After the firestorm that erupted when Ron Suskind published The Way of the World, the CIA pulled an all-nighter or two and put together an investigation into the question, "Did the CIA help the Bushies forge a letter claiming Saddam had WMD's they knew he didn't have?"
Apparently <breathing sigh of relief>, they didn't. </relief>
The CIA and White House denied Suskind's account when the book was first released. But yesterday, the CIA issued a more extensive rebuttal based on what the agency called an internal investigation involving a records search and interviews with junior and senior officers who were directly involved in the agency's Iraq operations at the time. As for the claim that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a letter, the agency said: "It did not happen."
"CIA has made its own inquiries overseas and no one -- no individual and no intelligence service -- has substantiated Suskind's account of Habbush or the bogus letter," the agency said in a prepared statement. "At this point, the origins of the forgery, like the whereabouts of Habbush himself, remain unclear. But this much is certain: Suskind is off the mark."
The CIA investigation is the latest in a long line of Bush Admin investigations of itself. Let's just jump into our Way-Back Machine with Sherman and check to see how they came out, shall we? In no particular order:
- When the Justice Dept was accused of firing 8 US Attorneys for
political reasons, AG Gonzo immediately promised an investigation.
Months later, after recusing himself for possible bias, his
lackeysinvestigators (all of them originally hired by Monica Goodling) announced themselves satisfied that no laws had been broken by the DOJ. We were all relieved.
- When Scooter Libby was implicated in outing CIA NOC agent Valerie Plame as political revenge on Joseph Wilson for catching the Bush-Cheneys forging (there's that word again) documents to prove that Saddam was planning on building a nuke he wasn't planning to build, the Emperor himself leapt into the fray to promise an investigation. Months later, even though there had never been an investigator assigned to this project that anyone in Washington could identify, and even though the investigation never produced any paperwork anybody had ever seen, and even though there was later to be plenty of evidence for Patrick Fitzgerald to convict Scooter, the president's "investigation" found that there was no evidence and that everyone in the White House was innocent of complicity in the Plame Affair. We wanted to be relieved but, well, there was doubt. There, I've said it. I feel better.
- When new AG and Gonzo replacement Michael Mukasey was asked to investigate whether or not waterboarding was "torture", he ignored every legal source that said it was and found that it wasn't torture because "America doesn't torture", so if America was doing it, it couldn't be. We were less relieved. We'd read the Geneva Convention.
And that's just a few to give you a taste. The Bush Administration has an unblemished record: whenever it investigates itself, it finds itself innocent of wrong-doing. What an amazing feat!
We think that's because none of these guys would recognize a wrong if they sat on it, but never mind. They're innocent. That's what counts.
And now the CIA has given itself a clean bill of health and another potential scandal is averted.