tenet: cheney had eye on iraq long before 9/11

tenet: cheney had eye on iraq long before 9/11from blacklisted news/houston chronicle: White House and Pentagon officials, and particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, were determined to attack Iraq from the first days of the Bush administration, long before the Sept. 11 attacks, and repeatedly stretched available intelligence to build support for the war, according to a new book by former CIA director George Tenet.

Although Tenet does not question the threat Saddam Hussein posed or the sincerity of administration beliefs, he recounts numerous efforts by aides to Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to insert “crap” into public justifications for the war. Tenet also describes an ongoing fear within the intelligence community of the administration’s willingness to “mischaracterize complex intelligence information.”

“There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraq threat,” Tenet writes in At the Center of the Storm, to be published Monday. The debate “was not about imminence but about acting before Saddam did.”