The award for most inadvertantly humorous headline goes to the NYTimes for this gem: "Inquiry on Intelligence Gaps May Reach to White House." Well, you don't say?
While Douglas Feith may have spent his time toiling away in the bowels of the Pentagon, ginning up whatever bits and pieces of handpicked intelligence he and his minions could find to support whatever crackpot theory Rummy and Shooter wanted for "show and tell" with President Bush that week, one thing is abundantly clear: you don't get a space in the bowels of the Pentagon to gin up just any old war without someone's express approval, and you sure as hell do not get your hands on a whole host of top secret intelligence documents without a whole lot of approval from a whole lot of very high level somebodies. As in, hello Mr. President and Mr. Vice President.
One wonders if there is an Executive Order out there somewhere to that effect. Shouldn't someone be asking about that? In triplicate, if necessary?
For more on this issue, take a peek at this NPR story from Friday. Be sure to listen carefully to the Feith quotes, wherein he attempts to explain that he was merely asking pointed questions about the intelligence and offering alternate intelligence theories, but not actually doing any analysis. (Because, say, if he were doing so and failed to notify Congress of this analysis, one presumes that there might be some broken laws that might need…um…mending by Mr. Feith and others. Shall we say.)
Also, the WaPo has a follow-up Pincus article on the disputes among Congressional factions about Feith's intel chop shop, and the ramifications thereon to our men and women in uniform currently serving in the mess in Iraq. And from the NYTimes, which provides what may be the zenith of moronic justifications couched in government phraseology:
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Friday that he would ask current and former White House aides to testify about a report by the Pentagon’s inspector general that criticizes the Pentagon for compiling “alternative intelligence” that made the case for invading Iraq.
The chairman, Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said that among those called to testify could be Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and I. Lewis Libby, a former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney. Both received a briefing from the defense secretary’s policy office in 2002 on possible links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s government.
In its report on Thursday, the acting inspector general, Thomas F. Gimble, found that the work done by the Pentagon team, which was assembled by Douglas J. Feith, a former under secretary of defense for policy, was “not fully supported by the available intelligence.”
Shorter Pentagon report: "Feith's people jiggled the intel to fit their already-established conclusions and enabled the Bush Administration to lie the public into war." Well, doesn't that make everyone feel better?
On whose direction was this done? Whose orders? Whose signatures? Which higher ups were directly responsible for setting up this Intel Chop Shop? Wolfowitz? Maybe for recruiting Feith, via Libby and Addington, but who ordered the intel sharing to these clowns? Rummy? Cheney? Bush? A combo pack?
That's the question that keeps me awfully curious about this whole mess. And somewhere there is a document with a signature on it that someone is going to unearth giving a whole lot of meaning to the word "complicit." Aren't you curious as to who will take the fall for that one, when it's found?