The NIE apparently came as a surprise to President Bush, who insisted at a news conference the next day that “I was made aware of the NIE last week. In August, I think it was, [HERE’S THE TELL-TALE SLIP:] John – Mike McConnell – came in and said, ‘We have some new information.’ He didn’t tell me what the information was. He did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze.” ….John Negroponte was being replaced [in January] as Director of National Intelligence because he had refused to tailor the NIE to Vice President Cheney’s specificiations.
So, That was in January. Didn’t Negroponte tell Bush? Really? I mean, he got fired over it !!! So, how does Cheney get Negroponte fired without telling Bush the whole story???? How can Bush claim to have been ignorant? Didn’t he notice that Negroponte was gone?
Here is the original story:
According to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, Negroponte’s exit followed a lengthy internal administration battle between the Office of the Vice President and the two-year-old Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
According to officials close to both men, two issues surround Negroponte’s departure and McConnell’s nomination: a forthcoming National Intelligence Estimate on Iran — which the White House could use to buttress a case for military force — and pressure from the Vice President to augment domestic surveillance.
Negroponte had resisted both efforts. Tensions soared after Negroponte made a public statement last year that countered the administration position that Iran was an immediate threat and that its alleged nuclear weapons program was in an advanced stage.
“The NIE on Iran is at issue,” said one former senior intelligence officer close to Negroponte.
So, I repeat: Did Mike McConnell lie to Congress about Iran, in February, after he took over……….?
And I ask, did Negroponte not tell Bush???? in January? Is Bush telling the truth?
UPDATE: NY Times confirms that the intelligence was on the wire over a year ago. Clearly Bush is trying to do a dance around the facts; he is parsing words. Doubtless he will say that it wasn’t officially part of the NIE until he, the unitary executive, says it is.