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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Cheney's Pants Still on Fire

To quote the Vice President, "it's hard to know where to start."

1. A Big Lie: Iraq, 9/11 and al Qaeda:
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: The Senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11.
On Meet the Press, however, Cheney did very strongly suggest that Iraq had something to do with 9/11. This is from December 9, 2001:
CHENEY: Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that's been pretty well confirmed, that he [9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.
Actually, the Atta in Prague story is widely debunked. The Veep seemed to recognize this when he lied about his prior appearance on the show again in September 2003:
MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think it’s not surprising that people make that connection.

MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn’t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.

We know, for example, in connection with the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93 that one of the bombers was Iraqi, returned to Iraq after the attack of ’93. And we’ve learned subsequent to that, since we went into Baghdad and got into the intelligence files, that this individual probably also received financing from the Iraqi government as well as safe haven.

Now, is there a connection between the Iraqi government and the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93? We know, as I say, that one of the perpetrators of that act did, in fact, receive support from the Iraqi government after the fact. With respect to 9/11, of course, we’ve had the story that’s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we’ve never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don’t know.
The 9/11 Commission, of course, looked at all the evidence and found no collaborative relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.

2. An Embarrassing Lie: Edwards was accurate about his critique of Halliburton and Cheney lied for denying the claims. I quoted this passage earlier:
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, the reason they keep mentioning Halliburton is because they're trying to throw up a smoke screen. They know the charges are false. They know if you go, for example, to** ( ** is the correct web address ), an independent website sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, you can get the specific details, with respect to Halliburton.
Note that the White House website is now providing the correct link.

From at the University of Pennsylvania:
Cheney got our domain name wrong -- calling us "" -- and wrongly implied that we had rebutted allegations Edwards was making about what Cheney had done as chief executive officer of Halliburton.

In fact, we did post an article pointing out that Cheney hasn't profited personally while in office from Halliburton's Iraq contracts, as falsely implied by a Kerry TV ad. But Edwards was talking about Cheney's responsibility for earlier Halliburton troubles. And in fact, Edwards was mostly right....

Halliburton has said it does about $30 million to $40 million in oilfield service business in Iran annually through a subsidiary, Halliburton Products and Services Ltd. The company says that the subsidiary fully complies with US sanctions laws, but the matter currently is under investigation by a federal grand jury in Houston.
The group finds some fault with Edwards, but this seems a particularly ironic lie given it is highlighted by the very source that Cheney said viewers should check for the truth.

2. A Small Lie (that illustrates why we might not want to trust the Bush spin machine about anything):
Now, in my capacity as Vice President, I am the President of the Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.
There are pictures floating all over the internet of Cheney standing next to Edwards at a Prayer breakfast they both attended in 2001 (apparently for 2 or 3 hours). The Vice President thanked Edwards by name in his remarks that day. Cheney was standing across from the Veep when Elizabeth Dole was sworn in as US Senator. They appeared on "Meet the Press" on the same day once and host Tim Russert says they met (and shook hands). Edwards was present and voted "nay" six times when Cheney voted "yea" to break ties on Senate votes.

The DNC has a video already.

Remember, Al Gore "lost" a debate in 2000 on similarly trivial details about his personal schedule and meetings.

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