Documents of Mass Destruction: GOP Puts Party Before National Security with Iraq Papers
Once again, the Republicans have put partisan political advantage ahead of national security. And as the New York Times reports today, they may have just given Iran the recipe for a nuclear bomb as a result.
As the Times article details, back in March conservatives desperate to salvage President Bush's debunked WMD rationale for the Iraq war demanded the publication of thousands of Saddam's captured documents. As it turns out, those "Operation Iraqi Freedom" papers published on a public web site included a pre-1991 document (titled "Draft FFCD Version 3 (20.12.95)") featuring detailed equations and instructions for constructing a nuclear device. And until the New York Times brought the concerns of the IAEA and arms control experts to the attention of the U.S. government this week, that atomic secret sauce was available for the world - including Iran - to see.
As A. Bryan Siebert, formerly director of classification at the federal Department of Energy, which manages the nation's nuclear arms program, put it:
"For the U.S. to toss a match into this flammable area is very irresponsible. There's a lot of things about nuclear weapons that are secret and should remain so."
While the Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte has opposed the release of the now-removed documents from the Operation Iraqi Freedom web site, President Bush and his amen corner pushed for their publication. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, who later falsely cited 500 decayed pre-Gulf War munitions as evidence of Saddam's WMD programs, praised the document release, adding:
"The approach carries with it risks, but such risks are minimal. It will enable us to better understand information such as Saddam's links to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and violence against the Iraqi people."
The right-wing blogosphere offered its full-throated support as well. Weekly Standard columnist, Iraq-Al Qaeda fabulist and Cheney biographer Stephen Hayes lauded President Bush's conclusion that "This stuff ought to be out." Hayes' enthusiasm was shared by the usual conservative attack dogs utterly desperate to resurrect the White House's failed Iraq causus belli. Powerline, Instapundit, Michelle Malkin and a host others applauded Bush's bogus document dump, as well as Santorum and Hoekstra's later declaration that comical claim that WMD had been found in Iraq.
Of course, this isn't the first time the GOP put its political survival ahead of the national security of the United States. From the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame to Senate Intel chairman Pat Roberts' March 2003 leak about the classified whereabouts of Saddam Hussein, President Bush and the Republicans put their political power ahead of the safety of the American people.
And as usual, they have to lie about it. Former Bush of staff Andy Card today provided a case in point. Rather than praise the New York Times for its discovery of the Bush administration's looming atomic document disaster, Card instead blamed the hero of the story:
"I'm a little bit concerned that the New York Times has advertised them to the world."
It's no wonder President Bush is so fond of saying "we are safer, but we are not yet safe."