Accuracy in Media

With the help of the Washington Post, the Democratic National Committee is continuing its campaign over alleged White House deceptions leading up to the war with Iraq. The Democratic National Committee has sent out emails claiming that the Post has published a “devastating report” exposing how the Bush administration “systematically distorted the evidence, continuing to mislead the public after learning that the evidence contradicted their statements.”

President Bush had referred to Saddam Hussein holding meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists. But the Post claimed that Bush “did not disclose that the known work of the scientists was largely benign. Iraq’s three top gas-centrifuge experts, for example, ran a copper factory, an operation to extract graphite from oil and a mechanical engineering design center.” The Post apparently thinks that Saddam Hussein should have been given the benefit of any doubt. After 9/11, that didn’t make sense to President Bush and many others.

In fact, the article buried the statement that the administration “had reasons to imagine the worst.” It noted several CIA failures, including the agency being taken by surprise by documents showing Saddam Hussein’s crash nuclear-weapons program in 1991. Former National Security Council official Richard A. Clarke said this CIA failure was a wake-up call for Vice President Cheney, who served as defense secretary just after the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Clarke said that if Cheney had been told by the CIA that it had no hard evidence of an Iraqi nuclear- weapons program in 2002, his reaction would have been “We didn’t have any evidence in 1991, either. Why should I believe you now?”

The negative elements of the story were probably contributed by the story’s co-author, Walter Pincus. He was once described by scholar Michael Ledeen as the “slimer-in-chief for his many smear jobs on Republicans and other conservatives.” Ledeen said that Pincus and his wife threw a dinner party for Bill and Hillary Clinton when Mrs. Pincus was a political appointee in the Executive Branch.

Journalist Kenneth Timmerman said that when the congressional Cox Commission confirmed that China had committed nuclear espionage against the U.S., “the Washington Post assigned a journalist whose wife was a Clinton administration appointee to cover the story.” That was Walter Pincus. Timmerman said that Pincus and his wife Ann were guests of the Clintons at Camp David. Timmerman said that after several years at the U.S. Information Agency, Ann Pincus was transferred in the late 1990s to the Office of Research and Media Reaction at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the same office that “lost” a laptop computer loaded with highly classified intelligence documents in April 2000.

Timmerman noted that, in his reports for the Post, Walter Pincus consistently sought to debunk the Chinese espionage allegations. Now he’s sliming the administration for acting against the Iraqi nuclear threat. No wonder the Democratic National Committee cites his work.




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