My conclusion was warning: I merely didn’t see proof of an imminent risk or a brand new rush by a madman to acquire weapons of mass destruction. I noticed the established order because it had been for a very long time. “Appears to be like just like the Center East,” I mentioned to the intelligence officer sitting on the desk.
The next Sunday, [my wife] Marcelle and I went for our traditional early-morning stroll within the neighborhood. It was a heat September day, and we walked hand in hand.
Two match joggers trailed behind us. They stopped and requested what I considered the intelligence briefings I’d been getting. Marcelle realized this was a dialog that usually she wouldn’t be concerned in and saved on strolling forward.
I went by a requisite disclaimer that if I used to be in briefings and in the event that they had been categorised, I couldn’t acknowledge that they even occurred and couldn’t discuss them if that they had. They advised me they understood that, however requested whether or not the briefers had confirmed me File Eight.
It was apparent from the look on my face that I had not seen such a file. They prompt I ought to and that I would discover it attention-grabbing. Shortly thereafter I organized to see File Eight, and it contradicted a lot of what I had heard from the Bush administration.
Days later, Marcelle and I had been out strolling once more when the 2 joggers reappeared. After the opening greetings, they advised me they understood I had seen File Eight and requested what did I give it some thought?
It was the eeriest dialog I’d skilled in Washington. I felt like a senatorial model of Bob Woodward assembly Deep Throat — solely in broad daylight.
I went by the same old disclaimers that I couldn’t discuss any file and if such a file was accessible and so forth. They mentioned after all they understood, however they questioned if I had additionally been proven File Twelve, utilizing a code phrase.
Once more, I believe the look on my face gave them the reply. They apologized for interrupting our stroll and jogged off. The following day, I used to be again within the safe room within the Capitol to learn File Twelve, and it once more contradicted the statements that the administration, and particularly Vice President Cheney, gave the impression to be counting on, and I advised my workers and others that for quite a few causes I completely meant to vote towards the battle in Iraq.
I’d been round too lengthy to do otherwise. It’s exhausting to consider any vote that’s taken by the Senate that’s extra vital than voting to go to battle or not. Whereas we by no means had a declaration of battle in Vietnam, the falsehoods and deceptive info relating to the Gulf of Tonkin episode led to a vote within the Senate that assured the continuation of the battle. Just one senator voted no. Had the Senate requested extra questions — had it drilled down into the information — who is aware of how historical past might’ve been totally different? As a substitute, that battle went on for years and hundreds of deaths later, till it was formally ended by a one-vote margin within the Armed Companies Committee of the U.S. Senate in 1975.
I wasn’t alone in questioning the intelligence about Iraq. A conservative Democrat from Florida, Bob Graham, was the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and urged everybody to learn the intelligence, which he couldn’t discuss on the ground or in open conferences. His warnings and people of Senator Carl Levin, the lead Democrat on the Armed Companies Committee, had been a distinction to the administration’s cheerleaders urging senators to satisfy with a person named Ahmed Chalabi, supply of most of the tales that the New York Occasions and others had printed claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I refused to satisfy with him, as I knew his popularity for falsehoods was excessive and that the press who had backed him had been being fooled. The intelligence group referred to him as “Curveball” for a motive.
That Sunday after church, Marcelle and I had been out strolling by McLean, going by Hickory Hill, the previous Robert Kennedy property, as black automobiles with a number of antennas and darkened home windows handed us by. That was commonplace due to numerous officers within the administration who lived out in that space. As we reached Georgetown Pike, proper by the Quaker meetinghouse, one of many automobiles pulled up. A member of the presidential inside circle leaned out from the again window, greeting each myself and Marcelle, and requested if he might speak with me. We had been a couple of half-mile from house, and he or she continued on strolling. I acquired within the automotive with him whereas the safety individuals acquired out of the automotive. We sat there and talked, and he mentioned, “I perceive you’ve seen File Eight and Twelve.” I mentioned I had, and I knew after all that he’d seen them. He mentioned, “I additionally perceive you’re going to vote towards going to battle.”
I mentioned, “I’m, as a result of everyone knows there aren’t any weapons of mass destruction and the explanations for going to battle are simply not there.”
He requested if he might speak me out of that, and I mentioned no, and we ended the dialog. I began to get out of the automotive, and he mentioned they might give me a trip house.
“Thanks — let me let you know the place I stay.”
“We all know the place you reside.”