In an interview with Hardball host Chris Matthews, Bush-era CIA intelligence briefer Mike Morell revealed that former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney falsely presented intelligence to the public regarding Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.
The Bush administration has long been criticized for the Iraq war, and many have accused Bush and Cheney of misleading the public about Iraq’s acquisition of WMDs. Morell, according to the interview with Matthews, seemingly confirmed that there was, in fact, information presented falsely regarding the weapons.
Matthews presented Morell with a statement made in 2003 by Cheney.
“We know he [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons,” Cheney stated.
“Was that true?” Matthews asked.
“That’s not true,” Morell replied.
“Well, why’d you let them get away with it?” Matthews responded. As Morell began to explain his reasoning behind staying quiet about the false information, Matthews interrupted him.
“You're the briefer for the president on intelligence, you're the top person to go in and tell him what's going on,” he said. “You see Cheney make this charge he's got a nuclear bomb and then they make subsequent charges he knew how to deliver it…and nobody raised their hand and said, ‘No that's not what we told him.’”
“As the briefer, my job is to carry CIA's best information and best analysis to the president of the United States and make sure he understands it. My job is to not watch what they're saying on TV,” Morell said in defense of his actions at the time.
When pressed further, Morell made a more direct confirmation of his earlier admission, saying that Bush and Cheney gave a false presentation on “some aspects” of the information he gave to them.
“What they were saying about the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda publicly was not what the intelligence community--” Morell said before Matthews interrupted him to ask why Bush and Cheney lied.
“I think they were trying to make a stronger case for the war," Morell replied.
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