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September 25, 2006

A Question For Tony Snow

Dear White House reporters,

Here's a question you might ask Tony Snow at one of those little get-togethers you have:

Tony, as you know, Dan Bartlett said back in July, 2003 that President Bush didn't read all of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq before he took the country to war.

In the five months since it's been completed, has the president read all of the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism?

Let me know if you find out the answer.

your friend,

Posted at September 25, 2006 09:34 AM | TrackBack

Aw, come on. You expect him to change reading habits formed years ago at Yale? (Remember his joke to Wm. Buckley: "He wrote a book while at Yale, and I read one.") Im Witz, veritas. (Witz=joke)

Posted by: donescobar at September 25, 2006 01:43 PM

He's too busy reading Camus. Did any of the people writing the daily briefings win the Nobel prize? I don't think so!

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at September 25, 2006 04:43 PM

I'll add it to the list, but you do realize he's The Decider and not The Reader, right? I feel a flow chart coming on.

Posted by: weldon at September 25, 2006 07:14 PM

This is a segment from a press gaggle with Tony Snow twelve hours ago.

Q Tony, does the President have any reaction to the reports in yesterday's newspapers about the intelligence estimate, suggesting that the war in Iraq had, in fact, spawned new terror cells and made--

MR. SNOW: I think it's important -- one thing that the reports do not say is that war in Iraq has made terrorism worse. And by the way, the DNI will be making public comments later today and he'll be taking questions in Washington. This is -- and I'll tell you what, I'm going to -- because rather than just trying to fake it, I've been in communication with the DNI just to make sure that we get this right. Hang on a second.

The report is not limited to Iraq. I'll just read these out. First, the false impression has been created that the NIE focuses solely on Iraq and terrorism. This NIE examines global terrorism in its totality, the morphing of al Qaeda and its affiliates and other jihadist movements. It assesses that a variety of factors, in addition to Iraq, fuel the spread of jihadism, including longstanding social grievances, slowness of the pace of reform, and the use of the Internet. And it also notes that should jihadists be perceived to have failed in Iraq, fewer will be inspired to carry on the fight.

In short, the news reports contain nothing that the President hasn't said. There was that one conclusion that you just mentioned, Sheryl, that appeared in I think one sentence of The New York Times report, and two sentences in The LA Times. Those are conclusions from blind sources. Obviously, we're not going to go into what the classified report does say, but what we did see in the newspapers yesterday, the substance, is precisely what the President has been saying: Al Qaeda -- the leadership has been hit hard; it has become more dispersed; that there is more independent activity; that they're using other means for communication and organization, such as the Internet; that they have an ideology that is directed at the West and at democracies -- it's a totalitarian ideology that tends to unite them.
And reading the stories I thought, well, yes, I mean, this is what the President has been saying...

* * * * * *

While this is not the exact question proposed by Jonathan the reply from Snow directly contradicts the first sentence in the Washington Post article linked by Jonathan.

"The war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for violent Islamic extremists, motivating a new generation of potential terrorists around the world whose numbers may be increasing faster than the United States and its allies can reduce the threat, U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded."

I think that is a fairly clear statement, analysts conclude the war in Iraq is increasing the number of terrorists which to me says that the war in Iraq has made terrorism worse but maybe Tony Snow is just confused or on the other hand perhaps he is just a liar.

Also I notice the actual question was did the president have a reaction to the report and Snow really does not answer the question but side steps it. I feel fairly certain that if Snow were asked if Bush actually read the whole report Snow would probably just shift the focus to some other related topic as he clearly does here.

Posted by: rob payne at September 26, 2006 01:45 AM

Rob, Bush's reaction to the report was to tell Tony to stop that shit and that's what Tony's doing.

Posted by: Aunt Deb at September 26, 2006 06:11 AM

Aunt Deb,

You are absolutely correct and in fact there is a second report specifically on Iraq, despite what Snow says, that is said to be very grim.

From TPMmuckraker,

"BREAKING: Harman Calls for Release of Second Secret Iraq Report
By Justin Rood - September 26, 2006, 12:15 PM
There's a second damning Iraq report floating around the intelligence community.
At least, that's according to Rep. Jane Harman (CA), the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee. At an event this morning, Harman disclosed the existence of a classified intelligence community report that gives a grim assessment of the situation in Iraq, and called for it to be shared with the American public -- before the November elections."

Via Josh Marshall.

"Hill sources tell TPMmuckraker that the administration has been sitting on the report, trying to prevent its dissemination before the election, presumably. And it turns out, from what we've heard, that this NIE actually hasn't been given the official "NIE" label because doing that would have required sharing it with various members of Congress."

As you probably already know Bush believes it is not winning or losing but how you play the game and that you cannot keep an honest man down.

Posted by: rob payne at September 26, 2006 08:31 PM