Sometimes you read something and you just have to shake your head. The guy only knows one tune and he’s never been able to play it very well.

Cheney again links Iraq invasion to 9/11 attacks

By Hannah Allam and Laith Hammoudi | McClatchy Newspapers

Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2008

…Vice President Dick Cheney gave an upbeat view of conditions in Iraq as he concluded his unannounced trip to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion. Cheney also defended the toppling of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as part of the struggle against terrorism following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

This month, an exhaustive Pentagon-sponsored review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents captured during the 2003 U.S. invasion found no evidence that Saddam’s regime had any operational links with the al Qaida terrorist network

…”This long-term struggle became urgent on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. That day we clearly saw that dangers can gather far from our own shores and find us right there at home,” said Cheney, who was accompanied by his wife, Lynne, and their daughter, Elizabeth.

“So the United States made a decision: to hunt down the evil of terrorism and kill it where it grows, to hold the supporters of terror to account and to confront regimes that harbor terrorists and threaten the peace,” Cheney said. “Understanding all the dangers of this new era, we have no intention of abandoning our friends or allowing this country of 170,000 square miles to become a staging area for further attacks against Americans…”

[emphasis added] tiny URL

Uh, Dick, you all weren’t paying attention in 2001.

Transcript of Rice’s 9/11 commission statement

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 Posted: 12:25 AM EDT (0425 GMT)

… BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

RICE: I believe the title was, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”

Now, the…

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

RICE: No, Mr. Ben-Veniste…

BEN-VENISTE: I will get into the…

RICE: I would like to finish my point here.

BEN-VENISTE: I didn’t know there was a point.

RICE: Given that — you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks.

BEN-VENISTE: I asked you what the title was…

And here’s what the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief said:

Transcript: Bin Laden determined to strike in US

Saturday, April 10, 2004 Posted: 6:51 PM EDT (2251 GMT)

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and “bring the fighting to America.”

After U.S. missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a — — service.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told – – service at the same time that bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative’s access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike.

The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of bin Laden’s first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the U.S.

Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that in —, Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning his own U.S. attack.

Ressam says bin Laden was aware of the Los Angeles operation. Although Bin Laden has not succeeded, his attacks against the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Laden associates surveyed our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.

Al Qaeda members — including some who are U.S. citizens — have resided in or traveled to the U.S. for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.

Two al-Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were U.S. citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.

A clandestine source said in 1998 that a bin Laden cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a —- service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full-field investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers bin Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group or bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.

Well, back to that September 11th and Iraq link. Dick, are you calling dubya a liar?:

September 17, 2003

Remarks by the President After Meeting with Members of the Congressional Conference Committee on Energy Legislation

The Cabinet Room

4:48 P.M. EDT

…Q Mr. President, Dr. Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld both said yesterday that they have seen no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with September 11th. Yet, on Meet the Press, Sunday, the Vice President said Iraq was a geographic base for the terrorists and he also said, I don’t know, or we don’t know, when asked if there was any involvement. Your critics say that this is some effort — deliberate effort to blur the line and confuse people. How would you answer that?

THE PRESIDENT: We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th. What the Vice President said was, is that he has been involved with al Qaeda. And al Zarqawi, al Qaeda operative, was in Baghdad. He’s the guy that ordered the killing of a U.S. diplomat. He’s a man who is still running loose, involved with the poisons network, involved with Ansar al-Islam. There’s no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties

[emphasis added]

Uh, okay Dick, I can see your confusion since your boss was trying to have it both ways.

Of course, he still wanted to deal with the problem of bin Laden first, right?:

September 17, 2001

Guard and Reserves “Define Spirit of America”

Remarks by the President to Employees at the Pentagon

The Pentagon

11:45 A.M. EDT

…Q Do you want bin Laden dead?

THE PRESIDENT:  I want justice.  There’s an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, “Wanted: Dead or Alive….”

Government by B Westerns. Oh wait, Saint Ronald wasn’t involved.

March 13, 2002

President Bush Holds Press Conference

Press Conference by the President

The James S. Brady Briefing Room

4:00 P.M. EST

… Q Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden.  Why is that?  Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive?  Final part  —  deep in your heart, don’t you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won’t
really eliminate the threat of  —

THE PRESIDENT:  Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he’s alive at all.  Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not; we haven’t heard from him in a long time.  And the idea of focusing on one person is —  really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission.

Terror is bigger than one person.  And he’s just  —  he’s a person who’s now been marginalized.  His network, his host government has been destroyed.  He’s the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match.  He is  —  as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide  —  if, in fact, he’s hiding at all.

So I don’t know where he is.  You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you….

[emphasis added]

Wow, one of the few times in his life dubya was candid with the media.

March 1, 2006

President Meets with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan

Presidential Palace

Kabul, Afghanistan

2:52 P.M. (Local)

…Q I’d like to ask you, Mr. President, there was a time when you talked about getting Osama bin Laden dead or alive. Why is he still on the loose five years later? And are you still confident that you’ll get him?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I am confident he will be brought to justice. What’s happening is, is that we got U.S. forces on the hunt for not only bin Laden, but anybody who plots and plans with bin Laden. There are Afghan forces on the hunt for not only bin Laden, but those who plot and plan with him. We’ve got Pakistan forces on the hunt. And part of my message to President Musharraf is, is that it’s important that we bring these people to justice. He understands that. After all, they’ve tried to kill him four times. So we’ve got a common alliance, all aimed at routing out people who are evildoers, people who have hijacked a great religion and kill innocent people in the name of that religion.

We’re making progress of dismantling al Qaeda. Slowly but surely, we’re bringing the people to justice, and the world is better for it, as a result of our steady progress. …

Paying attention again?

Okay, how about that link?:

June 17, 2004

Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:47 P.M. EDT

… Q  Scott, I’m a little confused, and it could be a factor of age, but I’m just wondering, you were saying this morning that the findings of the 9/11 Commission, which definitively say that there was no collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, are completely consistent with your position that there was such a collaborative relationship. And I’m just wondering if you could explain how those two disparate thoughts are completely consistent.

MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. If you go back and look at what the September 11th Commission said, they talked about how there had been high-level contacts between the regime in Iraq and al Qaeda. And they specifically pointed out to contacts between Iraqi intelligence officials and bin Laden in Sudan; and they talked about other contacts. And if you go back and look at what Secretary Powell outlined before the United Nations, this was back in February of 2003, he talked about how we know — this is quote, “We know members of both organizations met repeatedly and have met at least eight times at very senior levels since the early 1990s. In 1996, a foreign security service tells us that bin Laden met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Khartoum and later met the director of the Iraqi intelligence service.” So he talked about some of contacts in his presentation to the United Nations.

Q Right, but the 9/11 —

MR. McCLELLAN: And that is perfectly consistent with what the September 11th Commission talked about in their report yesterday.

Q But here’s where the two positions diverge, and that is that the 9/11 Commission says, yes, there were these contacts, but they did not result in any kind of collaborative relationship. It means the same thing as you and I contact each all the time, but I don’t think anybody here at the White House would account you of having —

MR. McCLELLAN: John, we made it clear a long time ago —

Q — a collaborative relationship with me.

MR. McCLELLAN: We made it clear a long time ago that there is no evidence to suggest that Saddam Hussein’s regime was involved in the attacks of September 11th.

Q But they say — the 9/11 Commission is saying, not only is there no evidence to support that or any collaboration in any other attacks on America, but no evidence to support any kind of collaborative relationship which you have claimed

[emphasis added]

Uh, what did the boss say?:

January 31, 2003

President Bush Meets with Prime Minister Blair

Remarks by the President and British Prime Minister Tony Blair

The Cross Hall

4:12 P.M. EST

Q One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?

THE PRESIDENT: I can’t make that claim.

THE PRIME MINISTER: That answers your question. The one thing I would say, however, is I’ve absolutely no doubt at all that unless we deal with both of these threats, they will come together in a deadly form. Because, you know, what do we know after September the 11th? We know that these terrorists networks would use any means they can to cause maximum death and destruction. And we know also that they will do whatever they can to acquire the most deadly weaponry they can. And that’s why it’s important to deal with these issues together…

[emphasis added]

Camp David, Maryland

September 16, 2001

The Vice President appears on Meet the Press with Tim Russert

…MR. RUSSERT: Saddam Hussein, your old friend, his government had this to say: “The American cowboy is rearing the fruits of crime against humanity.” If we determine that Saddam Hussein is also harboring terrorists, and there’s a track record there, would we have any reluctance of going after Saddam Hussein?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No.

MR. RUSSERT: Do we have evidence that he’s harboring terrorists?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: There is–in the past, there have been some activities related to terrorism by Saddam Hussein. But at this stage, you know, the focus is over here on al-Qaida and the most recent events in New York. Saddam Hussein’s bottled up, at this point, but clearly, we continue to have a fairly tough policy where the Iraqis are concerned.

MR. RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No

[emphasis added]

What happened, Dick?

But, but, but…

January 11, 2006

Interview of the Vice President by Tony Snow

Via Telephone

The Tony Snow Show

11:35 A.M. EST

…Q Mr. Vice President, you have been spending a lot of time in recent days talking about the war on terror and how important it is to take it seriously. The Weekly Standard over the weekend published a long piece by Steve Hayes, who talked about emerging evidence of longstanding ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. You’ve heard it said many times there’s no linkage between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. You’ve heard Democrats beat you and the President about the head an
d shoulders with this. Were there links to — between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think Steve Hayes has done an effective job in his article of laying out a lot of those connections. I hark back to testimony by George Tenet when he was Director of the CIA. He went up before the Senate Intel Committee in open session — this is on public record — and said there was a relationship there that went back 10 years. What was never established was that there was — that — a link between Iraq and the attacks of 9/11.

Q Right, and I’ve heard you and the President say that many times.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That’s right.

Q And you correct it any time somebody tries to raise it.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That’s right. And so what some people have done is gotten very sloppy and said, well, there was no link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, and then jumped to the conclusion that there was no relationship at all with respect to al Qaeda.

And the Iraqis — the fact is we know that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were heavily involved with terror. They were carried as a terror-sponsoring state by our State Department for many, many years. Abu Nidal operated out of there; Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Saddam Hussein was making payments to families of suicide bombers. All of this is very well established. And Steve Hayes is of the view — and I think he’s correct — that a lot of those documents that were captured over there that have not yet been evaluated offer additional evidence that, in fact, there was a relationship that stretched over many years between Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda organization….

But, but, but, we can’t prove it because we haven’t bothered to analyze those documents yet? It must be nice to have friends in high media places.

June 15, 2006

Interview of the Vice President by Sean Hannity

Via Telephone

3:15 P.M. EDT

…Q But doesn’t this really get to the debate — and there is a distinct difference between the two parties. And you can hear it clearly in what John Kerry is saying. They have a debate going on in the House of Representatives today. This has everything to do with Iraq, the war against Islamic fascism. In many ways — I guess the distinct difference is that you and the President — and frankly, I agree with you — have decided that the time is now and the place is Iraq. I ask most people on the other side of the aisle when I interview them or debate with them, well, do you believe at some point we are going to be at war with those people that have attacked us, that want to destroy our society. They say yes. They just disagree with the time and the place, no?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I think that’s right, Sean. The distinction I see here is that there’s a failure on their part to understand, or refusal to understand, that this isn’t just about Iraq, that it, in fact, is about the broader global war on terror, that this is a global conflict that everybody should be aware of by now. There have been attacks all over the world, in London and Madrid and Bali and Istanbul, as well as New York and Washington; that the key to our success to date has been to actively and aggressively go on offense. Pre-9/11, the policies that were pursued by the U.S. government were not aggressive at all. There was no price really extracted for those who launched attacks against the United States, right up until 9/11 — 9/11, of course, and this President changed all that

[emphasis added]

One question. Where’s colmes?

And those WMD?:

October 16, 2002

Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:23 P.M. EDT

…Q Ari, if there is a war in Iraq, can the American public and the world expect any incontrovertible proof that this menace is growing?

MR. FLEISCHER: Incontrovertible — I think there is only one way to have to incontrovertible proof and that’s when it’s too late. If you’re asking about a menace growing, the risk — and this is why Presidents make very difficult decisions about war and peace — the risk is how long do you wait for Saddam Hussein to grow stronger, to develop those weapons and acquire nuclear weapons before it’s too late? Do you only act after he has used them? Or if we had known that 9/11, for example, was coming, would we have acted to stop it? Of course, we would have. Now with Saddam Hussein the President has to ask similar tough questions.

Can we know with certainty what Saddam Hussein is going to do? Only Saddam Hussein knows with certainty what he’s going to do with all the weapons that he’s growing and acquiring. And the risk of inaction is it means we have to trust Saddam Hussein to use wise judgment and discretion, something he has never shown an ability to do. Instead he’s done just the opposite; he’s used his weapons to invade his neighbors. And that’s how the President approaches this…

They know how to play the tune.

April 13, 2004

President Addresses the Nation in Prime Time Press Conference

Press Conference of the President

8:31 P.M. EDT  …Q Thank you, Mr. President. To move to the 9/11 Commission. You, yourself, have acknowledged that Osama bin Laden was not a central focus of the administration in the months before September 11th. “I was not on point,” you told the journalist, Bob Woodward, “I didn’t feel that sense of urgency.” Two-and-a-half years later, do you feel any sense of personal responsibility for September 11th?

THE PRESIDENT: Let me put that quote to Woodward in context. He had asked me if I was — something about killing bin Laden. That’s what the question was. And I said, compared to how I felt at the time, after the attack, I didn’t have that — I also went on to say, my blood wasn’t boiling, I think is what the quote said. I didn’t see — I mean, I didn’t have that great sense of outrage that I felt on September the 11th. I was — on that day I was angry and sad: angry that al Qaeda had — well, at the time, thought al Qaeda, found out shortly thereafter it was al Qaeda — had unleashed this attack; sad for those who lost their life….

… Q Mr. President, I’d like to follow up on a couple of these questions that have been asked. One of the biggest criticisms of you is that whether it’s WMD in Iraq, postwar planning in Iraq, or even the question of whether this administration did enough to ward off 9/11, you never admit a mistake. Is that a fair criticism? And do you believe there were any errors in judgment that you made related to any of those topics I brought up?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think, as I mentioned, it’s — the country wasn’t on war footing, and yet we’re at war. And that’s just a reality, Dave. I mean, that’s — that was the situation that existed prior to 9/11, because the truth of the matter is, most in the country never felt that we’d be vulnerable to an attack such as the one that Osama bin Laden unleashed on us. We knew he had designs on us, we knew he hated us. But there was a — nobody in our government, at least, and I don’t think the prior government, could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.

The people know where I stand. I mean, in terms of Iraq, I was very clear about what I believed. And, of course, I want to know why we haven’t found a weapon yet….

I wonder if those WMD have been marginalized.

August 26, 2002

Vice President Speaks at VFW 103rd National Convention

Remarks by the Vice President to the Veterans of Foreign Wars 103rd National Convention

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he
is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors — confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth…

[emphasis added]

You don’t know, Dick.

And further word from dubya?:

September 11, 2006

President’s Address to the Nation

The Oval Office

9:01 P.M. EDT

…On September the 11th, we learned that America must confront threats before they reach our shores, whether those threats come from terrorist networks or terrorist states. I’m often asked why we’re in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. My administration, the Congress, and the United Nations saw the threat — and after 9/11, Saddam’s regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December.

Al Qaeda and other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East. They have joined the remnants of Saddam’s regime and other armed groups to foment sectarian violence and drive us out…

[emphasis added]

Uh, one question. What about bin Laden? Oh right. He’s been marginalized.

Our useless and lazy media parses throw away campaign statements in extremis and never bothers apply the same standard to look at what the administration said and still says. Interesting.