View Full Version : "It's a slam dunk"- Tenet

04-19-2004, 11:29 AM
Perhaps GWBush didn't believe thaat Bob Woodward was taking notes of their conversations? This account doesn't paint the group around GWBush in a very favorable light...obsessed yes, thoughtful and analytical no.

AP: Book Alleges Secret Iraq War Plan
Fri Apr 16, 6:55 PM ET Add Politics - AP to My Yahoo!
By CALVIN WOODWARD and SIOBHAN McDONOUGH, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) quietly ordered creation of a war plan against Iraq (news - web sites) in November 2001 while overseeing a divided national security team, including a vice president determined to link Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) to al-Qaida, says a new book.

Bob Woodward, in "Plan of Attack," says Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) believed Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) developed — as Woodward puts it — an "unhealthy fixation" on trying to find a connection between Iraq and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Bush dismissed such characterizations of Cheney.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the book, which will be available in bookstores next week and covers the 16 months leading to the March 2003 invasion.

Bush told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Nov. 21, 2001 — less than two months after U.S. forces attacked Afghanistan (news - web sites) — to prepare for possible war with Iraq, and kept some members of his closest circle in the dark, Woodward said.

In an interview with the author, Bush said he feared that if news had gotten out about the Iraq plan as America was fighting another conflict, that would cause "enormous international angst and domestic speculation."

"I knew what would happen if people thought we were developing a potential war plan for Iraq," Bush is quoted as saying. "It was such a high-stakes moment and ... it would look like that I was anxious to go to war. And I'm not anxious to go to war."

Asked Friday about that Nov. 21, 2001, meeting with Rumsfeld, the president said, "I can't remember dates that far back" but emphasized "it was Afghanistan that was on my mind and I didn't really start focusing on Iraq 'til later on."

The White House later confirmed the discussion with Rumsfeld but said it did not mean Bush was set on a course of attacking Iraq at that point.

Bush and his aides have denied they were preoccupied with Iraq at the cost of paying attention to the al-Qaida terrorist threat before the Sept. 11 attacks. A commission investigating the attacks just concluded several weeks of extraordinary public testimony, during which former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke contended the Bush administration's determination to invade Iraq undermined the war on terror.

Woodward's account indicates some members of the administration, particularly Cheney, were focused on Saddam from the outset of Bush's presidency and even after the terrorist attacks made the destruction of al-Qaida the top priority.

Without quoting them directly on the subject, Woodward portrays Cheney and Powell as barely on speaking terms — the vice president being the chief advocate for a war that the secretary of state was not sure needed to be fought.

He recounts the vice president and a defense official making remarks to others about Powell bragging about his popularity, and Powell saying Cheney was preoccupied with an Iraq-al-Qaida link.

"Powell thought Cheney had the fever," Woodward writes. "He saw in Cheney a sad transformation. ... Cheney now had an unhealthy fixation."

On the war's origins, the book describes Bush pulling Rumsfeld into a cubbyhole office adjacent to the Situation Room for that November 2001 meeting and asking him what shape the Iraq war plan was in. When Rumsfeld said it was outdated, Bush ordered a fresh one.

The book says Bush told Rumsfeld to keep quiet about their planning and when the defense secretary asked to bring CIA (news - web sites) Director George Tenet into it at some point, the president said not to do so yet.

Even Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites), was apparently not fully briefed. Woodward said Bush told her that morning he was having Rumsfeld work on Iraq but did not give details.

The book says Gen. Tommy Franks, who was in charge of the Afghan war as head of Central Command, uttered a string of obscenities when the Pentagon (news - web sites) told him to come up with an Iraq war plan in the midst of fighting another conflict.

Woodward, a Washington Post journalist who wrote an earlier book on Bush's anti-terrorism campaign and broke the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, says the scope and intensity of the war plan grew even as administration officials were saying publicly that they were pursuing a diplomatic solution.

The book describes a CIA briefing for Bush in December 2002 presenting evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Bush was not sure the public would find the information compelling, Woodward said, but when he turned to Tenet, the CIA chief assured him: "It's a slam-dunk case."

That case fell apart after U.S. forces occupied Iraq and failed to find the stockpiles the administration said had been there.

04-19-2004, 11:42 AM
And here's Condi Rice's view of what Woodward wrote:
Rice Denies Key Woodward Claims
April 18, 2004
(CBS/AP) National security adviser Condoleezza Rice forcefully disputed on Sunday an assertion that President Bush decided in early January 2003 to invade Iraq, three months before official accounts say the decision was made.

The statement, in Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's new book about the run-up to war, is “simply not, not right,” Rice said.

In the book, Woodward writes:

Some of Mr. Bush’s top advisors were kept completely out of the loop about his decision to go to war.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador was briefed on military plans before Secretary of State Colin Powell.

When the military needed $700 million to get ready for war in Iraq, the president quickly signed off, taking the money from a fund Congress earmarked for operations in Afghanistan, without consulting Capitol Hill.

Woodward talks about these allegations and more in an interview on 60 Minutes.

[CBS News and Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Woodward's book, are both owned by Viacom.]

CBS News White House Correspondent Bill Plante reports Mr. Bush's opponent in November, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sharpened his criticism of the president's handling of the war.

"I think the job of the president of the United States is, number one, to maximize the ability to succeed in your mission. Number two, to minimize the risk to American troops. And number three, to minimize the cost to the American people," Kerry said. "In every respect, George Bush has gotten this backwards."

"We are learning about yet another book that has been written, “ said Kerry on Sunday. “We learn that the president even misled members of his own administration with respect about what he was planning to do in Iraq."

Mr. Bush told reporters a prime-time news conference on March 6, 2003 that a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing action was days away. Ten days later, having failed to win approval, the resolution was withdrawn, and the assault began March 20.

Rice did not deny the private conversation between her and Mr. Bush just after New Year's Day in which Woodward said the decision was made, but she said the writer had misinterpreted what was said.

She said Woodward also misread another comment attributed to her, that since Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld knew of the “go” decision and Secretary of State Colin Powell did not, perhaps Mr. Bush should tell Powell.

In the January meeting, Rice said on CBS News’ Face the Nation, she and Mr. Bush were at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, considering the Iraq situation. In such sessions, she said, Mr. Bush “kind of thinks out loud.”

“He said, 'No, I think we probably are going to have to go to war. We're going to have to go to war.' And it was not a decision to go to war,” Rice said. “That decision he made in March, when he finally decided to do that.”

She said the Powell misunderstanding grew from her comment to Mr. Bush that “If you're beginning to think that the diplomacy is not working, it's probably time to have a conversation with the secretary of state."

Rice said she meant that Mr. Bush should ask Powell “his sense of how the diplomacy was going” and that Mr. Bush had thought diplomacy would not succeed.

“But I just want it to be understood: That was not a decision to go to war. The decision to go to war is in March. The president is saying in that conversation, I think the chances are that this is not going to work out any other way. We're going to have to go to war.

Woodward also wrote in “Plan of Attack” that Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, about the war plan on Jan. 11. That was two days before Mr. Bush told Powell, Woodward wrote.

“I just can't let this impression stand,” Rice said. “The secretary of state was privy to all of the conversations with the president, all of the briefings for the president. They were in almost daily contact about what was going on at the United Nations.”

She was asked: “So he knew that Bandar was being told?”

“I certainly knew, and I suspect that Colin would not have been surprised, going through the Gulf War experience, that one of the allies that you had to be certain understood what might happen if the president decided to go to war was the Saudis,” Rice said.

“But it's just not the proper impression that somehow Prince Bandar was in the know in a way that Secretary Powell was not. It's just not right. Secretary Powell had been privy to all of this. He knew what the war plan was.”