I will be on a plane to Muscat, Oman on Monday — for a foreign policy/national security conference on the Middle East — but those of you who can should attend this hearing, which hopefully will air on C-Span.
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee is organizing on Monday a “special oversight hearing” on pre-war intelligence on Iraq. These types of special hearings — which are not official Congressional hearings but still potentially significant — should have been used far more frequently by the minority party on matters related to the Iraq War.
Former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson will hit off first, but other luminaries include former National Intelligence Officer for the Middle East Paul Pillar and former State Department Intelligence & Research (INR) czar Carl Ford.
The entire lineup is impressive:
Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2001-2005
Paul Pillar, CIA official responsible for coordinating intelligence on Iraq, 2000-2005
Carl Ford, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, 2001-2003
Wayne White, State Department principal Iraq analyst, 2003-2005
Rod Barton, Senior Advisor to the Iraq Survey Group, 2003-2004
Michael Smith, reporter for the Sunday Times of London, and the first to report the existence of the so-called “Downing Street Memo”
Joseph Cirincione, co-author of WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications; Center for American Progress
I look forward to hearing the results of this mock hearing — which all of you should tune into.
One interesting set of questions to pose to Col. Willkerson, Ford and Pillar is what they know — in detail — not only about pre-war intelligence lapses but about Vice President Cheney’s views on genuine, hardcore torture.
On Wednesday evening, an event was hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations at the swank screening room of the Motion Picture Association of America for the DVD release of Eugene Jarecki’s film, “Why We Fight.” The Washington Note helped organize and sponsor the first screening of this film when it first came out which featured a discussion with film director Eugene Jarecki, Lawrence Wilkerson and others.
I was supposed to attend the CFR screening Wednesday but had a bad cold which kept me home — but the session that followed the screening featured a discussion between Jarecki, Susan Eisenhower, Richard Perle, and Col. Lawrence Wilkerson. From reports of others there back to TWN, Perle criticized the film as being slanted and as making far too much of Cheney’s Haliburton linkages and Haliburton’s unethical and illegal overcharging the U.S. government for services in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the big moment came in Perle’s response to a question about Cheney and torture. Richard Perle stated that those who believed that Vice President Cheney was an advocate of torture were seriously misinformed and wrong. Lawrence Wilkerson in a pointed rebuke of Perle stated that Cheney was an advocate of torture and that Wilkerson had the documents to “prove it”.
That is an important exchange — and I am hopeful that Wilkerson will soon publish a long article and/or book informed by the very important documentation that he has in hand.
— Steve Clemons