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November 10, 2005


Mightn't Powell and Wilkerson have kept copies? And they're not likely to be classified, since they were drafts of public speeches.

I cought a story on Fox news a few days ago about Howard Dean Refusing to turn over documents created durring his govenorship. A court had upheld his right to keep these documents confidential for 9 years. No oped or pundits, just short and sweet.

A somethings struck me as being odd. I didn't see the story on other networks. My intuition told me that this story was "Hey, keeping documents secreet is common day activity, look everyones doing it, and it's perfectly okay".
My guess is that those early drafts have long been reconstituted at the papermill. I hope sloppy house cleaning or some ass saving individual will be able to produce these goods (or bads).


I think Wilkerson said he had the evidence but had to turn it all in when he retired. Assume the same is true for Powell.

As far as the SOTU drafts. They may have been deep-sixed. But I assume they'd have to clean off the hard drives, as well. What I'm most interested in is that they disappeared from the WINPAC files (if they were there). Reading the Bolton testimony, it's clear that Bolton's office, at least, didn't follow regulations on Secure Classified Information. They had documents floating in and out of the office, when they should have all been logged and under lock and key. I wonder if WINPAC is the same.

This was the speech Powell stammered through, Libby, unusually, at his side at the UN; Libby probably wrote the bulk of the lengthy draft there in the notebook at Powell's elbow in the Security Council, much of which Powell did not include in his speech. If anyone has the audio, you can tell when he lapses from technical jargon into vernacular as he skips paragraphs reading ahead until he is ready to resume reading from the speech document. It was noticeable to this rhetorician, as Powell's lexicon is distinctly different from the usual fare in diplomatic circles. There was the Cincinnati precursor speech as well. DiFi admires the military a lot. Perhaps she is the key person who is going to pry the backgrounders from Rummy's safeguard; surely he helped aggregate the list.

I just checked out webarchive.org
They archive old web pages nolonger posted. I typed in whitehouse.gov
Then selected feb 2 2003. Unfortunately feb 18th link is not functioning. Maybe some treasures can be found hidden with in their own junk pile. One picture missing in part of the "Behind the Scenes" photo essay is interestingly revealing. When you hover the mouse over the missing picture the text appears "Sketching notes in the margin of speech drafts, President Bush rewrites portions of the adress in the Oval Office Jan. 23,2003."

I imagine there may be some gems in these pages that could proove to damaging.

Sure would be nice if Rockefeller grew a spine and went after the necessary information. The prospects of this seem low, sadly, though a good firm shove from the Democrat base might stimulate something.

Regarding the "twisting" of old data, it's probably still also smart to be suspicious of new data -- including yesterday's bombings in Amman, Jordan.

-It turns out that the head of the Palestinian intelligence services, Bashir Nafeh, was killed by one of the bombs.

-It turns out that Haaretz reported last night that all Israelis were evacuated from one of the hotels just prior to the bombings -- and that Haaretz has issued a sudden reversal of that report today. Meanwhile, the BBC reports that no Israelis perished in the attacks.(BTW -- Remind anyone of Netanyahu's brush with the London bombings? Same pattern exactly.)

-It turns out that Al Qaeda and Zawahiri are supposed to be taking credit for the blasts, according to some posting on an Internet site. (Fresh convenient evidence of the need for the War on Terror, for the US to remake the map of the Middle East...)

Summary: A major Palestinian leader is killed, no Israelis are in the hotels, and the all-purpose ever-mysterious boogeyman Zawahiri is blamed.

What an impressive string of conveniences. How long will the world continue to swallow such propaganda? Alas, the pattern stays the same.

Links on this:

"The drafts of these documents, more than the finished speeches, will reveal how the Bush Administration (save Powell) was twisting intelligence. Indeed, they'll delineate precisely what the Bush Administration wanted to claim--and what the CIA and Powell's staff removed during the vetting process. By looking at the drafts, then, we'll know precisely how the Administration--as opposed to the CIA--politicized intelligence."

One would think, EW ... and yet, and yet. Lord Hutton had the drafts and the e-mails, after all.

I guess it depends on who you mean by "we".

As for the broader public discourse, Mark Danner frames the problem nicely, in commenting on Michael Kinsley's dismissal of the "Downing Street Memos" as failing to constitute a "smoking gun":

"Part of this comes down to the question of what, in our current political and journalistic world, constitutes a 'fact'.... One might ask what would convince this writer [Kinsley], and many others, of the truth of what, apparently, they already know, and accept, and acknowledge that they know and accept. What could be said to establish 'truth'—to 'prove it'? Perhaps a true congressional investigation of the way the administration used intelligence before the war.... Still, Kinsley's column, and the cynical and impotent attitude it represents, suggests that such an investigation, if it occurred, might still not be adequate to make a publicly acceptable fact out of what everyone now knows and accepts. The column bears the perfect headline 'No Smoking Gun', which suggests that failing the discovery of a tape recording in which President Bush is quoted explicitly ordering then Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet that he should 'fix the intelligence and facts around the policy', many will never regard the case as proved...."

In retrospect, there is likely to be an even longer and diverse paper trail EW. I believe it is reported the Iraq plan was a facile kickstart because tomes of unused initiatives had gathered dust on the shelf since the abrupt terminus of the first forray during Bush's father's presidency. Even with the on the ground inspections and the very hazardous no overflight zone clamped on airspace for years after that first conflict's end, I would assess the dossier was in a dynamically informed state, and so little had changed in Iraq and the region in that brief decade that the warplanbook was sufficiently viable a strategy that Bush-2 and his principals were quite confident in the vitality [oxymoron] of the plan and, thereby, were emboldened to slight the NIE process, cleaving it into half-length compared to the typical development timeline three months to arrive at a NIE. A thorough archive datagathering with respect to these early plans and the threads of their nurturing over that decade would be a rewarding context in which to depict the abbreviated stacatto of policy decisions which turned the diplomatic world topsy turvy and impelled Congress into rubberstamping the entire construct as mature, well devised, and emotionally justified or perhaps only justifiable in the debater's syntax instead of thoroughly reviewed by Congress.

I caught in an offhand remark from Sen Leahy in the Roberts hearing an interesting sensibility that Rudman's plaintive remains alive in the Senate. Roberts gave a cookie cutter reply. Leahy had mused about a President's authority to send troops, but asked Roberts whether Congress has authority to end the war. The nominee had the standard response about the legislature holding the power of the purse. This Iraq war is overt. Rudman had to deal with covert war.

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