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Come Saturday Morning: While Our Newsreaders Drooled Over Pictures of Call Girls…

…the Bush Pentagon moved to suppress a study Bush doesn’t like:

The Pentagon on Wednesday canceled plans for broad public release of a study that found no pre-Iraq war link between late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the al Qaida terrorist network.

Rather than posting the report online and making officials available to discuss it, as had been planned, the U.S. Joint Forces Command said it would mail copies of the document to reporters — if they asked for it. The report won’t be posted on the Internet.

The reversal highlighted the politically sensitive nature of its conclusions, which were first reported Monday by McClatchy.

In making their case for invading Iraq in 2002 and 2003, President Bush and his top national security aides claimed that Saddam’s regime had ties to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network.

But the study, based on more than 600,000 captured documents, including audio and video files, found that while Saddam sponsored terrorism, particularly against opponents of his regime and against Israel, there was no evidence of an al Qaida link.

ABC’s Jonathan Karl had more:

The Bush Administration apparently does not want a U.S. military study that found no direct connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda to get any attention. This morning, the Pentagon cancelled plans to send out a press release announcing the report’s release and will no longer make the report available online.

The report was to be posted on the Joint Forces Command website this afternoon, followed by a background briefing with the authors. No more. The report will be made available only to those who ask for it, and it will be sent via U.S. mail from Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia.

It won’t be emailed to reporters and it won’t be posted online. Asked why the report would not be posted online and could not be emailed, the spokesman for Joint Forces Command said: "We’re making the report available to anyone who wishes to have it, and we’ll send it out via CD in the mail."

Another Pentagon official said initial press reports on the study made it "too politically sensitive."

Suppressing information it doesn’t like is a hallmark of the Bush family. Kitty Kelley revealed in her book The Family that the official Bush family tree has been severely pruned of several ex-wives and two mentally retarded family members, as acknowledging divorce or any other sort of percieved imperfection is anathema. George Herbert Walker Bush suppressed the Sandia Labs study — the one that debunked key tenets of the conservative anti-public-school tract "A Nation At Risk" — and it wasn’t allowed to see the light of day until Bill Clinton took office. And since George W. Bush is a distillation of all the worst traits of the Bush family, with very few of its better features, this latest suppression shouldn’t surprise anyone.

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