Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Phase 2: How Stacked is this Deck?

I'm not optimistic that Phase 2 of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation will find anything conclusive on the use of intelligence in the run up to war. Half of the six members on the panel are Republicans, and none of those Republicans are exactly "moderate" or without ties to the White House.

Christopher "Kit" Bond, Republican Senator from Missouri, is a good example. He's been on the talk shows lately parroting the company line (you already heard the high points in Mister Bush's Veteran's Day speech. Unjustified accusations, sending the wrong message, blah, blah, blah).

In July 2004, during a GOP stump speechin Saint Louis, Vice President Dick Cheney said:
In my current role as the presiding officer of the United States Senate, I can confirm that Kit Bond and Jim Talent are one of the finest teams serving today in the United States Senate…

…I've known Kit Bond now for, I guess, close to 30 years. Kit, we've done a great deal of work together. He does a superb job, not only for Missouri but for the entire nation. And President Bush and I will be extremely proud this fall to serve on the same ticket with Kit Bond, who's going to win reelection for another term in the United States Senate.

It doesn't exactly sound like Kit and Big Dick are strangers.

Nor was Bond a disinterested observer of the Nigergate scandal. During the 2004 campaign, he was a key figure in the campaign to discredit Joe Wilson. In an appearance on The News Hour With Jim Lehrer, he said:
I think it's very important that the American people understand that this man [Wilson] held up as a great truth-teller is no such thing and is in fact a disingenuous dissembler…

… The whole Wilson story has been exposed as a fraud and a hoax designed only to smear the president.

We now know that the president's story was a fraud and a hoax designed to smear Wilson. But more importantly, we know from his own words and actions that Bond has a dog in the fight to "prove" the no one in the administration tampered with the intelligence on Iraq.

The Senate Intelligence Committee's Phase One report, released in July of 2004, contained several "additional views." One of them, authored by Democratic Senators Jay Rockefeller, Carl Levin, and Dick Durbin said that:
…the Committee’s phase one report fails to fully explain the environment of intense pressure in which Intelligence Community officials were asked to render judgments on matters relating to Iraq when policy officials had already forcefully stated their own conclusions in public.

Bond was among the Republican members of the committee who added the other two "additional views." One was a statement that the committee Democrats had refused to include a statement in the report that discredited Joe Wilson. The other was a rebuttal of the Democrats' assertion that the intelligence had been "pressured."

So it's little wonder that when Senator Harry Reid called for the secret session to bring attention to the delay in Phase 2 of the investigation, Kit Bond was among the first to label the action a "political stunt."

Kit Bond has several dogs in the fight to discover who or who didn't manipulate intelligence, including himself.


On a related note, you may remember that Bond was one of only nine senators who voted against the interrogation limits bill.

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