, not lies, not mendacity, I think he very much deserves the benefit of the doubt. I think he's basically right.

BLITZER: Because, as you know, Gloria, a lot of critics say there was plenty of other evidence saying there -- there was limited, if any, weapons of mass destruction and it really didn't represent a major threat to anyone outside of Iraq. That intelligence was effectively, they say, ignored.

GLORIA BORGER: Well, and -- and there was also a charge that was made later on, which is that the administration essentially cherry picked the intelligence that was presented to them. The intelligence that looked like Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was, some think, some charge that they paid more attention to than the intelligence, which was later revealed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, that showed that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction.

It was interesting to me that -- that Karl Rove mentioned Colin Powell, because, of course, you'll recall that Powell testified very strongly before the United Nations about the presence of WMD and now refers to that testimony as the low point in his career. And later on, he says that he realized that some of the intelligence that was supplied to him was supplied by someone who was unreliable, who, in the intelligence community, was known as Curveball.

So while Karl Rove didn't want to blame George Tenet, it's very clear to me that Colin Powell felt that he believed that he was being fed some bad information.

BLITZER: I want both of you to stand by, because part two of the interview is coming up.

We -- we go through the whole Valerie Plame incident and Karl Rove's involvement in that.

We'll assess that, as well.

Stand by.

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