April 27, 2009
Posted: 08:10 AM ET
By Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson
Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s reemergence on the political stage after his ignominious departure on Inauguration Day, eschewing the traditional handshake with his successor and the new president, is nothing if not ironic.
The most secretive individual in American politics is now calling for the selective release of documents that remain classified in one of his own files marked “Detainees.” We have also learned that a principal reason for having tortured senior al Qaeda detainees was not, in fact, to defend the Homeland, but rather to build the case for war with Iraq based on alleged ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Despite literally hundreds of waterboarding sessions, there was no evidence developed that such a link existed. But that did not stop Cheney. He and others in the Bush administration simply asserted a link even though they knew one did not exist.
I know something about Cheney’s disinformation. When I, and a number of others, including a four-star Marine Corps general, Carleton Fulford, and the then-U.S. Ambassador to the West African nation of Niger, reported to the CIA that there was no evidence to support the assertion that Iraq had entered into a contract to purchase 500 tons of uranium yellowcake, our conclusions were ignored by the Bush administration. Instead, the president, in his State of the Union address in 2003, proclaimed a falsehood: “Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was trotted out to assert that we could not afford to “wait for the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud,” and Cheney himself asserted that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear-weapons program.
Filed under: Vice President Dick Cheney
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