NewsMax landed an interview with Richard Perle. The whole thing is a disgrace, but this part I found especially outrageous.

NewsMax: Now that Al Franken has declared for the U.S. Senate, do you find him a more serious guy?

Perle: He tells me that he is out of a job [host on Air America Radio]. He actually has a decent sense of humor, so he tries to be funny, but he was reasonably serious with me. I didn’t think, however, that he had a lot to say of importance.

Franken was hung up on the fact that we didn’t find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and that whole thing gets a little tedious after a while.

The president didn’t create [the intelligence organizations]. He made the mistake of keeping [former CIA chief George] Tenet in place, but that is another matter.

And if that little treasure isn’t enough for you, check out this.

NewsMax: What about the U.S. intelligence efforts in the ramp-up to war in Iraq?

Perle: The intelligence that was available to [the president] after September 11 was that they were categorical in their belief that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. There was no deception. There was no cherry-picking. There was no pressure on the analysts. That whole line is rubbish. I was seeing the intelligence at the time.

I was then chairman of the Defense Policy Board, and we had briefings and so I heard the CIA briefings and the Defense Intelligence Agency briefings, and they never left any room for doubt. The idea that that intelligence product was manipulated by the administration is just completely without foundation. But the Democrats have embraced it because it is how they hope to explain the fact that most of them voted for the resolution authorizing force against Saddam.

I guess Douglas Feith didn’t exist. I guess the Niger documents weren’t really forgeries. I guess that Curveball really was a credible source. Oh, fuck it. I’ll let Colin Powell’s former chief of staff do the talking:

DAVID BRANCACCIO: We’ve been talking grand policy. The then director of the CIA, George Tenent, Vice President Cheney’s deputy Libby, told you that the intelligence that was the basis of going to war was rock solid. Given what you now know, how does that make you feel?

LAWRENCE WILKERSON: It makes me feel terrible. I’ve said in other places that it was– constitutes the lowest point in my professional life. My participation in that presentation at the UN constitutes the lowest point in my professional life.

I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations Security Council. How do you think that makes me feel? Thirty-one years in the United States Army and I more or less end my career with that kind of a blot on my record? That’s not a very comforting thing.

DAVID BRANCACCIO: A hoax? That’s quite a word.

LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Well, let’s face it, it was. It was not a hoax that the Secretary in any way was complicit in. In fact he did his best– I watched him work. Two AM in the morning on the DCI and the Deputy DCI, John McLaughlin.

And to try and hone the presentation down to what was, in the DCI’s own words, a slam dunk. Firm. Iron clad. We threw many things out. We threw the script that Scooter Libby had given the– Secretary of State. Forty-eight page script on WMD. We threw that out the first day.

And we turned to the National Intelligence estimate as part of the recommendation of George Tenent and my agreement with. But even that turned out to be, in its substantive parts– that is stockpiles of chemicals, biologicals and production capability that was hot and so forth, and an active nuclear program. The three most essential parts of that presentation turned out to be absolutely false.

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