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Thread: The Levin report

  1. #1
    Tom The Nader Fan™
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    The Levin "Report"
    Yesterday Carl Levin released a report on the Iraq-al Qaeda from the Democratic staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee. It is an embarrassment.
    by Stephen F. Hayes
    10/22/2004 8:40:00 AM
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    SENATOR CARL LEVIN, the Senate's fiercest and most partisan critic of the Bush administration, released a "report" Thursday challenging the administration's claim that Iraq had a relationship with al Qaeda. The report was produced by the Democratic staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee, with no input from the panel's Republicans. Its release comes 13 days before the presidential election.

    If those facts alone don't suggest a transparently political maneuver, the contents of the report do. The 45-page Levin report is third-rate partisan hack-work. Its anonymous authors and its namesake should be deeply embarrassed. I say this not only because I disagree strongly with its inherently subjective conclusions.

    Basic facts are wrong. Congressional testimony is misdated. Quotes are erroneously sourced. Context is nonexistent.

    First, some background on Levin. No one in Congress has been as dogged in his efforts to downplay the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. He has grilled witnesses in Congress, crafted numerous press releases, and sent dozens of letters to the executive branch. He even held a preemptive press conference to challenge the Senate Intelligence Committee's review of pre-Iraq war intelligence. He did this despite the fact that he signed the unanimous, bipartisan report.

    Shortly after the end of the Iraq war, Levin faulted the intelligence community for bowing to administration pressure and producing overheated intelligence products. This is how he put it in a June 16, 2003, interview on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. "We were told by the intelligence community that there was a very strong

    link between al Qaeda and Iraq."

    Eight months later, Levin reversed himself in an interview on Fox News on February 2, 2004. "The intel didn't say that there is a direct connection between al Qaeda and Iraq. That was not the intel. That's what this administration exaggerated to produce."

    How is it that the intelligence community could report to policymakers that "there was a very strong link between al Qaeda and Iraq" but not a "direct connection?" Did the intelligence community first report a "very strong link" and then reverse itself? We were left to wonder.

    Sadly, the new report sows more confusion. Levin now claims that the intelligence community "was consistently dubious of such a connection." Really? Then what did he mean when he said: "We were told by the intelligence community that there was a very strong link between al Qaeda and Iraq."

    Indeed, that admission by Levin undercuts virtually every claim in the new report. Did he misspeak?

    There are other problems. The Levin report refers to "DCI Tenet's testimony before the SSCI in February, 2002." (SSCI refers to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.) It quotes Tenet's testimony: "[i]t would be a mistake to dismiss the possibility of state sponsorship [of al Qaeda], whether Iranian or Iraqi and we'll see where the evidence takes us."

    This section is incorrect and misleading for several reasons. And understood properly, it undermines a central claim of the Levin report.

    The Tenet testimony in question actually came not before the Intelligence Committee, but the Senate Armed Services Committee. And it came not in "February, 2002," but on March 19, 2002. Nitpicking? Perhaps. But much of the Levin report is not verifiable because the intelligence remains classified and if this sloppiness is representative of the work product, it does not inspire confidence. (The report elsewhere refers to "MSNBC's Capital Report." The show Capital Report airs on CNBC.)

  2. #2
    [quote][i]Originally posted by Tom The Nader Fan™[/i]@Oct 30 2004, 12:26 PM
    [b] The Levin "Report"
    Yesterday Carl Levin released a report on the Iraq-al Qaeda from the Democratic staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee. It is an embarrassment.
    by Stephen F. Hayes
    10/22/2004 8:40:00 AM
    Increase Font Size
    Printer-Friendly



    Email a Friend
    Respond to this article








    SENATOR CARL LEVIN, the Senate's fiercest and most partisan critic of the Bush administration, released a "report" Thursday challenging the administration's claim that Iraq had a relationship with al Qaeda. The report was produced by the Democratic staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee, with no input from the panel's Republicans. Its release comes 13 days before the presidential election.

    If those facts alone don't suggest a transparently political maneuver, the contents of the report do. The 45-page Levin report is third-rate partisan hack-work. Its anonymous authors and its namesake should be deeply embarrassed. I say this not only because I disagree strongly with its inherently subjective conclusions.

    Basic facts are wrong. Congressional testimony is misdated. Quotes are erroneously sourced. Context is nonexistent.

    First, some background on Levin. No one in Congress has been as dogged in his efforts to downplay the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. He has grilled witnesses in Congress, crafted numerous press releases, and sent dozens of letters to the executive branch. He even held a preemptive press conference to challenge the Senate Intelligence Committee's review of pre-Iraq war intelligence. He did this despite the fact that he signed the unanimous, bipartisan report.

    Shortly after the end of the Iraq war, Levin faulted the intelligence community for bowing to administration pressure and producing overheated intelligence products. This is how he put it in a June 16, 2003, interview on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. "We were told by the intelligence community that there was a very strong

    link between al Qaeda and Iraq."

    Eight months later, Levin reversed himself in an interview on Fox News on February 2, 2004. "The intel didn't say that there is a direct connection between al Qaeda and Iraq. That was not the intel. That's what this administration exaggerated to produce."

    How is it that the intelligence community could report to policymakers that "there was a very strong link between al Qaeda and Iraq" but not a "direct connection?" Did the intelligence community first report a "very strong link" and then reverse itself? We were left to wonder.

    Sadly, the new report sows more confusion. Levin now claims that the intelligence community "was consistently dubious of such a connection." Really? Then what did he mean when he said: "We were told by the intelligence community that there was a very strong link between al Qaeda and Iraq."

    Indeed, that admission by Levin undercuts virtually every claim in the new report. Did he misspeak?

    There are other problems. The Levin report refers to "DCI Tenet's testimony before the SSCI in February, 2002." (SSCI refers to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.) It quotes Tenet's testimony: "[i]t would be a mistake to dismiss the possibility of state sponsorship [of al Qaeda], whether Iranian or Iraqi and we'll see where the evidence takes us."

    This section is incorrect and misleading for several reasons. And understood properly, it undermines a central claim of the Levin report.

    The Tenet testimony in question actually came not before the Intelligence Committee, but the Senate Armed Services Committee. And it came not in "February, 2002," but on March 19, 2002. Nitpicking? Perhaps. But much of the Levin report is not verifiable because the intelligence remains classified and if this sloppiness is representative of the work product, it does not inspire confidence. (The report elsewhere refers to "MSNBC's Capital Report." The show Capital Report airs on CNBC.) [/b][/quote]
    What journal is this "article from? The "Rush" Report?!?!

    LL

  3. #3
    Tom The Nader Fan™
    Guest
    [quote][i]Originally posted by latinlawyer[/i]@Oct 30 2004, 11:38 AM
    [b] What journal is this "article from? [/b][/quote]
    Does it matter? What statement do you disagree with, or think is biased? By all means, it's open to discussion. :lol:

    It's from the Weekly Standard.

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