US media citations of "Downing Street Memo"

Compiled by Erik Mattheis
gozz à la gozz . com

Week 1

Iraq leak puts pressure on Blair

CNN
CNN
May 1, 2005

LONDON, England -- UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush were determined to topple Saddam Hussein at least nine months before they launched the war in Iraq, according to documents leaked to a British Sunday newspaper.

Observers say the secret documents could have an impact in Britain's election on Thursday, in which Iraq -- and whether the prime minister told the truth when making his case for war -- has resurfaced as an issue in the final week of campaigning.


For Blair, Iraq Issue Just Won't Go Away

By Alan Cowell
New York Times
May 2, 2005

HOVE, England, May 1 - If there is one campaign issue that Prime Minister Tony Blair would prefer to wish away before Britons go to the polls on Thursday, it is probably the question of his integrity and credibility in the way he handled the period leading up to the Iraq war.

But on Sunday, Iraq came back to haunt him yet again in a newspaper article suggesting that he had committed himself to an American plan for "regime change" months before he told either Parliament or the people that British participation in the American-led invasion was all but inevitable.


British memo indicates Bush made intelligence fit Iraq policy

By Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott
Knight Ridder Newspapers
May 5, 2005

WASHINGTON - A highly classified British memo, leaked in the midst of Britain's just-concluded election campaign, indicates that President Bush decided to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by summer 2002 and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy.


A New Memo-gate? Knight Ridder Covers Leaked British Document That Disputes Bush Claims on Iraq

By E&P Staff
Editor & Publisher
May 6, 2005

NEW YORK For much of the week, much of the U.S. press paid little attention to the highly classified British memo, leaked to a British newspaper, which seems to reveal that President Bush decided by summer 2002 to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy.

That changed on Friday, when Knight Ridder circulated a lengthy report on the memo by Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott.


Week 2

Bush asked to explain UK war memo

CNN
CNN
May 12, 2005

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Eighty-nine Democratic members of the U.S. Congress last week sent President George W. Bush a letter asking for explanation of a secret British memo that said "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to support the Iraq war in mid-2002.

The timing of the memo was well before the president brought the issue to Congress for approval.


Indignation Grows in U.S. Over British Prewar Documents
Critics of Bush call them proof that he and Blair never saw diplomacy as an option with Hussein.

By John Daniszewski
Los Angeles Times
May 12, 2005

LONDON - Reports in the British press this month based on documents indicating that President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair had conditionally agreed by July 2002 to invade Iraq appear to have blown over quickly in Britain.

But in the United States, where the reports at first received scant attention, there has been growing indignation among critics of the Bush White House, who say the documents help prove that the leaders made a secret decision to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein nearly a year before launching their attack, shaped intelligence to that aim and never seriously intended to avert the war through diplomacy.


Bush queried on British doubts over Iraq

Wire
UPI
May 12, 2005

Washington, DC, May. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush has been asked to explain a secret British memo that cast doubt on the legality of going to war with Iraq in 2002.

The letter to Bush from 89 congressional Democrats asks for clarification of details from minutes of a secret British meeting that said U.S. "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to support the invasion of Iraq, CNN reported.


Let's make a political deal

By Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
May 12, 2005

AUSTIN - Meanwhile, back in Iraq. I was going to leave out of this column everything about how we got into Iraq, or whether it was wise, and/or whether the infamous "they" knowingly lied to us. (Although I did plan to point out I would be nobly refraining from poking at that festering question.)

Since I believe one of our greatest strengths as Americans is shrewd practicality, I thought it was time we moved past the now unhelpful "How did we get into his mess?" to the more utilitarian "What do we do now?"

However, I cannot let this astounding Downing Street memo go unmentioned.

On May 1, The Sunday Times of London printed a secret memo that went to the defense secretary, foreign secretary, attorney general and other high officials. It is the minutes of their meeting on Iraq with Tony Blair. The memo was written by Matthew Rycroft, a Downing Street foreign policy aide. It has been confirmed as legitimate and is dated July 23, 2002. I suppose the correct cliche is "smoking gun." Note the fourth sentence.


Credibility matters little to Brits, Americans

By Helen Thomas
Hearst Newspapers
May 13, 2005

As the British re-election campaign was ending, the May 1 Sunday Times of London published a secret U.K. government memorandum discussing a July 23, 2002, meeting between Blair and his top security advisers. The memo said that military action against Iraq "was seen as inevitable" and that Bush wanted to remove Saddam "through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD," weapons of mass destruction.

According to the Times, the memo said that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

The report was not disavowed by the British government. At the time of the memo, Bush officials were insisting they had no plans to attack Iraq.


Outside view: Media misses the news

By Greg Guma
UPI
May 13, 2005

Sometimes the mainstream media simply ignore the news. Case in point: a British newspaper recently revealed clear evidence that U.S. intelligence was shaped to support the drive for war in Iraq. The evidence includes various documents, including the minutes of a July 23, 2002 meeting in the office of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during which British support for the war was considered a given. "It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided," the minutes state.

As a result, 88 members of the House of Representatives are demanding an investigation. But this so-called "smoking gun" memo and the congressional response it has sparked have received little attention in the U.S. media.


British Intelligence Warned of Iraq War
Blair Was Told of White House's Determination to Use Military Against Hussein

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post
May 13, 2005

Seven months before the invasion of Iraq, the head of British foreign intelligence reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair that President Bush wanted to topple Saddam Hussein by military action and warned that in Washington intelligence was "being fixed around the policy," according to notes of a July 23, 2002, meeting with Blair at No. 10 Downing Street.


U.S. anger over war memo is slight

By Sharon Schmickle
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 13, 2005

Liberal web logs have buzzed for days with a new allegation that the U.S. government "fixed" intelligence and facts to justify the Iraq war.

The report in a London newspaper of a top-secret British document has prompted some outrage on this side of the Atlantic. Rep. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota is one of 88 House Democrats who have formally requested an explanation from the White House, saying the report "raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war."

For the most part, though, the report stands as a fresh example of today's fractured political discourse in which one person's smoking gun is another's cryptic smoke signal. Among their other frustrations, liberals are fuming because the U.S. news media have barely noted the news that set off an uproar in Europe.

The underlying reality is that the United States has moved beyond the debate over the reasons for invading Iraq, said Daniel Hofrenning, a political scientist at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Most Americans are focused on seeking positive outcomes from the war, not reason to blame the Bush administration for starting it.


Downing Street War Memo Gains Traction in U.S. Press

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher
May 14, 2005

NEW YORK For more than 10 days, the U.S. media nearly ignored it, but finally the so-called "Downing Street Memo" is finally gaining traction in the U.S. press. The Los Angeles Times featured a lengthy report on Thursday, and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post followed on Friday.

The memo, obtained by the The Sunday Times in London and published on May 1, became a major issue in the closing days of the British elections but received little attention in the United States until a Knight Ridder report on May 6, which E&P carried. A Knight Ridder editor later told E&P that it received surprisingly little pickup. The New York Times has given it little notice.


Week 3

News Over There, but Not Here

By Michael Getler, Washington Post Omsbudsman
Washington Post
May 15, 2005

My e-mail in-box was once again inundated last week by write-in campaigns provoked by two self-described media watchdog organizations, both on the liberal side of things. The first critic out of its box and into mine is called Media Matters for America. The second one was FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting), an organization that I wrote about last month.

There were more than 1,000 e-mails, plus some phone calls, all of them blasting The Post and some of them blasting me. The Post was attacked for not following up the disclosure by the London Sunday Times on May 1 about a secret memo by an aide to British Prime Minister Tony Blair in July 2002, recounting a meeting among Blair and his top aides eight months before the invasion of Iraq and after a trip to Washington by the head of British intelligence. The memo reported, among other things, that "military action was now seen as inevitable" in Washington and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."


Bush Sold the War on WMDs, Not Regime Change

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher
May 15, 2005

With embarassing new revelations on WMDs emerging, and Bush poll numbers slipping, the president's supporters in the press argue that he actually sold the war to the public on the basis of freedom for the Iraqis, not on a WMD threat to Americans. A look at Bush's final messages to the public and to Congress just before the war began prove otherwise.

Ever since it became apparent, almost two years ago, that Saddam Hussein held no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq--the most prominent reason offered by the Bush administration for going to war against him--defenders of the U.S. invasion and occupation in the media have flailed away, attempting to uphold the president's honor.

First they claimed the weapons would still be found in Iraq. Months later, bitterly disappointed, they reluctantly admitted they had been proven wrong, but suggested that the WMDs must have been spirited out of the country, to Syria, or maybe in Michael Moore's backyard.


McCain: I don't agree with British war memo
Leaked document says U.S. set up conditions for Iraq invasion

CNN.com
May 15, 2005

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain said Sunday he doesn't "agree with" the secret minutes of a high-level British meeting in 2002 saying "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to support a U.S.-led war in Iraq -- well before the president sought approval on the war from Congress.

The memo was made public earlier this month by the Times of London newspaper. British officials did not dispute its authenticity.


Bolton will harm credibility of U.S.

By Trudy Rubin
Philladelphia Inquirer
May 15, 2005

... Consider the notes from a July 23, 2002, meeting between Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of the British foreign intelligence service MI6, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, recently leaked to the Sunday Times of London. Dearlove had returned from Washington and told Blair that President Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein through military action, "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD" - weapons of mass destruction.

"The [U.S.] intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," Dearlove reported. "The case was thin."

Indeed, the Pentagon set up a Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, a rotating two-person office tasked with looking at raw CIA and other intelligence data to find links between state sponsors of terrorism, such as Iraq, and terrorist groups.

In principle, there is nothing wrong with such an idea. In practice, the group aimed to convince top administration officials there was an operational link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Such a link remains unproven. But, because of constant official repetition, a huge percentage of Americans became convinced it existed.


Staying What Course?

By Paul Krugman
New York Times
May 16, 2005

Is there any point, now that November's election is behind us, in revisiting the history of the Iraq war? Yes: any path out of the quagmire will be blocked by people who call their opponents weak on national security, and portray themselves as tough guys who will keep America safe. So it's important to understand how the tough guys made America weak.

There has been notably little U.S. coverage of the "Downing Street memo" - actually the minutes of a British prime minister's meeting on July 23, 2002, during which officials reported on talks with the Bush administration about Iraq. But the memo, which was leaked to The Times of London during the British election campaign, confirms what apologists for the war have always denied: the Bush administration cooked up a case for a war it wanted.


White House challenges UK Iraq memo

CNN.com
May 16, 2005

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Claims in a recently uncovered British memo that intelligence was "being fixed" to support the Iraq war as early as mid-2002 are "flat out wrong," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Monday.


The Memo That Won't Quit

By Dan Froomkin
Washington Post
May 17, 2005

Some two weeks after it was first leaked in London, a British memo about the run-up to war in Iraq is finally generating a serious amount of attention from the American media.

The memo , which is the report of a high-level meeting in July 2002, contains the assertion that the Bush White House was set on invading Iraq long before it was ready to say so publicly, and that it was in fact "fixing" the intelligence around its policy goals.


Why has 'Downing Street memo' story been a 'dud' in US?

By Matthew Clar
Christian Science Monitor
May 17, 2005

There may have been a point at which the US news media would have been all over a story about a British official's report that the Bush administration appeared intent on invading Iraq long before it sought Congress' approval - and that it "fixed" intelligence to fit its intention.

But May 2005 is apparently way past that point.


British memo reopens war claim
Leaked briefing says U.S. intelligence facts 'fixed' around policy

By Stephen J. Hedges and Mark Silva
Chicago Tribune
May 17, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A British official's report that the Bush administration appeared intent on invading Iraq long before it acknowledged as much or sought Congress' approval--and that it "fixed" intelligence to fit its intention--has caused a stir in Britain.

But the potentially explosive revelation has proven to be something of a dud in the United States. The White House has denied the premise of the memo, the American media have reacted slowly to it and the public generally seems indifferent to the issue or unwilling to rehash the bitter prewar debate over the reasons for the war.


U.S. Is Its Own Worst Enemy in Iraq

By Robert Scheer
Los Angeles Times
May 17, 2005

... To avenge the 9/11 attack by some of the region's Muslim fanatics, led by Osama bin Laden, President Bush lashed out at the secular regime of Saddam Hussein despite two crucial facts: There was no evidence linking Hussein with Bin Laden, and the two were sworn enemies.

As the head of British foreign intelligence reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair seven months before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bush was obsessed with overthrowing Hussein, and so "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." That's when the great WMD hoax was launched. But "the case was thin," summarized the notes taken by a British national security aide at the meeting and released earlier this month. "Saddam was not threatening his neighbors and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."


Editorial Roundup

Associated Press
May 18, 2005

Courier-Post, Cherry Hill, N.J., on President Bush and a memo about military action in Iraq:

It's been almost two-and-a-half weeks since The Sunday Times of London printed a secret memo from seven months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began.

The July 2002 memo, summarizing a report by the head of British intelligence to Prime Minister Tony Blair, said the Bush administration had decided military action was "inevitable" and "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."


A convenient furor

By Gene Lyons
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
May 18, 2005

The latest orchestrated furor over Newsweek's bungled story about prison guards at Guantanamo flushing the Koran down the toilet comes at a convenient time for the White House.

... Anyway, here's the story White House spin artists don't want you paying attention to. During the run-up to the British election, The Sunday Times of London published a previously top-secret government memorandum dated July 23, 2002. It reported on Prime Minister Tony Blair and other British officials' meetings with their American counterparts about Iraq.

Invading and occupying Iraq, in short, was a done deal months before President Bush began his sales campaign in September 2002. The war would be justified by claiming a link between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

"But the case was thin," the memo added. "Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capacity was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."


Smoking gun still sending smoke signals

By David Sarasohn
The Oregonion
May 18, 2005

Maybe there's less interest in a smoking gun when you already know who did it.

The release of a July 23, 2002, memo about a highest-level British government meeting on Iraq, discussing an already fixed U.S. determination to go to war, has barely set forth a puff of smoke into the American sky. Europeans have been struck by it, but the level of American interest is so low that it's down to about 90 Democratic congressmen.

This is too bad, because the memo, an account of a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisors, is gripping reading. Even beyond the attraction of reading other people's mail, especially other people's top-secret mail, the memo confirms a lot of what many people already thought was happening in the sprint toward war in Iraq.

The memo quotes one official, who had recently visited Washington, reporting "There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."


The Iraq lobster trap

By Palm Beach Post editors
Palm Beach Post
May 19, 2005

Think of Iraq as a "how to get there from here" problem. "There" is an Iraq where the U.S. secretary of state can make a scheduled visit to Baghdad without the flak jacket and helmet Condoleezza Rice wore during last week's surprise visit. A recently uncovered British memo shows why the Bush administration is ill-prepared to get there.

Three years ago, President Bush also treated Iraq as a "how to get there" problem. But the focus was finding an excuse to get U.S. troops onto Iraqi soil. It was a problem because Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. The memo, which described the briefing that a British diplomat just back from Washington gave Prime Minister Tony Blair, said Mr. Bush was determined to invade Iraq, would cite terrorism and the threat of weapons of mass destruction and that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.'' That was eight months before the invasion and before the administration brought its case before the United Nations. The decision had been made.


British Memo on U.S. Plans for Iraq War Fuels Critics

By Douglas Jehl
New York Times
May 20, 2005

WASHINGTON, May 19 - More than two weeks after its publication in London, a previously secret British government memorandum that reported in July 2002 that President Bush had decided to "remove Saddam, through military action" is still creating a stir among administration critics. They are portraying it as evidence that Mr. Bush was intent on war with Iraq earlier than the White House has acknowledged.


British memo casts a harsh light
The frame of reference - clearly coming from the Bush administration - was elections.

By Atlanta Journal-Constitution editors
Atlenta Journal-Constitution
May 20, 2005

In the summer and fall of 2002, President Bush repeatedly and solemnly pledged to the American people that he hoped war against Iraq would never be necessary.

He hoped that Saddam Hussein would allow U.N. inspectors to return to Iraq, the president told us, so war could be avoided. He hoped further that those inspections would prove that Saddam had indeed given up his weapons of mass destruction, so we would not have to send American boys and girls off to fight and die.

It was all a charade. Saddam allowed the inspectors to return; they found no sign of WMD or WMD programs - yet war came anyway.

Early this month, a top-secret British memo was published in a London newspaper. The document's legitimacy has not been questioned. It recounts a top-secret discussion in July 2002 among British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his closest aides.

The memo reveals in frank, clear language what the highest-ranking British leaders were being told at the time by their counterparts in Washington.

The American people were being told that war would be avoided at all costs, that it would come only if Saddam gave us no choice. British leaders were being told that the decision had already been made, that "Bush had made up his mind to take military action."


Iraq-war inquiry still needed

By Register Edirtorial Board
Des Moines Register
May 20, 2005

Is it the "smoking gun" that proves President Bush misled the nation into war?

Not quite. But it should be enough for Congress finally to see its duty and launch a formal, independent inquiry.

What's come to be called the Downing Street Memo seems to confirm what opponents of the Iraq invasion suspected all along: that the president decided early on to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, then tailored the intelligence to fit the preconceived course of action.


Who's misleading whom?

By Toledo Blade editors
Toledo Blade
May 21, 2005

... The justification was that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction which he intended to use and that Iraq was just another front in the war on terrorism. We now know that those claims were false, and there is strong evidence that the administration knew it at the time.

The memo to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, leaked during the recent UK election campaign, shows conclusively that the Bush Administration had decided, as early as the summer of 2002, to invade Iraq but "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.


The Secret Way to War

By Mark Danner
New York Review of Books
May 21, 2005 (June 9 issue)

... Seen from today's perspective this short paragraph is a strikingly clear template for the future, establishing these points:

1. By mid-July 2002, eight months before the war began, President Bush had decided to invade and occupy Iraq.
2. Bush had decided to "justify" the war "by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD."
3. Already "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
4. Many at the top of the administration did not want to seek approval from the United Nations (going "the UN route").
5. Few in Washington seemed much interested in the aftermath of the war.


Week 4

Paper underplayed Iraq memo

By C.B. Hanif, Palm Beach Post ombudsman
Palm Beach Post
May 22, 2005

... "The Post should be commended," wrote Jody Young of Wellington, "for its editorial ('White House unreality meets the Iraq reality,' May 7) regarding subterfuge and concealment of the truth by the Bush administration. But the editorial board could have hit one over the fence had it referenced the recently uncovered 2002 memos concerning the planning for the Iraq War as reported by the Times of London, Knight-Ridder, Salon, numerous respected weblogs and others." (The paper did reference it in an editorial that ran Thursday.)


Prewar Findings Worried Analysts

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post
May 22, 2005

... The question of prewar intelligence has been thrust back into the public eye with the disclosure of a secret British memo showing that, eight months before the March 2003 start of the war, a senior British intelligence official reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair that U.S. intelligence was being shaped to support a policy of invading Iraq.


Dems probe Blair on Iraq war plan

UPI
May 23, 2005

... Senior Democrats in Congress are considering sending a delegation to London to investigate Britain's role in the preparations for the war, which was launched in March 2003. They have seized on a leaked Downing Street memo, first published three weeks ago by The Sunday Times, as evidence American lawmakers were misled about Bush's intentions in Iraq.


Conyers' congressional panel says media drifting toward tabloid coverage

AP
May 24, 2005

... [John Conyers ] recently led 88 members in Congress in writing President Bush to demand information about reports in the British media that the United States and Great Britain secretly agreed to invade Iraq in the summer of 2002.

The Downing Street memo, as the report has been called, was cited by panelists as an example of important news that has failed to receive adequate attention from U.S. news outlets.

Conyers released an analysis by Congressional Research Service that found the Downing Street memo received no coverage from evening news shows on major cable TV outlets in the days after its publishing in Great Britain. But stories on runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks and the Michael Jackson trial were covered extensively.


Conyers' congressional panel says media drifting toward tabloid coverage

By Sandy Shanks
Hibbing Daily Tribune
May 24, 2005

On May 1, the Sunday Times of London printed a secret memo that is tearing Britain apart, but is getting little play here. It is the minutes of a meeting on Iraq with Tony Blair. Matthew Rycroft, a Downing Street foreign policy aide, wrote the memo. Confirmed as legitimate, the memo is dated July 23, 2002. It stated, "Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.


U.K. memo weakens credibility

By Editorial Staff
Denver Post
May 24, 2005

Critics of the war in Iraq have been stewing for weeks about a 2002 British government memo that was leaked during Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent re-election campaign. The classified memo, written by Blair aide Matthew Rycroft, indicated that President Bush decided to overthrow Saddam Hussein by summer 2002, months before he publicly gave reasons for invading Iraq. The memo also said Bush was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy. "The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," it read. But the case against Hussein was thin, the memo said; Iraq was less of a threat than Iran or North Korea. (The memo recorded a meeting of Blair foreign-policy advisors.)


That Downing Street aside

Waco Tribune-Herald
May 24, 2005

... As serious as the Newsweek matter is, one wonders why the attention to it wasn't matched by a story of considerably greater sweep.

That would be the recently revealed 2002 "Downing Street memo" in which a British official asserts that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of invading Iraq and that the case about banned weapons "was thin."

At this point, though, while Brits have screamed, Americans, and the U.S. media, have yawned.


The facts fall on hard times

By Harlan Ullman
Washington Times
May 25, 2005

... Regarding (a), the so-called Downing Street Memo, purposely leaked and then published in London's Sunday Times just prior to this month's British general elections, unequivocally proved that the British government got the facts right about Iraq and American intentions to deal militarily with Saddam Hussein nine months before war was launched in March 2003. The memo, classified "secret and strictly personal -- UK eyes only," summarized the July 23, 2002, meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his "war cabinet." The memo revealed a stiff warning to Mr. Blair by his intelligence chief that "military action [by Washington] was now seen as inevitable" and would be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD." "But" the memo acidly noted, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," not the other way round, and there "was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath" and consequences of going to war in Iraq.


The flaming gun

By John Downs
Rutland Herald
May 25, 2005

... According to McGovern, Dearlove reported at that July meeting that President Bush had decided to remove Saddam Hussein by launching a war that was to be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction." What abut the intelligence? Dearlove added matter-of-factly, "The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."


Back to the basic question on Iraq

By Editorial Staff
National Catholic Reporter
May 27, 2005

... The very democracy we so nobly talk of spreading around the world, however, demands that the questions be asked. The war, after all, is being fought in our name and with our money. At the same time, the evidence keeps mounting that the entire enterprise was a fabrication of falsehoods from the start.

The latest piece is the report of a British official, leaked just before parliamentary elections May 5, that British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as early as April 2002, had agreed with President George Bush during a meeting at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, that he would support military action to bring about regime change in Iraq.

While knowledge of the document, reported on May 1 in The Sunday Times of London, caused a stir in England, the lack of response in this country led one U.S. paper to use a headline that declared "'Downing St. Memo' fizzling in U.S."


Fluff stories crowd out news the nation needs

By Donald P. Russo
Allentown Morning Call
May 28, 2005

... Underreported story three: We also have "The Downing Street memo," which nearly caused Tony Blair to lose his government. In this memorandum, British foreign-policy aide Matthew Rycroft summarized a July 23, 2002, meeting between Blair and his top security advisers. Rycroft also analyzed a U.S. visit by Richard Dearlove, who then led Britain's intelligence service. The Dearlove visit occurred while President Bush was still promising Americans that no decision had been made to launch a war against Iraq. The memo said that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed" by the Bush administration to support its previous determination to invade Iraq.


Week 5

And now, a message to our government

By Byron Williams
Oakland Tribune
May 29, 2005

... I thought it best that I quote the following passage in full: (Please note that Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6 - CIA equivalent - is the one referred to as C.)

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with going the U.N. route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regimes record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath of military action.


The view of America from afar

By Nick Clooney
Cincinati Post
May 30, 2005

... While we were there, major news headlines were made and led TV news stories prepared on the "Downing Street Memo." That was the document in which British intelligence asserted in the summer of 2002 that they went to Washington to discuss the evidence of Iraq's complicity in terrorism. They soon discovered that evidence was not required. "The intelligence and the facts," said the memo, "were being fixed around the policy," which was to invade Iraq, even though there was almost no evidence of terrorism and evidence of weapons of mass destruction "was thin."


Memorial Day/Praise bravery, seek forgiveness

By Editorial Staff
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 30, 2005

... President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse.

The "smoking gun," as some call it, surfaced on May 1 in the London Times. It is a highly classified document containing the minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting at 10 Downing Street in which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair on talks he'd just held in Washington. His mission was to determine the Bush administration's intentions toward Iraq.


Downing Street Memo Mostly Ignored in U.S.

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos
FOX News
May 30, 2005

WASHINGTON - A British government memo that critics say proves the Bush administration manipulated evidence about weapons of mass destruction in order to carry out a plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein (search ) has received little attention in the mainstream media, frustrating opponents of the Iraq war.

The "Downing Street Memo" - first published by The Sunday Times of London on May 1 - summarizes a high-level meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair (search ) and his senior national security team on July 23, 2002, months before the March 2003 coalition invasion of Iraq.

The memo suggests that British intelligence analysts were concerned that the Bush administration was marching to war on wobbly evidence that Saddam posed a serious threat to the world.

Click here to read the memo.

In the memo, written by top Blair aide Matthew Rycroft (search ), Foreign Secretary Jack Straw indicated in the meeting that it "seemed clear" Bush had already decided to take military action.

Catapulting the propaganda


By Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
May 30, 2005

"Catapulting the propaganda" would explain his performance at the press opportunity that same day at which he appeared surrounded by babies born from frozen embryos. He used the phrase "culture of life" at least 27 dozen times (I think I exaggerate, but maybe not). "The use of federal dollars to destroy life is something I simply do not support," he said to the press the following day.

Meanwhile, back in Baghdad, federal dollars are being used to destroy life at pretty good clip because Bush decided to wage an entirely elective war against a country that presented little or no threat to us. And according to the Downing Street memo, he damn well knew it, too.


More Are Saying 'Oh, Yes' to ONO -- But Not Always in English

By Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, NPR Ombudsman
National Public Radio
May 31, 2005

In fact, many listeners wrote over the past week to point out that The Guardian (and not NPR) had reported fully on the Downing Street memo that stated that the British government indeed spun intelligence reports to garner support for U.S. policy in Iraq.

NPR News has not reported this story in any depth (trust me -- the story is huge in the United Kingdom), although the redoubtable Dan Schorr finally referred to the memo on Weekend Edition Sunday (see story, below).


It's now time for Iraqi security forces to show us what they're made of

By Editorial staff
Ashville Citizen-Times
June 1, 2005

Americans remain badly split over whether the war was ever justified to start with. The so-called Downing Street memo leaked to the Times of London in May adds fuel to the fire for war opponents.

That memo, written by a British foreign policy aide, details July 2002 conversations between senior British and U.S. government officials about preparations for military action in Iraq.


The Answer is Fear

By Robert Parry
Baltimore Chronicle
June 2, 2005

Poorly sourced allegations about Iraq's supposed nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs were trumpeted on Page One of the New York Times and the Washington Post . Skeptical stories were buried deep inside.

This journalistic fear has lessened somewhat since the discovery by Bush's own investigators that the US claims about Iraq's WMD were "dead wrong," but the residual intimidation remains. News executives still realize it's safer for their careers to downplay stories that cast a harsh light on Bush's rationale for invading Iraq.

So, in May 2005, when the British press disclosed a secret government memo from July 2002 stating that everyone knew the Iraq WMD evidence was "thin" but that Bush had decided to go to war anyway--months earlier than the official story--these revelations were treated as old news in the US press.

The Washington Post 's national security writer Walter Pincus used the so-called Downing Street Memo as a way to reexamine the evidence that some US intelligence analysts were warning the Bush administration about the weak WMD case in 2002. But the Post's editors followed their long-set pattern and stuck the article on Page A26. [ Washington Post , May 22, 2005]


Secret no more: Downing Street memo

(reprint of memo)
Baltimore Chronicle
June 3, 2005

SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL -- UK EYES ONLY

DAVID MANNING

From: Matthew Rycroft

Date: 23 July 2002 ...


Kerry Touts Bush Impeachment Memo

By NEWSMAX
June 3, 2005

Failed presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that he intends to confront Congress with a document touted by critics of President Bush as evidence that he committed impeachable crimes by falsifying evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"When I go back [to Washington] on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," Kerry said, referring to the Downing Street Memo in an interview with Massachusetts' Standard Times newspaper.

"I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home," the top Democrat added.


Bush lies should get him tossed out

By Dave Zweifel
Baltimore Chronicle
June 3, 2005

You may not have heard about the so-called "Downing Street memo" because the U.S. media haven't done much coverage of it.

The wire services with which The Capital Times contracts - the Washington Post/Los Angeles Times, Scripps Howard and the Associated Press - have moved few stories about the memo, which surfaced in the Sunday Times of London back on May 1. Consequently, we haven't had much about it either.


Bush lies should get him tossed out

By Guy D. Boero
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
June 4, 2005

While the American body count rises and the Bush administration refuses to even discuss a withdrawal time, the Downing Street memo raises the question that our president may have lied to us about weapons of mass destruction so he could sell this war to the American people.

Will this, along with all the other known miscalculations and blunders in Iraq, finally get the attention of the mainstream media?


What's Up With the Downing Street Memo?

By Diana Sevanian
Santa Clara Signal
June 4, 2005

If I had lost a loved one fighting in Iraq or currently had a soldier over there, I would be enraged over the Downing Street Memo. Even without that link, I am fuming about this formerly "extremely sensitive" and now public memorandum.


Bush lies should get him tossed out

By Guy D. Boero
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
June 4, 2005

While the American body count rises and the Bush administration refuses to even discuss a withdrawal time, the Downing Street memo raises the question that our president may have lied to us about weapons of mass destruction so he could sell this war to the American people.

Will this, along with all the other known miscalculations and blunders in Iraq, finally get the attention of the mainstream media?


Week 6

Toward Greater Transparency

By Byron Calme
New York Times
June 5, 2005

My first commentary, posted there two weeks ago, questioned the Washington bureau's slowness in pursuing the significance of the so-called Downing Street memo on planning for the Iraq war. (My Web journal can be found at nytimes.com/byroncalame)


Guest: Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican Party

Interview by Tim Russert
Meet the Press
June 5, 2005

MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the now-famous Downing Street memo. This was a memo, July 23, 2002, from the head of British intelligence to Prime Minister Blair; in effect, notes taken from a briefing that was given to Prime Minister Blair after the head of British intelligence came back from a trip to Washington. It says this ...

MR. MEHLMAN: Tim, that report has been discredited by everyone else who's looked at it since then ...

MR. RUSSERT: I don't believe that the authenticity of this report has been discredited.

MR. MEHLMAN: I believe that the findings of the report, the fact that the intelligence was somehow fixed have been totally discredited by everyone who's looked at it ...


Russert Grills Mehlman on Impeach Memo

NEWSMAX
June 5, 2005

"Meet the Press" host Tim Russert became the first network newsman on Sunday to cover a British memo touted by crackpot Democrats as smoking-gun evidence that President Bush committed impeachable crimes.


"Downing Street memo" on Iraq met mostly with silence

By Josh Richman
San Mateo County Times
June 6, 2005

It's been more than a month since The Times of London published a secret British government memo from mid-2002 describing the Bush administration's resolve to invade Iraq whether it posed a threat or not.

It's been about a month since 89 House Democrats - including six from the Bay Area - asked the president to explain himself in light of this memo.

And it's been almost three weeks since the White House press secretary said that isn't going to happen.

So now what?


"Downing Street memo" on Iraq met mostly with silence

By James S. Robbins
National Review
June 6, 2005

Dearlove's comments include the intriguing passage noted above, "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." To the president's critics, the meaning is clear - the WMD intelligence was being faked to support the rationale for intervention.z

This passage needs some clarification. Maybe Rycroft or Dearlove could elaborate; by "fixed around" did they mean that intelligence was being falsified or that intelligence and information were being gathered to support the policy? There is nothing wrong with the latter - it is the purpose of the intelligence community to provide the information decision-makers need, and the marshal their resources accordingly.


Assembling reality

By Beau Elliot
Daily Iowan
June 7, 2005

Then there was the British government memo that surfaced last week, the Downing Street Minutes, which basically said the U.S. "manipulated evidence about weapons of mass destruction in order to carry out a plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein ..."

That last bit was from Fox News.

Damned liberal media at work again.


Elaborate fraud

By Editorial Staff
North Jersey Record
June 7, 2005

ALTHOUGH it shook Britain on the eve of Prime Minister Tony Blair's reelection last month, the "Downing Street memo" hasn't received much attention in this country.
It should.


The Downing Street memo

Salon
June 7, 2005

"The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy, ... and there was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

Editor's note: This memo was originally reported in the Times of London on May 1.


The Downing Street memo

By Richard W. Stevenson
Ne4w Your Times
June 7, 2005

It will be the first meeting between them since the disclosure last month of a memo written by a foreign policy aide to Mr. Blair in 2002 that reported, based on a visit to Washington by a top British intelligence official, that the White House was fixing its "intelligence and facts" about the threat from Saddam Hussein "around the policy" of removing him from power through military action.


The Downing Street memo

By Jefferson Morley
Washington Post
June 7, 2005

More than a month after its publication, the so-called Downing Street Memo remains among the top 10 most viewed articles on The Times of London site.

It's not hard to see why this remarkable document, published in The Times on May 1 (and reported in this column on May 3), continues to attract reader interest around the world, especially with British Prime Minister Tony Blair visiting Washington Tuesday.


The Blair Bush Project

By Dan Froomkin
Washington Post
June 7, 2005

Richard W. Stevenson writes in the New York Times: "The meeting between Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair will cover a broad array of topics, including Iraq. The leaders are expected to reiterate their commitment to bring stability to Iraq in the face of pressures in both of their countries to begin bringing troops home, officials said.

"It will be the first meeting between them since the disclosure last month of a memo written by a foreign policy aide to Mr. Blair in 2002 that reported, based on a visit to Washington by a top British intelligence official, that the White House was fixing its 'intelligence and facts' about the threat from Saddam Hussein 'around the policy' of removing him from power through military action."


War is hot topic at listening session

By Mike DuPre'
Washington PostJanesville Gazette
June 7, 2005

CLINTON-The Iraq War is a mess that's only getting messier, Sen. Russ Feingold said before and during a listening session Monday.

... One of the people at the listening session said he was troubled that the Bush administration seems bent on following the path of "preventive war." He referred to the so-called "Downing Street memo," minutes of a meeting of British officials about Iraq eight months before the war.


Blair, Bush Say They Are Committed to Aiding Africa

Bloomberg
June 7, 2005

In response to a question, both men dismissed the idea that the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 showed that intelligence and facts were focused on elements that supported the idea of removing Saddam Hussein through military action.

"The facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all," Blair said. "All the way through that period of time, we were trying to look for a way of managing to resolve this without conflict."

Bush said neither country wanted to use its military to resolve their conflict with Hussein. The U.S. contended that Hussein's government was stockpiling chemical and biological weapons and sought nuclear arms. No evidence of Iraq chemical weapons has been found since the March 2003 invasion.


Bush, Blair say progress on African debt relief

By Steve Holland and Mike Peacock
Reutrers
June 7, 2005

The two leaders, close allies on the Iraq war, were united in rejecting the so-called Downing Street memo of July 2002 in which a British intelligence official said "intelligence and facts" were being fixed by Washington and London to make the case for war in Iraq, eight months before the U.S.-led invasion.

"No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all," said Blair, who noted the memo was written before the United States and Britain went to the United Nations seeking support for action against Saddam Hussein.

Both leaders have suffered politically at home for the decision to go to war against Iraq without broader international support and with the absence of weapons of mass destruction.


Bush, Blair deny intelligence on Iraq "fixed" to justify invasion

Associated Press
June 7, 2005

WHITE HOUSE President Bush and Britain's Tony Blair are denying a controversial memo's assertion that pre-war intelligence on Iraq was "fixed" to justify invasion.

At a joint White House news conference, the president declared, "There's nothing farther from the truth."


Bush: Iraq war plans memo wrong

CNN.com
June 7, 2005

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President George W. Bush said Tuesday that there was "nothing farther from the truth" than allegations in a British government memorandum that his administration had decided to go to war in Iraq months before he took his case to the American people.


Blair Interviewe

PBS
June 7, 2005

GWEN IFILL: I have to ask you about something which is finally, belatedly, getting some attention here, and got a great deal of attention in Britain and that's the so-called "Downing Street Memo," which surfaced as a memo that was very critical of the Iraq War.

In fact, I'll read part of it, where it says that Bush had made up his mind to take military action even if the timing was not yet decided but the case was thin, that is, the case for war in Iraq, which of course you were one of the president's staunchest supporters on this. What do you make of that memo? Did you know about it?

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Basically, the case that people are making, that somehow we'd taken the decision to invade, you know, irrespective of what Iraq did, it's simply not correct. The whole reason we went to the United Nations back in, originally in September 2002, then with the resolution in November 2002, was precisely in order to see if there was a way of giving Iraq a last chance to come into compliance with the United Nations resolutions and avoid conflict. But they didn't.

And so when people -- you know, they take bits out here of this memo or that memo, or something someone's supposed to have said at the time, and what people ignore is we went through a very open, obvious process through the United Nations and the issue was how did you -- because the view I took, as the president did, was we had to enforce United Nations resolutions against countries that were developing and proliferating WMD, that after September the 11 the world had changed, we had to take a definitive stance.


Leaders deny Bush manipulated Iraq intelligence

Knight-Ridder
June 7, 2005

WASHINGTON -(KRT) - President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday forcefully denied that Bush manipulated intelligence to build support for war with Iraq, as a controversial British government memo suggests.

Standing side by side in the White House, the two leaders disputed the pre-war memo, which has raised questions about whether Bush exaggerated the threat from Iraq in his zeal to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Bush and Blair were put on the defensive about the so-called Downing Street memo at a news conference intended to highlight their plans for increased aid to Africa.


Leaders deny Bush manipulated Iraq intelligence

Knight-Ridder
June 7, 2005

I have a three-word response to the media frenzy that followed revelation of the long-secret identity of Deep Throat: Downing Street Memo.

Here's what John Dean, a key Watergate figure, wrote about Dubya's case for the Iraq war in a June 2003 column for www.findlaw.com : "To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. . . . Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be a 'high crime' under the Constitution's impeachment clause."

That's exactly what the Downing Street Memo, first reported a month ago by The Times of London, proves.


Blair, Bush deny manipulating prewar intelligence on Iraq

By David Jackson
Dallas Morning News
June 7, 2005

WASHINGTON -(KRT) - President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday disputed a 2002 British government memo that said the Bush team "fixed" weapons intelligence around a preset decision to invade Iraq.

"We worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully," Bush said after a White House meeting with his British counterpart.

Blair, who won re-election after a brutal campaign centered on his support of the Iraq war, said: "The facts were not being fixed, in any shape or form at all."


Bush and Blair Deny 'Fixed' Iraq reports

By Elisabeth Bumiller
New York Times
June 8, 2005

WASHINGTON, June 7 - President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain presented a united front on Tuesday against a recently disclosed British government memorandum that said in July 2002 that American intelligence was being "fixed" around the policy of removing Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

"There's nothing farther from the truth," Mr. Bush said in his first public comments about the so-called Downing Street memo, which has created anger among the administration's critics who see it as evidence that the president was intent to go to war with Iraq earlier than the White House has said.


Blair, Bush defend going to war

By Ann McFeatters
Pittsburg Post-Gazette
June 8, 2005

WASHINGTON -- President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday vehemently denied the implication of the so-called "Downing Street memo" that they had decided in 2002 to go to war against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein --well before the issue was raised in the United Nations or Congress.

It was the first time that both men had addressed the memo. They were asked about it as they stood side by side at a late-afternoon news conference in the White House East Room.


Bush, Blair discuss aid for Africa, deny data on Iraq was 'fixed'

By Mark Silva
Chicago Tribune
June 8, 2005

... Their appearance together was the first since a recent revelation of the minutes of a high-level British government meeting in July 2002 - about eight months before the invasion of Iraq - in which a British official returning from talks in Washington reported that military action "was now seen as inevitable," that Bush "wanted to remove Saddam (Hussein) through military action," and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

The so-called Downing Street Memo caused political tremors on the eve of Blair's re-election in May, but has had relatively little impact on the Bush administration, which flatly denies the contention that it doctored prewar intelligence about Iraq to support the March 2003 invasion.


U.S., UK pledge Africa aid

By Bill Sammon
Washington Times
June 8, 2005

... The president accused Mr. Blair's political opponents of releasing the July 2002 Downing Street memo last month in a failed attempt to derail the prime minister's re-election bid.

"They dropped it out in the middle of his race," Mr. Bush said in an East Room press conference with Mr. Blair. "And somebody said, 'Well, we had made up our mind to go and use military force to deal with Saddam.' Nothing farther from the truth."

The memo, written by a foreign policy aide to Mr. Blair, said "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of war with Iraq.

"No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all," Mr. Blair said.


Bush, Blair Say Progress on African Debt Relief

Reuters
June 8, 2005

... The two leaders, close allies on the Iraq war, were united in rejecting the so-called Downing Street memo of July 2002 in which a British intelligence official said "intelligence and facts" were being fixed by Washington and London to make the case for war in Iraq, eight months before the U.S.-led invasion.


Bush, Blair try to discredit the Downing Street Memo

By Julie Mason
Houston Chronicle
June 8, 2005

WASHINGTON - President Bush denied on Tuesday the substance of a 2002 memo in which a top British intelligence official claimed the administration manipulated facts and intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.

In a brief appearance with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the White House, Bush said "there's nothing farther from the truth."


Bush, Blair Say They Are Close to an Accord on African Debt

Bloomberg
June 8, 2005

... At their joint news conference, the two leaders said they also discussed progress toward making the Iraqi government self- sustaining and fostering a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. They didn't give details.

For the first time, Bush addressed a 2002 memo from a British intelligence official to Blair that was made public during the prime minister's re-election campaign in early May. The so-called Downing Street memo, reported by the Sunday Times of London, said the Bush administration was committed to toppling Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein by military action seven months before the March 2003 invasion and intelligence was being steered toward that goal.

"There's nothing farther from the truth," Bush said in response to a question. "My conversation with the prime minister was, how could we do this peacefully."

The U.K. leader said, "The facts were not being fixed in any shape or form."


Bolton's latest problem

By Editorial Staff
Palm Beach Post
June 8, 2005

Most American news organizations have paid little attention to the "Downing Street Memo," and John Bolton hopes that inattention continues. More coverage would make it even less likely that he will be the next American ambassador to the United Nations.

... It was already known that in 2002, Mr. Bolton tried to manufacture evidence that Cuba had a biological weapons program. Now, it seems that Mr. Bolton was happy to head off a mission that might have upset the White House's plans for war. The "Downing Street Memo" - named for the British prime minister's residence - reveals how duplicitously President Bush acted before invading Iraq. The smear of Mr. Bustani shows how unqualified John Bolton is for the U.N.


Bush joins Blair on Africa aid

By Ken Herman
Palm Beach Post
June 8, 2005

During questions from reporters, Bush also for the first time addressed the so-called Downing Street Memo, sent to Blair and top British defense policy advisers, in July 2002. Critics say the memo shows the U.S. and U.K. long had been committed to military action against Iraq.

"Look, both of us didn't want to use our military," Bush said. "Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's a last option."

Bush denied any pre-arranged deal to attack Iraq.


Blair Gains Little in U.S. Visit

By Ken Herman
Los Angeles Times
June 8, 2005

And Bush flatly rejected the allegations in the so-called Downing Street memo, written in July 2002 by a Blair foreign policy aide. The document alleged that the White House was fixing its intelligence and facts about the threat posed by then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to justify an invasion to oust him.

"There's nothing farther from the truth," Bush said during a brief news conference with Blair in the East Room of the White House. The president suggested that the memo, first reported in the Sunday Times of London and the topic of much discussion on the Internet, had been dropped into the middle of Britain's recent parliamentary elections in an effort to damage Blair and his Labor Party.


'02 memo on Iraq is rebutted

By Ron Hutcheson
Phillapelphia Inquirer
June 8, 2005

WASHINGTON -President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday forcefully denied that Bush manipulated intelligence to build support for war with Iraq, as a British government memo suggests.

Standing side by side in the White House, the leaders disputed the prewar memo, which has raised questions about whether Bush exaggerated the threat from Iraq before ousting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Bush and Blair were put on the defensive about the so-called Downing Street memo at a news conference intended to highlight their plans for increased aid to Africa.

Bush's critics have seized on the memo, written by one of Blair's top aides in July 2002 and made public last month, as evidence that Bush misled the world on the need for war. The document, which summarizes a visit to Washington by the head of British intelligence and other officials, says "intelligence and facts were being fixed" by the White House to support Bush's war plans.


PRESS HAS LOST ITS 'DEEP THROAT' WAYS

By Carol Towarnicky
Phillapelphia Daily News
June 8, 2005

... Among [the Nixon tapes] was a conversation that came to be known as the "smoking gun." Once out, even Nixon realized he had to resign. What was in it? A conversation with aides in which Nixon agreed to a plan to ask the FBI to go easy on the investigation.

That's it. No one died. Billions of dollars weren't lost. America's reputation in the world wasn't irreparably damaged.

Compare that to another "smoking gun" revealed only weeks ago: A memo written by a British official describing meetings with the Bush administration in July 2002. In the "Downing Street Memo," the official reports that, contrary to what the president was telling the world, Congress and the American people, he had already decided to invade Iraq.

"... The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," the memo said.

That's right: Evidence in black and white showing that the president had taken the nation to war under false pretenses.

Yet the Downing Street Memo has garnered not Nixon-era bipartisan outrage, but a collective shrug - not only from the now-flaccid press but from beaten-down progressives: Of course Bush lied - we knew that.


Excerpts of the Downing Street memo

Boston Globe
June 8, 2005

Matthew Rycroft, a top foreign policy aide to Prime Minister Tony Blair, wrote the memo, which is dated July 23, 2002, based on notes he took during a meeting of Blair and his advisers. The memo was first disclosed by The Sunday Times on May 1: ...


Seldom-Discussed Elephant Moves Into Public's View

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post
June 8, 2005

Yesterday's East Room meeting of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair was worth a cool $1,000 to Steve Holland, Reuters' chief White House correspondent, if he cares to collect it.

Earlier in the day, Democrats.com, a group of left-wing activists, sent out an e-mail offering a "reward" to anyone who could get an answer from Bush about whether a recently leaked British government memo from 2002 was correct in saying the Bush administration had "fixed" the intelligence about Iraq's weapons to justify war.

The issue caused quite a fuss in Britain when the Times of London published the memo last month on the eve of Blair's reelection. Here at home, the memo provoked outrage from liberals but did not become a major news event -- until yesterday, when Holland, the third of four questioners, put it on the agenda.


Bush, Blair Agree on Aid For African Famine Relief

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post
June 8, 2005

In a news conference that highlighted their complex alliance, Blair defended Bush over the "Downing Street memo," in which a top British official alleged in 2002 that the United States was manipulating intelligence to justify a military invasion of Iraq. The memo surfaced in the British media last month. "The facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all," Blair said.

This was neither the first time Blair has rushed to Bush's defense on Iraq nor the only time the president did not reciprocate by providing the prime minister complete cover back home.


Bush, Blair united on G8 mission to ease debts of African countries

By Richard Benedetto
USA Today
June 8, 2005

... Also at the news conference, Bush and Blair were asked about the "Downing Street memo," reported on May 1 by The Sunday Times of London. The Sunday Times story said the memo indicates that the head of Britain's MI6 intelligence service told Blair that in 2002 the Bush administration was choosing evidence to support its case for going to war with Iraq. The leaders denied that any facts were skewed to make the case.


'Downing Street memo' gets fresh attention

By Mark Memmott
USA Today
June 8, 2005

... At a late afternoon news conference, Reuters correspondent Steve Holland asked Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair about a memo that's been widely written about and discussed in Europe but less so in the USA.

It was the most attention paid by the media in the USA so far to the "Downing Street memo," first reported on May 1 by The Sunday Times of London. The memo is said by some of the president's sharpest critics, such as Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, to be strong evidence that Bush decided to go to war and then looked for evidence to support his decision.


Bush, Blair united on G8 mission to ease debts of African countries

By Farah Stockman
Marin Independent Journal
June 8, 2005

... Yesterday, both leaders expressed support for their common project in Iraq and dismissed the significance of a leaked 2002 memo from a top British intelligence official that stated that the United States had "fixed" intelligence to justify a decision to invade Iraq. The memo said that the White House was determined to go to war on the basis of weapons of mass destruction, despite the fact that the case was "thin."


Bush, Blair deny misuse of evidence prior to war

By Bill Straub
Scripps Howard News Service
June 8, 2005

WASHINGTON -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined President Bush on Tuesday in rejecting claims the U.S. government manipulated intelligence reports as a means of forcing a military showdown with Iraq.

Appearing with Bush at a press conference in the East Room of the White House, Blair maintained that "the facts were not being fixed in any way, shape or form" and that the two governments tried to get Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein to comply with U.N. edicts before they resorted to war.

"We were trying to look for a way to manage this without conflict," Blair said. "As it happens, we were unable to do so."

Bush agreed, insisting that his conversations with Blair in the run-up to war were about "how can we do this peacefully." But Saddam, in custody and facing the prospect of a trial later this summer, "ignored the world."


MEMORANDUM OF INTENT
The Bush administration should explain why Americans should not be disturbed by a secret British memo on the runup to the Iraq War

By Edirtorial Staff
Houston Chroinicle
June 9, 2005

... Like Blair, Bush reasonably points out that Saddam would never have changed his spots and, left to his own devices, would have endangered his neighbors and U.S. interests. But that argument, absent WMD and terrorist ties, was not what moved Congress to authorize military action.

In the interest of the nation and the administration, the source and content of the Downing Street Memo need to be fully explained.


Blair deserves better

By Editoial Staff
Cincinatti Post
June 9, 2005

... When Bush was asked about the so-called Downing Street memo - a 2002 document indicating that the administration was set on war with Iraq and would "fix" the intelligence to get there - Blair loyally stepped in to take that bullet, even though the memo concerned U.S. intentions.


Young: 'So, there' vs. 'So what?'

By John Young
Waco Tribune
June 9, 2005

... A U.S. undersecretary of state flew to Europe in 2002 to prevent a global arms control agency from sending inspectors to Iraq to get to the bottom of WMD claims. Wow.

Double wow: The purpose of the envoy's trip, the Associated Press reported almost parenthetically, was that the inspectors "might defuse the crisis over Iraqi weapons and end a U.S. rationale for war."

And a triple wow: That undersecretary of state is now up for confirmation as United Nations ambassador, John Bolton. That's the story, right on Page 3.

I haven't scanned all of the nation's major metros, but here's my assumption: The story is placed roughly in the recesses where Americans, if they looked hard, might have read about the "Downing Street Memo," the 2002 British document asserting that U.S. intelligence on Iraq would be "fixed" to fit a predetermined war plan.


Was intelligence 'fixed'?

By Editoial Staff
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
June 9, 2005

Among the anti-war, anti-Bush crowd, at least, a lot of agitation is being conducted on behalf of what's being called the Downing Street memo, a document that was first brought to light by the Sunday Times of London on May 1, just days before an election in Britain. But the memo raises questions for everyone on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, which deserve more than the brushoff they have received.


Shadow of Doubts: Country looking for credibility in war on terror

By Editoial Staff
Dallas Morning News
June 9, 2005

... Messrs. Bush and Blair flatly denied the memo's assertions Tuesday. While the document is no "smoking gun," it does raise concern about the administration's truthfulness with the people whose sons and daughters and tax dollars are fighting this protracted war.

Mr. Bush must exercise forceful but credible leadership to rally an increasingly and understandably questioning public to this vital cause.


Free expression at heart of Churchill case

By Mike Littwin
Denver Rocky Mountain News
June 9, 2005

... If you want some slightly warmed-over outrage, you should check out the Bush-Blair news conference, in which the president finally addressed the all-but-ignored-by-the-media Downing Street memo.

The memo dates from a 2002 meeting, eight months before the start of the Iraq war, in which a British official says the Bush administration "fixed" intelligence to help make the case for removing Saddam


Bush & Blair/Iraq denials raise questions

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
June 9, 2005

On the subject of when, why and how the United States decided to attack Iraq, American citizens' recent seeming lack of interest has been a puzzle to many in the rest of the world. As the Bush administration's stated reasons for war shifted, ebbed and flowed, many simply went with the flow, finding each succeeding reason -- well, reason enough. Some became more and more skeptical, even cynical; others just didn't know what to believe. But whatever their reasons, Americans have shown much less interest than the British in a bombshell of a memo leaked last month in London.

A careful reading of the two men's words, however, shows that they denied much less than one might think; it also brings up pertinent questions that the president should be pressed to answer.

... Bush and Blair were asked of this part, "Is this an accurate reflection of what happened?" Blair, saying he could respond very easily said, "No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all," and went on to say that military action had to be taken because Saddam didn't comply with international law. Bush said, among other comments, "There's nothing farther from the truth," implying that C was wrong, without going into detail.

Neither addressed the intelligence and whether it was being concocted to provide a justification for removing Saddam.


In shying away from 2002 Downing Street Memo, a timid press shirks its duty

By Editoial Staff
Asheville Citizen-Times
June 10, 2005

The coverage, or lack of coverage, of a story regarding notes from a meeting of British intelligence officials dubbed the "Downing Street Memo'' is quite a mystery.

If fact, coverage has been curiously meager, although the contents of the memo were reported in early May by the Sunday Times of London. The intervening weeks have seen the American media focus on runaway brides (Jennifer Wilbanks), runaway mouths (Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean) and a runaway Congress dominated by filibuster fights and stem cell debates.


Bush and 'the memo'

By Editoial Staff
San Francisco Chronicle
June 10, 2005

PRESIDENT BUSH apparently thinks he can dismiss the damning "Downing Street memo" with a few glib words.

If he is right, it is a sad commentary on the state of American democracy and values.


Fools and the fools who follow them

By Gaylon Parker
Misissippi Press
June 10, 2005

Kerry recently threatened to present the so-called "Downing Street Memo" to Congress and gin up impeachment hearings against Bush. In a case of sour grapes gone awry, Kerry said the memo -- which sounds conspicuously like something Oliver Stone or Michael Moore will use in future movies -- shows Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction and led America to war with knowingly false intelligence.

The memo claims Bush "was determined" to attack Iraq long before going to Congress with the matter, and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair rebuked the memo and Kerry has since backed off his threats.


Regretting Rumsfeld

By David Sarasohn
Portland Oregonian
June 10, 2005

Rumsfeld brought the same certainty to his views of what the war would take. One overlooked aspect of the Downing Street Memo -- the report of a high-level British meeting in summer 2002 reporting that the Bush administration had already decided to attack Iraq -- is that it refers to a planned invasion force of 250,000. Famously, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki told a congressional committee that occupying Iraq after the war would take hundreds of thousands of troops.


Kerry: The New Al Gore

by Daniel McKivergan
Weekly Standard
June 10, 2005

THE DOCUMENT IN QUESTION was drafted by a Blair policy aide, who summarized his interpretation of the discussion of the July 23 meeting--a meeting which took place in the same month during which there were more incidents of coalition jets being fired on in the no-fly zone and another Iraqi rejection of U.N. efforts to renew inspections after a five-year absence. One particular reference recapped what the chief of British intelligence told the group regarding his impressions from his latest talks with Washington officials: "There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and W.M.D. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."


U.K. Memo Said to Question Postwar Plan

Associated Press
June 11, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A staff paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair eight months before the invasion of Iraq concluded that U.S. military officials were not planning adequately for a postwar occupation, The Washington Post reported.

"A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise," authorities of the briefing memo wrote, according to the Post. "As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden.

The eight-page memo was written in advance of a July 23, 2002, meeting at Blair's Downing Street offices, the Post said in Sunday editions.


Memo: U.S. Lacked Full Iraq Plan

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post
June 12, 2005


Week 7

A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a "protracted and costly" postwar occupation of that country.

The eight-page memo, written in advance of a July 23, 2002, Downing Street meeting on Iraq, provides new insights into how senior British officials saw a Bush administration decision to go to war as inevitable, and realized more clearly than their American counterparts the potential for the post-invasion instability that continues to plague Iraq.

In its introduction, the memo "Iraq: Conditions for Military Action" notes that U.S. "military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace," but adds that "little thought" has been given to, among other things, "the aftermath and how to shape it."


A Fix on Downing Street

By Tod Lindberg
The Weekly Standard
June 12, 2005 (June 20 issue)

... There we have it in black and white: Bush lied about WMD and cooked the intelligence to support his position. At last, proof enough to start the impeachment proceedings.

Except, of course, that the folks peddling this story have long been convinced that Bush lied and cooked the intelligence. The question is: What have they got that will persuade someone who is not already a member of the ne plus ultra Bush-hating left?

The answer is nothing."


 

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