back to the grind

unlike Daily Kos, which argues today that Tenet's admission of guilt for Bush opens more questions than answers, I must confess to a deep pessimism about whether the YellowGate scandal will indeed intensify or simply peter out. Its the weekend, the press is congratulating itself for having done some real journalism for once, Bush is back from Africa and the news cycle will be dominated by something new. I think all the elements are there for the media to take yet another pass. After all the narrative, which is what the media crave above all else, is nicely closed with the Tenet hara-kiri.

However, Dean was on fire on CNN yesterday:

KARL: The president and his national security adviser are saying that the CIA, and George Tenet specifically, cleared this speech and signed off on it. Does that get the president off the hook?

DEAN: We don't know that. The fact is that [former U.S.] Ambassador [to Niger Joseph] Wilson, in a public statement in The New York Times, has indicated that his report showing that there was no involvement between Niger and Iraq in terms of the uranium deal went to the office of the vice president, the secretary of state and the CIA. So I don't know what the president knew and when the president knew it, but I know that this intelligence-handling is a disaster for the administration at best, and either no one got to the secretary of defense or the president, or his own senior advisors withheld information.

So this is a serious credibility problem, and it's a lot deeper than just the Iraq-Niger deal, it has to do with assertions by the secretary of defense that he knew where weapons were that turned out not to be there, it has to do with assertions by the vice president there was a nuclear program that turned out not to exist, and assertions made by the president himself, not just about the acquisition of uranium, but also about the ability of [deposed Iraqi President] Saddam [Hussein] to use chemical weapons on the United States. We need a full-blown public investigation not held in Congress but by an outside bipartisan commission.

KARL: Condoleezza Rice specifically mentioned George Tenet, and now the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is specifically saying that George Tenet had a responsibility to tell the president about this but didn't.

DEAN: It's beginning to sound a little like Watergate. They start throwing people over the side. The deeper you go, the more interesting it will be. It's very clear that it may be George Tenet's responsibility, but that information also existed in the State Department and it also existed in the vice president's office, so they will not get away with simply throwing George Tenet over the side.

As usual, he will be the only one asking the tough questions in public - and that will draw even more people to him. Don't expect the other major candidates, who voted for the war on Iraq, to join Dean in questioning Yellowgate and Tenet's highly suspicious (even to conservatives) timing.

No comments: