The White House and supporting Repugs are found of saying it is "just 16 little words." No. It is a campaign of one lie after another. And Dubya can't blame this one on Tenet.
From Dana Millbank, who is worth every penny he is paid, and more.
The White House, in the run-up to war in Iraq, did not seek CIA approval before charging that Saddam Hussein could launch a biological or chemical attack within 45 minutes, administration officials now say.
The claim, which has since been discredited, was made twice by President Bush, in a September Rose Garden appearance after meeting with lawmakers and in a Saturday radio address the same week. Bush attributed the claim to the British government, but in a "Global Message" issued Sept. 26 and still on the White House Web site, the White House claimed, without attribution, that Iraq "could launch a biological or chemical attack 45 minutes after the order is given."...
The White House embraced the claim, from a British dossier on Iraq, at the same time it began to promote the dossier's disputed claim that Iraq sought uranium in Africa.
Bush administration officials last week said the CIA was not consulted about the claim. A senior White House official did not dispute that account, saying presidential remarks such as radio addresses are typically "circulated at the staff level" within the White House only.
Virtually all of the focus on whether Bush exaggerated intelligence about Iraq's weapons ambitions has been on the credibility of a claim he made in the Jan. 28 State of the Union address about efforts to buy uranium in Africa. But an examination of other presidential remarks, which received little if any scrutiny by intelligence agencies, indicates Bush made more broad accusations on other intelligence matters related to Iraq.
For example, the same Rose Garden speech and Sept. 28 radio address that mentioned the 45-minute accusation also included blunt assertions by Bush that "there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq." This claim was highly disputed among intelligence experts; a group called Ansar al-Islam in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq and Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, who could have been in Iraq, were both believed to have al Qaeda contacts but were not themselves part of al Qaeda.