June 2, 2016

"Is it the policy of the State Department, where the preservation or the secrecy of secret negotiations is concerned, to lie in order to achieve that goal?"

"James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that."

A Q&A from 2013 that's the subject of "It wasn’t a ‘glitch’: State Department deliberately cut embarrassing questions from press briefing video." (Link goes to The Washington Post.)

60 comments:

Original Mike said...

Most transparent Administration ever.

Michael K said...

Lies are so confusing when you have to remember which lie you told to which person. It gets complicated.

PB said...

Then there's the little matter of lying to Congress about it.

However, if you evade a question skillfully, you shouldn't be press secretary.

Michael K said...

A left wing commenter at Powerline calls this "redacting."

New definition but, whatever works.

Nonapod said...

To be fair, I don't think that what she said was that bad. There's plenty of reasons why it might be in the country's interest to keep the details of particular negotiation under wraps. Of course with regards to the Iran deal and this administration's general honesty about it, this is probably the least of the sins.

And editing an official Federal record seems like the type of thing that's a crime. Not that I expect anyone will go to jail for it. Rule of Law is nonexistent for this administration.

Original Mike said...

..."Kirby said, explaining the faulty memory by adding, "This happened three years ago."

"This happened three years ago, dude" would have been better.

Sebastian said...

"I don't think that what she said was that bad" But O's minions thought it was bad enough to be worth erasing. It upset the Rhodes fictions. The fictions were key to pulling off the "deal." Hence the original lie (obliquely but sufficiently exposed by Psaki), and the lie about the cover-up.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The statement itself isn't so bad. It's certainly true that thing like diplomacy are made much easier by not having to be 100% forthright with the public 100% of the time...especially as negotiations are going on, etc.

The fact that the State Department would repeatedly lie about a "glitch" being responsible for the deliberate edit, though--that's bad. That's unacceptable! That's an example of your federal government deliberately covering something up, and someone ought to lose their job immediately. Someone needs to be very publicly fired, to serve as an example if nothing else.
Major issue, minor issue, doesn't matter--we cannot tolerate our government lying and covering things up. Certainly the "most transparent administration in history" can't allow something like this to stand!
But oh, hey, for real--the IRS' multiple hard drive failures, and government agencies' inability to retrieve emails...all that stuff is real, no foolin' about those.

Crooks & liars. We're moving beyond the "tar & feathers" stage, now.

robother said...

A public spokesperson confirming that she lies when politically necessary renders her denials about having anything to do with excising that admission a further transparent lie. In that sense, yes, this is the most transparent administration.

Sebastian said...

"Kirby said, explaining the faulty memory by adding, "This happened three years ago." Then there's the Constitution, which was written, like, over 100 years ago. How could anyone remember what happened?

Dan Hossley said...


The State Department's "go to" position on any matter is to lie. And they're not particularly good at it.

retail lawyer said...

Who did this edit characterized as a glitch? What is the person's name? Were they ordered to make the edit? I want these persons out of the office, maybe comfortably retired with Federal pensions like Lois Lerner, but out of the government.

Rae said...

If they did it once, they've done it a hundred times. What video can be trusted from them, now?

Bobby said...

The sad thing is, if you're going to steal a car, you should at least know to wear gloves so you don't leave behind fingerprints. Every six year old with a Junior Detective Fingerprint Kit learns that lesson.

Buried in the article:

"The official written transcript of the State Department briefing always carried the full exchange."

Whomever excised the video apparently either lacked the authority to influence the official written transcript (it's generated by a separate division) or didn't realize that the written record would capture the exchange and so excising the video would not really purge the record. She's a total amateur.

traditionalguy said...

That sounds like the same authority used not to count the votes that did not elect your Candidate.

The LBJ level corruption never left. They hide behind a claim that it is a War if foreigners are involved; and War is deception.

Quaestor said...

I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.

The same could be said of a burglary.

Obama has been busy, busy, busy robbing the American citizen of property and national security. Of course he needs a bit of privacy, which is why his minions refuse to testify before Congress or claim the Fifth when they do.

Bobby said...

Hoodlum,

"The fact that the State Department would repeatedly lie about a "glitch" being responsible for the deliberate edit, though--that's bad. That's unacceptable! That's an example of your federal government deliberately covering something up, and someone ought to lose their job immediately. Someone needs to be very publicly fired, to serve as an example if nothing else."

If it really was a lie, then, yes, I agree with you 100%. However, lying requires intent to deceive. The fact that the official written transcript always carried the full exchange suggests that it's at least possible that the person to indicate it was a glitch, Elizabeth Trudeau (herself a career public diplomacy Foreign Service Officer, not a political appointee), may not have initially known or realized that it was a deliberate (but incomplete) attempt to hide the exchange. Like, who would be dumb enough to show their face during a convenience store robbery, kill the clerk to leave no witness, and then not bother to get the surveillance tape? Well, apparently, Jen Psaki, that's who (note to self: don't ever rob a 7-11 with Jen).

Quaestor said...

Safari strikes again, property should have been prosperity.

Mike said...

Please compare and contrast the media gnashing of teeth over the possibility that Trump had not raised and or disbursed money to veterans with the reaction of the media when Jen Psaki admits they lied about the Iran deal. Keep in mind that just recently Ben Rhodes also admitted they lied repeatedly and effectively to get the deal done.

Put another way, compare the media disparity at work when they suspect a Republican might have lied with the fat sassy reality that their black jesus DID lie to them.

This is why Trump's attacks on the media will work over and over. They are shameless partisans who cover for Democrats and make up shit about Republicans. The people are onto the game. We've been hip to it ever since 1992 if not before. And the silent majority is going to cheer and laugh as Trump destroys what little credibility the Press have left.

Mike said...

Clipped from a PowerLine article just now: Last year 70% of Americans polled said that they believe the press is biased, and does not even try to report the news fairly.

Source.

Hey whatever happened to Fast & Furious, or Lois Lerner, or the VA scandal, or the Libya intervention, or ...

Peggy Coffey said...

John Kirby was an admiral in the US Navy. He lies all the time now for Obama. Just shows some of the military brass have no honor anymore.

Michael McClain said...

Wasn't it Ben Franklin who said, "A diplomat is a person who goes to other countries to lie for his country?"

Just business as usual for the DemCong Department of State. Only now, they lie to us as well.

Hagar said...

Admiral John Kirby (once an admiral, always an admiral. There is no "ex") admits the video was deliberately erased and knows who did it, but says that person did it "on request," but cannot remember who called him with the request.

It is difficult to watch representatives of the United States stand up and tell us such things with a straight face.
This was not a phonecall that any sentient person would ever forget.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I especially love how they "come clean" about lying about the glitch then straight up like again by saying they can't discover who did the edit or who ordered it.

They know they are lying. They know we know they are lying. They want us to know they know we know they are lying.

It's a trick abusers use to keep the abused dominated.

damikesc said...

Rosemary Woods couldnt be reached for comment.

damikesc said...

The State Department's "go to" position on any matter is to lie. And they're not particularly good at it.

You misspelled "Obama Administration" there.

And reading NYT readers arguing that Hillary's lies aren't as bad as Trump's and that voting for somebody on the assumption they won't do what they claim being bad is hilarious given Obama and his "Evolving" stands on issues.

paminwi said...

If you watched James Rosen talk about what happened you would understand that:
1. He has said that spinning is one thing lying to say something that happened didn't is LYING.
2. His producer looked up the video for another story and realized DOS had changed the video.
3. When asked about this missing video initially DOS said it was a glitch.
4. DOS finally came out yesterday and said video was remove at the request of "someone".
5. The person that removed the video does NOT remember who asked to remove the video.
6. Kirby says there will be no further investigation who did the asking.
7. Dana Perino said it would only have been someone very high up in the appointed folks to make someone remove the video ( I believe this)
8. Remember this is the same James Rosen who the DOJ listened in on his parents phone calls to see if he was talking to someone leaking classified info. They called him a "co-conspirator" and wanted yo charge him criminally.

Obama administration is revolting from bottom to top.

cubanbob said...

President Trumpy is going to need an army of special prosecutors to clean up the federal government.

MayBee said...

This is absolutely revolting.

Also, I like it that DOS had time to pull this video, edit it, and put it back up, but did not have time for Ambassador Stevens's requests for more security.

Michael K said...

""A diplomat is a person who goes to other countries to lie for his country?"

Yes, he lies to the OTHER country.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Bobby said...If it really was a lie, then, yes, I agree with you 100%. However, lying requires intent to deceive. The fact that the official written transcript always carried the full exchange suggests that it's at least possible that the person to indicate it was a glitch, Elizabeth Trudeau (herself a career public diplomacy Foreign Service Officer, not a political appointee), may not have initially known or realized that it was a deliberate (but incomplete) attempt to hide the exchange

I'm willing to believe Elizabeth Trudeau wasn't lying (that she was just misinformed). But someone in this story was lying. They claimed it was a glitch, looked into it, continued claiming it was a glitch, and then got around to admitting someone ordered/requested the edit. Someone edited the video and knew from the start it wasn't a glitch. Someone else requested the edit, and they knew it wasn't a glitch. Maybe Trudeau saw the problem and on her own assumed it was a glitch and gave that answer--ok. At least two people knew that wasn't true, though, and they made no effort to correct that misinformation--certainly no successful effort--so even under the most generous reading of the situation those 2 people lied by omission (deliberately let the misinformation stand). It may have been the case, though, that someone TOLD Trudeau that the problem was a glitch, and that person or persons may have in fact known it was an edit. That'd be a lie, and the possibility that the lie was to someone internal (who then unknowingly gave out false info) and not directly to the press does not absolve the liar.
Look, people deliberately took action to edit the video and then either lied about it or allowed incorrect information to be distributed in order to conceal their actions. That's not something we can accept from our government officials.

I'm not anti-police. Cops have a tough job and are required to use judgement quickly in dangerous situations. I understand they'll make mistakes, even bad ones, and I don't think they should be treated too harshly for honest mistakes they admit to. The MOMENT they lie, though, or cover things up to hide the truth, I say we have to throw the book at them. The nature of their jobs mean that I will have to take their word for a lot of things (even with body cams, etc, I won't be able to get the full picture of what a situation was like). When a cop says they had XYZ reasons for probable cause I have to take their word for it. The moment the cop shows that they're willing to lie, even about a relatively small thing, it means I can't trust them at all any more--and I can't allow someone I can't trust to have the kind of power a cop has.
It's the same with the government. This is a laughably minor topic...but they lied! They lied and they covered up. If you can't trust them to not lie about minor things, how can you trust them to not lie about major things? More to the point if the government bureaucrats who run those agencies aren't willing to punish this kind of deceit how can we allow them to hold positions with power over American citizens (and the nation's well being, etc)?

mikee said...

The purpose of the State Department is to provide support to the intelligence agencies of the US opearting abroad, and to pass on and receive messagaes from other governments.

The latter can be accomplished with modern communications much more directly, in a more timely manner, and with the specific persons or groups who need the communications, so the only real job of State is as hotels for spies.

Or so I was told by a retired military intelligence person.

chuck said...

> James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress.

Yes, one needs to deceive the enemy when planning an attack. And it worked, our government with the allied press has carried out a sneak attack on the US and been largely successful.

Bobby said...

Hoodlum,

"But someone in this story was lying."

Absolutely agree with you. If you look at Liz Trudeau's precise statement ("We're looking into it. Genuinely, we think it was a glitch"), her portfolio and background, and how the whole thing unfolded, it suggests to me that it's possible (if not likely) that Liz wasn't read-in on the affair [and, in which case, the liar(s) are those who deceived her and/or deliberately chose not to correct the record- quite probably Psaki, which would come as no surprise to anyone who has ever worked with her, btw, though I'd not be the least bit surprised if Rhodes had a hand in this, as well].

I'd bet this use of plausible deniability would also bring us to what few have noticed is the initial lie presented by Rosen - in February 2013, Victoria Nuland answering "on a government-to-government level, no" when asked if the US was conducting secret negotiations with Iran. Now it's entirely possible that Nuland lied. But if one is familiar with Nuland's background (she was VP Cheney's foreign policy advisor and Bush's NATO Ambassador; her husband is prominent neocon Robert Kagan; she's generally distrusted by Obama's sycophants), they might also conclude that: (a) Nuland was not in the loop about any secret Iranian negotiations; (b) therefore answered honestly but erroneously; and (c) the deception was actually promulgated by whomever told her there were no ongoing Iranian negotiations and/or deliberately chose not to correct the record [again, we could suspect the hand of Rhodes]. Rosen is correct to believe that the Administration lied, though unfortunately- given the poor state of analysis conducted by most Americans- it's quite likely that the accused individuals (Trudeau and Nuland) will get buried and the actual deceivers protected (and allowed to ply their trade again and again).

A lot of people have a hard time with the concept of "honest, but erroenous," but when one understands that a lie requires intent to deceive, it's easily understood. Like, I suspect that Condy Rice and Colin Powell were being honest when they stated their belief that Iraq had undeclared weapons of mass destruction- after all, they were relying upon a National Intelligence Estimate that told them so. Clearly, however, that was erroneous - honest, but erroneous. Put another way, Bill Rogers was not "lying" when he said that the US was not involved in secret talks with Noth Vietnam nor were we using Pakistan as a proxy to negotiate with Red China. Obviously, he was factually wrong- both were going on while he made the statement- but the Nixon tapes make it quite clear that Nixon and Kissinger had deliberately kept him out of the loop and uninformed of such developments so that they maintained plausible deniability. Rogers was answering honestly, but erroneously.

Quaestor said...

A diplomat is a person who goes to other countries to lie for his country?

A diplomat who lies to his own country is known as an illegal foreign agent, aka a spy.

Bobby said...

mikee,

Haha, yeah, that's a pretty typical view from the intelligence community, and I myself have probably said something similar several times. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about Condy Rice and Marc Grossman's concept of Transformational Diplomacy (vice traditional diplomacy). But obviously, it's not quite so simple: Americans abroad and foreign businessmen and aspiring tourists need Consular Services; the cultural programs administered by the public diplomacy crowd; the development community need a place to work; etc. etc., and none of those missions are likely to ever be taken up by the IC (at least, not without risking taking the IC's focus off the intelligence mission).

The system "works," at least as much as one could expect from the government.

David said...

"James, I'm not going to comment on that. Next question please."

The woman is shall we say under qualified for her job(s).

mikee said...

Bobby, all that could be done via a kiosk in foreign cities with a videophone link to offices in DC, or even offices in New Delhi.

elcee said...

Bobby:
"Like, I suspect that Condy Rice and Colin Powell were being honest when they stated their belief that Iraq had undeclared weapons of mass destruction- after all, they were relying upon a National Intelligence Estimate that told them so. Clearly, however, that was erroneous - honest, but erroneous."

Actually, Secretary of State Powell's 05FEB03 speech at the UN Security Council holds up well. Knowing what we know now, the main points of his case presentation against Saddam are validated nearly across the board.

That being said, your assertion is incorrect on premise and fact.

On premise, the belief of Iraq's proscribed armament was not due primarily to the intelligence. Rather, the belief was rooted in the fact record of the Gulf War ceasefire UNSCR 687 disarmament process. In fact, many key assessments in the intelligence were based on the UN inspections and the related fact record.

For example, the 06MAR03 UNMOVIC report, which was the principal trigger for Operation Iraqi Freedom, informed the UN Security Council that "UNSCOM considered that the evidence was insufficient to support Iraq’s statements on the quantity of anthrax destroyed and where or when it was destroyed" - "UNMOVIC has credible information that the total quantity of BW agent in bombs, warheads and in bulk at the time of the Gulf War was 7,000 litres more than declared by Iraq" - "With respect to stockpiles of bulk agent stated to have been destroyed, there is evidence to suggest that these was [sic] not destroyed as declared by Iraq".

More about the UNSCR 687-based fact record here.

With the established fact of ceasefire-proscribed armament, Iraq's guilt was presumed in the ceasefire disarmament process until cured with the mandated compliance and disarmament. In Saddam's "final opportunity to comply" with the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441), UNMOVIC reported "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues", which meant Iraq failed to meet its burden to prove the mandated compliance and disarmament, and therefore, Iraq's presumed guilt of proscribed armament continued.

On fact, knowing what we know now, the post hoc Iraq Survey Group - although reporting that much evidence was lost before, during, and after the OIF invasion, suspect areas were "sanitized", and other practical limits to its investigation - corroborated UNMOVIC's confirmation that Iraq did not disarm as mandated by UNSCRs 687 and 1441: "ISG judges that Iraq failed to comply with UNSCRs".

ISG also found Iraq rife with undeclared WMD-related items and activity that were proscribed under UNSCR 687 - in other words, an undeclared active WMD program.

For example, ISG found, "From 1999 until he was deposed in April 2003, Saddam’s conventional weapons and WMD-related procurement programs steadily grew in scale, variety, and efficiency" - "The procurement programs supporting Iraq’s WMD programs and prohibited conventional military equipment purchases were financed via a supplemental budget process that occurred outside of the publicized national and defense budgets" - "Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) maintained throughout 1991 to 2003 a set of undeclared covert laboratories...The network of laboratories could have provided an ideal, compartmented platform from which to continue CW [chemical weapons] agent R&D or small-scale production efforts" - "secret biological work in the small IIS laboratories discovered by ISG" - "the Iraqis never intended to meet the spirit of the UNSC’s resolutions...Outward acts of compliance belied a covert desire to resume WMD activities".

elcee said...

Add: The role of the IIS in Saddam's covert UNSCR 687-proscribed WMD program that was uncovered by ISG - "The IIS ran a large covert procurement program, undeclared chemical laboratories, and supported denial and deception operations" (ISG) - is especially striking because the IIS doubled as the Saddam regime arm that managed Saddam's "regional and global terrorism" (Iraqi Perspectives Project).

Saddam's "regional and global terrorism" (IPP) was, of course, a material breach of UNSCR 687, too, and a main element of the law and policy basis for OIF per Public Law 107-243, the 2002 AUMF.

IPP, which analyzed captured Iraqi materials, found that "many terrorist movements and Saddam found a common enemy in the United States. At times these organizations worked together, trading access for capability" - "Captured documents reveal that the regime was willing to co-opt or support organizations it knew to be part of al Qaeda" - "Because Saddam's security organizations and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups" - "evidence shows that Saddam's use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime".

IPP also reported, "One question remains regarding Iraq's terrorism capability: Is there anything in the captured archives to indicate that Saddam had the will to use his terrorist capabilities directly against United States? Judging from examples of Saddam's statements (Extract 34) before the 1991 Gulf War with the United States, the answer is yes."

Bobby said...

mikee,

"Bobby, all that could be done via a kiosk in foreign cities with a videophone link to offices in DC, or even offices in New Delhi."

No, actually, all of it could not. But even if you think it could because you know little of what that work entails and only went by the few things I enumerated (and to be clear, it still couldn't), the "etc. etc." is apparently much broader than you actually realize. Just a handful of the "etc. etc." at an Embassy would include most (if not all) of the following (I'm just going to give you the wave-tops): the FBI's LEGATT is cooperating with host nation law enforcement to advance US interests, ICITAP is building the capacity of local law enforcement, OPDAT is building the capacity of local prosecutors; the DEA is doing what the DEA does; the FAS is collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information about global supply and demand, trade trends, and market opportunities and improving market access for U.S. products; the US Commercial Service is conducting business matchmaking, market intelligence, trade advocacy and commercial diplomacy; Treasury is observing, enforcing and reporting on financial sanctions and implementing the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program; the development professionals (USAID and the Peace Corps country staff) are managing their personnel and programs; there's the aforementioned Consular Services and Public Diplomacy; and all of the security, IT, management, and health support that go into keeping all the rest of it afloat. And that's just the wave-tops (believe me, I could go into much, much more detail on what the above offices do, as well as other offices I haven't bothered to bring up like the Defense Attache and the Office of Military Cooperation).

Not to mention, if all of that were magically done via internet connections from DC to the host nation (and it would take magic), think about how much easier would it be for the locals to play "spot the spook" with our intelligence operatives when they're ALL spies! and- oh, yeah (lest you think, well, we'd just use front companies like the real world is some ridiculous Hollywood spy novel)- without diplomatic protection, our unfortunate intel operatives that get picked up would have no protections, and could luck retaining personnel.

My guess is that your friend was exaggerating for humor and didn't intend for you to take him literally.

Bobby said...

elcee,

"Actually, Secretary of State Powell's 05FEB03 speech at the UN Security Council holds up well. Knowing what we know now, the main points of his case presentation against Saddam are validated nearly across the board."

Well, then someone needs to tell that to Colin Powell ASAP, because he told Barbara Walters that presentation was a that it was the result of intelligence failures and a "blot" on his record. I'll email him your post and let him know that he doesn't know what he's talking about. Thanks for the tip!

Qwinn said...

Bobby, it's clear you think that was a devastating response. I'm not sure why. Either Powell was paying attention to the wrong intelligence then, or he's paying the wrong attention now. You seem to think it's blazingly obvious that he was wrong before and he's right now. I see no logical reason to believe that is more likely. It is, however, quite logical that you would pick the one that comports to what you want to believe, and present it to us as if anything else is utterly idiotic, because progs gotta prog.

Qwinn said...

Sorry, as these threads load at the bottom, I have a tendency to read them backwards. I retract the "progs gotta prog", I don't see evidence of that yet. My point about Powell being right once and wrong once doesn't narrow down which is which stands, though.

Bobby said...

Qwinn,

"Bobby, it's clear you think that was a devastating response. I'm not sure why. Either Powell was paying attention to the wrong intelligence then, or he's paying the wrong attention now. You seem to think it's blazingly obvious that he was wrong before and he's right now. I see no logical reason to believe that is more likely. It is, however, quite logical that you would pick the one that comports to what you want to believe, and present it to us as if anything else is utterly idiotic, because progs gotta prog."

First, I never said that Powell was "wrong" before. What I said was: "I suspect that Condy Rice and Colin Powell were being honest when they stated their belief that Iraq had undeclared weapons of mass destruction- after all, they were relying upon a National Intelligence Estimate that told them so. Clearly, however, that was erroneous - honest, but erroneous." That's not the same thing, though I understand it might appear so to you and will try to explain the difference in a moment.

Second, the stated belief that Iraq had undeclared weapons of mass destruction- as far as all the evidence we now have- turned out to be not correct; if you have evidence to the contrary, that is if you have actual evidence of Iraq being in possession of undeclared weapons of mass destruction (and not just that it's possible they could have had undeclared WMDs), please do let me know as this would be of great interest to several members of the intelligence community. However, Powell's belief- although ultimately incorrect- was nonetheless genuinely-, not deceitfully-, held; it was based on an output generated by the intelligence process, and intelligence is a matter of probabilities and possibilities, not certainties, and will not always be completely (or even mostly) accurate (most everyone seems to understand this point, except Democrats when a Republican is in the White House or Republicans with a Democrat in the White House, in which case any false reading can only be interpreted as deliberate deception).

Third, Powell was not paying attention to the "wrong" intelligence back then- he was paying attention to the intelligence then. For those familiar with the intelligence process back then, this is self-evident. For those not familiar, suffice to say that the process was set up back then to yield an intelligence estimate, and not necessarily allowing the aggregation of dissenting analyses to contribute to a larger, comprehensive, and therefore more nuanced assessment. (For those actually interested in greater detail, I would recommend reading the CIA's resident historian, Robert Jervis's Why Intelligence Fails (available here from the Althouse portal)). Powell alludes to this both in the Barbara Walters interview I linked to above, and also in his 2012 book, It Worked For Me (available here through the Althouse portal), when he talks about his frustration that certain intelligence analysts knew his UN presentation was based off false intelligence, but failed to inform him (in fairness to them, the system was not set up to allow them to feed the information outside of their chain of command-- much of this was fixed by Negroponte and Fingar during their reforms, though humans have found a way to pervert the process in other ways).

Rusty said...

550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium. 4000 artillery shells with sarin or sarin residue. One high precision centrifuge with material to manufacture more. Several tons of nickel sponge( needed to refine uranium ore). These are items NOT found by the IAEI
This was reported by the military as the units captured different areas. It is believed,, via Israeli intelligence, that many BW materials were delivered to Syria.

Bobby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobby said...

Rusty,

Please note that I have consistently used the term "undeclared weapons of mass destruction" (bold added for emphasis) -- that's an important distinction, of course, because I'm well aware of the declared substances that were recovered by the Coalition (some while I was there, in fact). FactCheck.org, for example, has covered this before and in greater detail than I intend to do here.

We're getting well off-track from my point about a lie requiring intent to deceive and the concept of "honest, but erroneous" not necessarily equating with a lie. I honestly have no interest in trying to convince you or elcee or anyone anything about whether or not there actually were or were not undeclared weapons of mass destruction in Iraq all along. Having reviewed tons (literally) of supporting intelligence documents as part of my professional life, I happen to believe that Bush, Powell, Rice and Co. were not lying, because intelligence failures caused them to truly believe there were undeclared WMDs in Iraq, hence there was no intent to deceive ("honest, but erroenous"). If you want to believe undeclared WMDs were there all along, as far as I'm concerned, you're perfectly free to do so- that happens to be a position not shared by Bush, Powell, Rice and Co., but that's okay. But whether you want to agree with me, or whether you want to believe undeclared WMDs were passed to Syria or vaporized by Martians or absconded by Ultron's robotic minions, I have about as much interest in trying to change your mind as I do with a Leftist who, despite not having conducted any research or being familiar with any of the various investigations, nonetheless "knows" Bush lied.

Bobby said...

Ugh. Posted three times, deleted the first two. Sorry, Ann.

Bobby said...

Oh, one correction for the record, because I worry that people are taking me literally: when I referred to Robert Jervis above as the CIA's resident historian, I was speaking metaphorically. Jervis, who is a Professor of International Politics at Columbia, is Chair of the CIA's Historical Review Panel and occasionally comments on H-Net, but he is technically a political scientist by training, not a historian, and resides in New York, not Langley. That is all.

elcee said...

Bobby,

FYI, Iraq's unaccounted for unilateral destruction of WMD was by definition "undeclared weapons of mass destruction".

The UNSCR 687 declaration mandate did not place a burden on the US and UN to prove Iraq was armed according to intelligence estimates. The UNSCR 687 declaration mandate placed the burden on Iraq to establish a fully verified account of its entire WMD program. The verification by the UNSCR 687 Special Commission of the mandated disclosure by Iraq of its entire WMD program and, thereby fully accounted for, the elimination of all UNSCR 687-proscribed items and permanent termination of all UNSCR-687 proscribed activity under international supervision were elements of the UNSCR 687 declaration mandate.

It's apparent that you fundamentally misunderstood the Gulf War ceasefire UNSCR 687 disarmament process. To correct your misconception, see the answer to "Did Bush allow enough time for the inspections?"

As Secretary Powell explained in his 05FEB03 UNSC speech, there was no burden on the US and UN to prove Iraq's proscribed armament. The question of "Where is Iraq's WMD?" was never for the US and UN to answer. It was always a question Saddam was required to answer in compliance with the UNSCR 687-mandated declare/yield/eliminate-under-international-supervision procedure, which was reinforced by the "enhanced inspection regime" mandated by UNSCR 1441.

Bobby:
"I'll email him your post and let him know that he doesn't know what he's talking about. Thanks for the tip!"

Please do. Like I said, knowing what we know now, the evidence shows that the main points of Powell's case presentation against Saddam are validated nearly across the board.

He and I would unpack his 05FEB03 UNSC speech point by point in light of the fact record and findings of UNSCOM/UNMOVIC, IAEA, the Iraq Survey Group, the Iraqi Perspectives Project (re terrorism), and the UN Commission on Human Rights, in the operative context of the Congressional instruction to "ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq" (Public Law 107-243) pursuant the UN mandate to "ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions ... the governing standard of Iraqi compliance ... with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council" (UNSCR 1441).

Bobby:
"the stated belief that Iraq had undeclared weapons of mass destruction- as far as all the evidence we now have- turned out to be not correct;"

You keep saying that, despite that your view is demonstrably false according to the fact record and findings and the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441).

Bobby:
"if you have evidence to the contrary, that is if you have actual evidence of Iraq being in possession of undeclared weapons of mass destruction (and not just that it's possible they could have had undeclared WMDs), please do let me know"

That's easy. Again, see the quoted excerpts in my comment on 6/2/16, 4:22 PM, and go here to learn about the fact record for the Gulf War ceasefire UNSCR 687 disarmament process and the Iraq Survey Group.

From beginning to end, the Saddam regime evidentially failed to comply and disarm as mandated by the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) enforced under US law.

Rusty said...

It is my understanding of HJR114 that Hussein was amassing materials to build WMDs. It is an established fact he had WMDs since he used them on his own people. Hence the yellowcake and nickel and centrifuges.

elcee said...

Bobby:
"Please note that I have consistently used the term "undeclared weapons of mass destruction" (bold added for emphasis) -- that's an important distinction, of course, because I'm well aware of the declared substances that were recovered by the Coalition (some while I was there, in fact)."

From the text of his comment, Rusty is talking about undeclared UNSCR 687-proscribed items and activity.

FYI, the nuclear disarmament-related political controversy is cleared up here, citing to the Iraq Survey Group.

While Saddam was not "strictly" (PL 107-243) in "full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations under resolution 687 (1991) and other relevant resolutions" (UNSCR 1441) regarding the nuclear disarmament mandates, the IAEA nuclear-related findings in the UNSCR 1441 inspections were not as alarming as the UNMOVIC chemical, biological, and missile-related findings that were the principal trigger for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

That being said, according to the "strict" enforcement standard of UNSCR 1441 and the 2002 AUMF, Saddam was in fact noncompliant with (in breach of) the UNSCR 687 nuclear disarmament mandates, in addition to Iraq's noncompliance with the UNSCR 687 chemical, biological, and missile disarmament mandates. ISG confirmed the presence of UNSCR 687-proscribed nuclear-related intent and activity.

elcee said...

Rusty:
"It is my understanding ... that Hussein was amassing materials to build WMDs."

Correct. See the answer to "Why did Bush leave the ‘containment’ (status quo)?".

What's HJR114?

Bobby said...

elcee, Rusty,

I'm in full agreement with you guys that Iraq was responsible for complying with the terms of the various UNSCRs (660, 661, 678, 686, 687, 688, 707, 715, 986, 1284 and 1441). I agree that Saddam Hussein was in material breach of said resolutions and that, under US understanding of 1441's "serious consequences" (which admittedly differed from some others, such as the French), the US-led coalition had the authority to initiate OIF. However, I disagree with you all that undeclared WMDs were located. Failure to comply with UNSCR 1441 =/= possession of undeclared WMDs (though for ultimate consequences, they would be treated the same).

Now, to get back on track with this post, let's change the objectionable phrasing to: "Like, I suspect that Condy Rice and Colin Powell were being honest when they stated their belief that Iraq had undeclared weapons of mass destruction. According to their own (perhaps mistaken) admissions, however, they now believe that to have been erroneous. Thus, within the framework of their subsequent statements, they would have been honest, but erroneous." There. No more need to have this non-germane side discussion about whether or not undeclared WMDs were located in Iraq, and we can get back to the actual post.

elcee said...

Bobby:
"However, I disagree with you all that undeclared WMDs were located."

That's because you're applying your own ad hoc, inapposite definitions for "undeclared" and "WMDs" rather than the relevant definitions of the terms per the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) for disarmament.

Bobby said...

elcee,

Yeah, maybe. Not relevant to the post, though.

elcee said...

Rusty:
"It is believed,, via Israeli intelligence, that many BW materials were delivered to Syria."

Indeed, in the operative context that Iraq evidentially failed its burden to prove it complied and disarmed as mandated by UNSCRs 687 and 1441, UNMOVIC and Iraq Survey Group left the door open - wide open - for the possibility that Saddam concealed elements of his WMD program, especially his BW program.

UNMOVIC noted in the fact record in its 06MAR03 report, "A HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF IRAQ’S PROSCRIBED WEAPONS PROGRAMMES", that "Of all its proscribed weapons programmes, Iraq’s biological warfare (BW) programme was perhaps the most secretive."

Of the 4 proscribed WMD areas (nuclear, biological, chemical, missile), Saddam's BW program was the most compartmentalized, portable, concealable, etc.

In fact, the Iraq Survey Group found a number of indications of an undeclared covert BW program that had been "sanitized", plus ready BW-convertible dual-use items and activity.

Excerpts from the ISG report:
"[The] following are of particular concern, as they relate to the possibility of a retained BW [biological weapons] capability or the ability to initiate a new one.
• ISG cannot determine the fate of Iraq’s stocks of bulk BW agents remaining after Desert Storm and subsequent unilateral destruction. There is a very limited chance that continuing investigation may provide evidence to resolve this issue.
• The fate of the missing bulk agent storage tanks.
• The fate of a portion of Iraq’s BW agent seed-stocks.
• The nature, purpose and who was involved in the secret biological work in the small IIS laboratories discovered by ISG.
...
The UN deemed Iraq’s accounting of its production and use of BW agent simulants—specifically Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus lichenformis, Bacillus megaterium and Bacillus thuringiensis to be inadequate. ISG remains interested in simulant work because these items may be used not only to simulate the dispersion of BW agents, develop production techniques, and optimize storage conditions, but also the equipment used for their manufacture can also be quickly converted to make BW agent.
"

Today, Saddam's BW program remains an open question.

Similarly, although it did not uncover "militarily significant WMD stocks", the ISG investigation also could not foreclose the possibility that Saddam possessed WMD stocks or the possibility of unfound WMD stocks, such as the UNSCR 687-proscribed CW munitions confiscated in Operation Avarice. Again, under the terms of the Gulf War ceasefire, Iraq was obligated to provide a total verified declaration that accounted for its entire WMD program, including all stocks, and yield all proscribed items to the UN inspectors for elimination under international supervision; Saddam did not.

Excerpt from the ISG report:
"ISG’s investigation of Iraq’s ammunition supply points—ammunition depots, field ammunition supply points (FASPs), tactical FASPs, and other dispersed weapons caches—has not uncovered any CW munitions. ISG investigation, however, was hampered by several factors beyond our control. The scale and complexity of Iraqi munitions handling, storage, and weapons markings, and extensive looting and destruction at military facilities during OIF significantly limited the number of munitions that ISG was able to thoroughly inspect.
• ISG technical experts fully evaluated less than one quarter of one percent of the over 10,000 weapons caches throughout Iraq, and visited fewer than ten ammunition depots identified prior to OIF as suspect CW sites.
• The enormous number of munitions dispersed throughout the country may include some older, CW-filled munitions, and ISG cannot discount the possibility that a few large caches of munitions remain to be discovered within Iraq.
"

elcee said...

Me to Rusty:
"What's HJR114?"

Duh. You're referring to the earlier version of Public Law 107-243. I thought you were referring to a fact finding that I didn't know about. My mistake.

Anyway, again, you're correct that "Hussein was amassing materials to build WMDs" in breach of UNSCR 687.

Excerpts from the ISG report:
"From 1999 until he was deposed in April 2003, Saddam’s conventional weapons and WMD-related procurement programs steadily grew in scale, variety, and efficiency.
... Prohibited goods and weapons were being shipped into Iraq with virtually no problem. The only notable items stopped in this flow were some aluminum tubes, which became the center of debate over the existence of a nuclear enrichment effort in Iraq. Major items had no trouble getting across the border, including 380 liquid-fuel rocket engines. Indeed, Iraq was designing missile systems with the assumption that sanctioned material would be readily available.
... The procurement programs supporting Iraq’s WMD programs and prohibited conventional military equipment purchases were financed via a supplemental budget process that occurred outside of the publicized national and defense budgets.
"