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This explains a lot about the last six and a half years.

dubya doesn’t read the memos….

From Juan Cole:

….Bremer shared a letter he sent to then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announcing his intention to disband the army, along with Bush’s reply praising his leadership. Bush’s reply, however, does not prove that he read Bremer’s letter, only that Rumsfeld passed it on to him. You have a sense that Bush gets a lot of memos he doesn’t read, in response to which he pats people on the head and names them Turtle Poo. The real question, on which Bremer has never come clean, is who ordered him to disband the Iraqi army. It wasn’t Bush. Was it Cheney? I guess they don’t bother to tell George everything.

And Condoleeza Rice

…Q But, Condi, it’s apparently the case that the CIA didn’t even check the documents, didn’t even discover the forgery until after the speech. And now there’s a report that in September of ’02 — if I have this correct — the Post is saying the CIA was encouraging the British to back off of that claim. So I’m trying to understand the sequencing here. Are you saying — so my question is, in hindsight, would you say that the CIA did not properly vet this alleged sale?

DR. RICE: David, this was a complicated matter of a sale. There were other reports, as well, about Saddam Hussein trying to acquire yellow cake. It was not this Niger document alone. There are even other African countries that are cited in the NIE, not just Niger.

We also knew, let’s remember, that this is the context of a nuclear program in which the seeking of yellow cake is only a small piece of the story. It includes training of nuclear scientists; it includes rebuilding certain infrastructure that had been associated with nuclear weapons; it includes a clandestine procurement network. Things that we’re finding out now — for instance, that the scientist buried uranium — I’m sorry, centrifuge pieces in his front yard. So one thing that you have to do is to put this piece about seeking yellow cake in the broader context of what was known to be an active effort by the Iranians to try and reconstitute their program.

But let me just go to the point you made, David. The CIA — I’ve read the reports that you’ve also read, that there were — the British were told they shouldn’t put this in the paper. I’ve read those reports. All that I can tell you is that if there were doubts about the underlying intelligence in the NIE, those doubts were not communicated to the President. The only thing that was there in the NIE was a kind of a standard INR footnote, which is kind of 59 pages away from the bulk of the NIE. That’s the only thing that’s there. And you have footnotes all the time in CIA — I mean, in NIEs. So if there was a concern about the underlying intelligence there, the President was unaware of that concern and as was I…

….In the White House briefing room on July 18, a senior administration official, speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity, said Rice did not read October’s National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, the definitive prewar assessment of Iraq’s weapons programs by U.S. intelligence agencies. “We have experts who work for the national security adviser who would know this information,” the official said when asked if Rice had read the NIE. Referring to an annex raising doubts about Iraq’s nuclear program, the official said Bush and Rice “did not read footnotes in a 90-page document. . . . The national security adviser has people that do that.” The annex was boxed and in regular type….

…doesn’t read the footnotes.

I get it now.