Lying About Lying

Jury selection has begun for the trial of Lewis Libby, charged with lying to the Feds about lies Libby claims he didn’t tell to sycophantic “reporters.”

Since the lies Libby is alleged to have told – and the circumstances of their telling – are unlikely to become an issue at trial, it is perhaps worthwhile explicating them a bit.

In late 2001 the Italian Military Intelligence and Security Service had informed the CIA that the Iraqi ambassador to the Vatican had reportedly attempted on a visit to Niger to arrange the purchase of “yellowcake” – a mixture of natural uranium oxides.

At that time no documentation was provided.

In February 2002, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and others were sent, independently, to Niger. All reported back to the CIA and the State Department that the Italian report – still undocumented – was without foundation.

So, months after we now know (from the Downing Street Memos) that Bush-Cheney had been busy “fixing the intelligence” to support the decision that had already been made to invade and occupy Iraq, CIA Director Tenet asked that a reference to the alleged purchase of yellowcake by Iraq be removed from a speech President Bush was to give on Oct. 7, 2002.

Guess what happened next.

The “documentation” for the alleged purchase of yellowcake by Iraq from Niger was delivered to our Embassy in Rome on Oct. 9, 2002.

The next day, Congress approved the Joint Congressional Resolution Authorizing the Use of US Armed Forces Against Iraqconditional on a Presidential Determination that “reliance on peaceful means alone will not adequately protect the national security of the United States.”

So, Bush, Cheney, and Condi Rice immediately began referring to the Niger documents just obtained as proof that Saddam Hussein was reconstructing his nuclear weapons program and that the next “intelligence” we got might be in the shape of a “mushroom shaped cloud.”

In November, 2002, Saddam Hussein acquiesced to UN Security Council Resolution 1441, allowing UN inspectors – including members of the International Atomic Energy Agency Action Team on Iraq – unfettered access to Iraq.

The IAEA had reported to the Security Council as early as 1998 that Saddam had completely abandoned his attempt to produce nuclear weapons way back in 1991 and under UNSCR 1441 reported that he had made no attempt since to resurrect that program.

In particular, Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei reported that

  • There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.
  • There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import uranium since 1990.
  • There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminium tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment. Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminium tubes in question.
  • Although we are still reviewing issues related to magnets and magnet production, there is no indication to date that Iraq imported magnets for use in a centrifuge enrichment programme.

After Bush, Cheney, Rice and Colin Powell began citing the Niger documents in October, 2002, as a casus belli, the IAEA asked to see them. Finally, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the IAEA was faxed a copy. Within hours they were determined by the IAEA to be forgeries!

Hence, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, thanks to the IAEA, if there was any nation on earth certified to not have a nuclear weapons program, it was Iraq.

Nevertheless, on March 19 – the day Parliament authorized Prime Minister Tony Blair to use force against Iraq – Bush notified Congress that no “further diplomatic or other peaceful means will adequately protect the national security of the United States from the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”

Then, on May 6, 2003, while the Cheney Cabal and all the neocrazies were celebrating Operation Iraqi Cakewalk, the New York Times published a column by Nicholas Kristof, which contained these reservations:

“I rejoice in the newfound freedoms in Iraq. But there are indications that the U.S. government souped up intelligence, leaned on spooks to change their conclusions, and concealed contrary information to deceive people at home and around the world.

“Let’s fervently hope that tomorrow we find an Iraqi superdome filled with 500 tons of mustard gas and nerve gas, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 29,984 prohibited munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, several dozen Scud missiles, gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, 18 mobile biological warfare factories, long-range unmanned aerial vehicles to dispense anthrax, and proof of close ties with al-Qaeda.”

Most of what Kristof itemizes above had been “reported” – beginning in September 2002 – to exist in Iraq by Judith Miller of the New York Times.

“Jail Bird” Miller has since admitted that her reports – all of which turned out to be wrong – were based upon “intelligence” provided to her by Ahmed Chalabi. But Miller claims she got confirmation of that “intelligence” from various high-level Bush-Cheney administration officials.

Various high-level Bush-Cheney administration officials?

Like members of the White House Iraq Group, founded in September 2002 to promote “support” for war against Iraq amongst the general populace?


According to Walter Pincus, the WHIG met weekly in the Situation Room.

“Among the regular participants were Karl Rove, the president’s senior political adviser; communications strategists Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and James R. Wilkinson; legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio; and policy advisers led by Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, along with I. Lewis Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff.”

Lewis Libby?

Cheney’s chief of staff?


Do you suppose that’s going to be Scooter’s defense? That he was – like other war criminals – merely following orders? That he was merely “confirming” to various media sycophants the “intelligence” that WHIG had “fixed” the year before to promote a war that would otherwise not be sanctioned by either Congress or the Security Council?

And that he was merely following orders when he continued to “confirm” that “intelligence” months after the war of aggression – unsanctioned by either Congress of the Security Council – had begun? “Intelligence” that Libby (and all members of the Security Council and most Congresspersons, if not all members of the sycophantic media) knew had been totally discredited months before the war actually began?

Well, it might work. By the time Bush’s war of aggression began, many targeted media recipients realized Libby had been lying to them, and on whose behalf.

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.